Do package hols save you cash – or costa packet? We put popular trips to the test

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We have compared ten package holidays with prices when booking DIY this month


As the jet age took off in the Sixties, so did package holidays, opening up the Med to mass tourism.

Until the Nineties, this was how it usually went: travel agents organised trips and tour operators delivered holidays with reps in the resorts overseeing everything.

Then along came low-cost airlines and a means to book flights on your own via the internet. Things became more complicated. Were travel agents and tour operators really needed if you could do it all yourself?

We have compared ten package holidays with prices when booking DIY this month

Flight websites such as Skyscanner.net, Expedia.co.uk, Kayak.co.uk and Cheapflights.co.uk, alongside Booking.com, Hotels.com and Airbnb.com mean holidaymakers have been going the DIY route for years. A few clicks and your break is sorted.

But which offers the best value?

We have compared ten package holidays with prices when booking DIY this month (fully aware that prices can change day-by-day). The moral of the story? Always check to see if booking direct is cheaper. You could save a packet.

Sunny Barbados

Booking a holiday to Barbados, pictured, DIY is £97 cheaper than a package deal

Booking a holiday to Barbados, pictured, DIY is £97 cheaper than a package deal 

PACKAGE: £1,450pp for seven nights’ all-inclusive at Sugar Bay, flying from Gatwick (tui.co.uk).

DIY: Seven nights’ all-inclusive £954pp (sugarbaybarbados.com); Virgin Atlantic flights £399 (virginatlantic.com). Total: £1,353pp.

WINNER: DIY saving £97pp.

Party in Ibiza

A package to Ibiza, pictured, works out £195 cheaper than booking DIY

A package to Ibiza, pictured, works out £195 cheaper than booking DIY 

PACKAGE: £1,170pp for seven nights’ B&B at the Hard Rock Hotel, flying from Gatwick (lastminute.com).

DIY: Seven nights’ B&B £1,273pp (hrhibiza.com); Easyjet flights £92 (easyjet.com). Total: £1,365pp.

WINNER: Package saving £195pp.

Italian lakes

Booking DIY works out £52 cheaper than a package when going to the Italian Lakes

Booking DIY works out £52 cheaper than a package when going to the Italian Lakes 

PACKAGE: £709pp for seven nights’ B&B at Hotel Bellavista, Menaggio, flying from Luton to Milan and transfers (inghams.co.uk).

DIY: Seven nights’ B&B £461pp (hotel-bellavista.org); Easyjet flights £41 (easyjet.com); taxi transfers £155 (taximilanairport.com). Total: £657pp.

WINNER: DIY saving £52pp.

Lovely Lanzarote

A week in Lanzarote is £127 cheaper booking DIY compared to a package

A week in Lanzarote is £127 cheaper booking DIY compared to a package 

PACKAGE: £829pp for seven nights at the Riu Paraiso all-inclusive flying from Manchester and transfers (firstchoice.co.uk).

DIY: Seven nights’ all-inclusive £501pp (riu.com); Jet2 and Ryanair flights from £171pp (jet2.com, ryanair.com); taxi transfers £30 (suntransfers.com). Total: £702pp.

WINNER: DIY saving £127pp.

Cool Kefalonia

A DIY booking to Kefalonia is £171 cheaper than a package holiday

A DIY booking to Kefalonia is £171 cheaper than a package holiday 

PACKAGE: £923pp for seven nights’ B&B at Astra Village Hotel from Gatwick (olympicholidays.com).

DIY: Seven nights’ B&B £376pp (astra-village.eu); Thomas Cook Airlines flights from £376pp (thomascookairlines.com). Total: £752pp.

WINNER: DIY saving £171pp.

Las Vegas gamble

A package to Las Vegas works out at £283 cheaper than DIY

A package to Las Vegas works out at £283 cheaper than DIY 

PACKAGE: £705pp for seven nights at Excalibur Hotel & Casino flying from Manchester (thomascook.com).

DIY: Seven nights from £480pp (excalibur.mgmresorts.com); Virgin Atlantic flights from £508 (virginatlantic.com). Total: £988pp.

WINNER: Package saving £283pp.

Hot in Mauritius

A package deal to Mauritius was £249 cheaper than going DIY

A package deal to Mauritius was £249 cheaper than going DIY 

PACKAGE: £1,033pp for seven nights’ B&B at Veranda Tamarin Hotel flying from Gatwick (britishairways.com).

DIY: Seven nights’ B&B from £475pp (veranda-resorts.com); flights from £807 (skyscanner.net). Total: £1,282pp.

Winner: Package saving £249pp.

Orlando offer

A package to Orlando had a saving of £212 compared to a DIY booking

A package to Orlando had a saving of £212 compared to a DIY booking 

PACKAGE: £875pp for seven nights at Rosen Plaza Hotel. Fly from Gatwick, includes car hire (virginholidays.co.uk).

DIY: Seven nights from £440pp (rosenplaza.com); Virgin Atlantic flights from £485 (virginatlantic.com); car hire from £324 (£162 each) (enterprise.com). Total: £1,087pp.

WINNER: Package saving £212pp.

Madeira in style

A DIY booking to Madeira worked out £190 cheaper than a package deal

A DIY booking to Madeira worked out £190 cheaper than a package deal 

PACKAGE: £956pp for seven nights’ all-inclusive at Enotel Lido Madeira Hotel flying from Stansted (travel.saga.co.uk).

DIY: Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £635pp (enotel-lido-madeira.com); Jet2 flights from £131 (jet2.com). Total: £766pp.

WINNER: DIY saving £190pp.

Majorcan sun

A DIY booking to Majorca saved just £13 compared to a package

A DIY booking to Majorca saved just £13 compared to a package

PACKAGE: £496pp for seven nights’ self-catering at Alua Palmanova Bay flying from Gatwick (loveholidays.com).

DIY: Seven nights’ self-catering from £397pp (palmanovabay.com); Norwegian flights from £86 (norwegian.com). Total: £483pp.

WINNER: DIY saving £13pp. 

  • All prices correct when checked but some may have changed. Based on September to November flights.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PACKAGE BREAKS

If you book a package holiday with a journey by plane, your flight will be covered by Atol, the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence, meaning you will receive a full refund if your travel company goes bust or airline fails before you travel. 

If you are already abroad, you will be able to finish your holiday and will be brought home on an alternative flight.

This is true of holidays involving cruises or trips by coach that are booked through companies registered with the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta).

Abta points out that other benefits of package holidays are the lack of stress involved when organising each element on your own, and having a rep on call when abroad.

 



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