Money Hack: Work out the value of all-inclusive travel packages
Know how to recognise great value when you see it.
If you want to get away on a budget, the all-inclusive package deal might be your best friend. As you're about to see, the savings are quite impressive.
Hunt for the not-so-elusive all-inclusive travel deal, but work out the cost of the inclusions to see if you're actually getting a good deal. All-inclusive deals can be a great option as what you lose in choice you gain in time and money.
Here's how to work out if the deal is actually worth it:
Putting a price on it
Calculate the value of accommodation
Just run a search for a location here, and you can see how much hotels there tend to cost. Between flights and accommodation, you've probably found the main travel expenses. Depending on the package deal you're looking at, you might already be saving money.
Calculate the value of flights
This little widget can show you almost all of the cheapest conceivable flights to anywhere in the world, for a given month. When you come across a package, you can use it to check out how much the flights would cost by themselves.
So what does value look like? Here are some current examples to get you started.
19 nights in Europe from $2,799
Now that's a deal. $2,800 you can get the better part of a month around Europe, including full-service return airfares, four-star hotels, all your local travel, all your accommodation, (almost) all your meals, admission to most attractions and plenty more.
Specifically, this package includes flights from Sydney to London and from there travel to Amsterdam, Gibraltar, Arrefice, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz, Madeira, Lisbon, back to London and then flights back to Sydney, as well as 100% of accommodation and necessary transport along the way.
In this case, the catch is that it's a fly+cruise package deal, with a few nights of included hotel accommodation in London. You're getting ludicrous value for money, but you have to be fine with cruising and giving up a little independence of schedule. Those are also starting prices, with bigger cabins costing more. Either way, it still beats travelling by coach.
For some perspective, cheap Europe flights are generally in the $1,000 ballpark. Let's say you find some. Throw 19 nights of very budget accommodation on that, at $50 a night, and you're looking at $1,950.
A modest $20 a day for meals takes you to $2,330. If you somehow manage to wrangle $500 transport all over Europe for the better part of a month, you're looking at a similar price.
Those numbers are unrealistically conservative and entirely hypothetical, but this particular deal isn't. You can see it in all its glory here, as well as a few others.
Week-long all-inclusive ski holiday in the Swiss Alps for $3,555
Club Med isn't really known for budget-friendly holidays, but maybe it should be.
We've broken down the value for money here, but generally it's on the track to save you thousands depending on how much time you spend at the premium open bar (included); how much you enjoy your Emirates return flights (included) and your meals (also included); whether you're satisfied with the luxurious on-mountain chateau accommodation (included); if you get full use out of your Swiss multi-resort lift passes (included); and take advantage of the ski or snowboarding lessons (included).
And then there are all the other Club Med apres-ski activities around the place, also included in the price tag. You definitely won't be short of things to do (included) with that deal.
It's no coincidence that package deals tend to make appearances in this regular roundup of getaways under $1,000. They have a habit of giving you more for less.
It's not hard to find packages either as they are getting more popular. In some places, in fact, too many guests are sticking to their all-inclusive resort packages and the local businesses that depend on tourists are drying up. When your holiday is such good value that it's actually putting bars and restaurants out of business, you know you've found a great deal.
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