Package Tours vs. DIY Travel
There are mainly two ways people travel–through package tours or through an independent or DIY travel. In the Philippines, you can find a lot of package deals that offer convenient and extensive tours in different towns and tourist attractions. On the other hand, many also prefer to plan a trip on their own. Both are good options, depending on the town you’re headed, your budget, and the kind of traveler that you are. If you’re currently planning on your next trip and can’t decide whether you’re taking a package tour or going DIY, we’ve listed down the differences between the two to make it easier for you to make a choice. Stick around ’til the end for bonus tips!
Package tours are more convenient than DIY travel.
Having it all planned out for you–the accommodation, the car service, and the agenda–is more convenient than having to browse several sites for the cheapest plane tickets, waiting out hotel vacancy or deciding on which places to visit. Package tours basically save you most of the stress associated with planning your own trip.
Your budget is controlled.
Since you’re paying for the whole package, it’s all up to your tour organizers now to portion out your money for your room, meals, transportation, and admission to some tourist spots. If you are a bad budgetarian or tend to be an unconscious spender, then a vacation package would be ideal for you.
You can join a group and make new friends.
In the country, many vacation package providers group solo travelers and small groups together to work out the required minimum group size and also to let the participants save on costs. This way, you can not only save but also meet new faces, which is also an exciting part of traveling in a new place.
You can get around far-flung towns and provinces more easily.
There are some beautiful parts of the Philippines that are difficult to arrange transportation to if you’re going on your own. This is especially true if you’re traveling to an unspoiled beach or a not so popular tourist town. Travel agencies will have arranged accommodation and transportation, that you would otherwise have difficulty finding on your own.
It is exciting and liberating.
Some people love the idea of being spontaneous and going on a little adventure in an unfamiliar place. You don’t know what places you will discover or who you will meet—at the end of the day, it’s almost always a good thing. There will certainly be learnings you’ll pick up along the way.
You are completely in control.
The good thing about DIY travel is that you don’t have to follow an agenda arranged for you by another person. This especially appeals to people who don’t like being restricted by a schedule and want greater freedom and flexibility in their trip. All of the choices you make—where you stay, what you eat, where you go, and how much time you spend—are entirely up to you.
DIY travel leads to more discoveries.
One common downside of being in a package tour is that it usually only includes the most popular tourist spots and leaves no room for new discoveries. When you go DIY, there’s a great chance that you can come across an unfamiliar restaurant or shop that deserves the same level of admiration as other tourist spots get.
You have more time to explore.
Many vacation packages include educational tours wherein a very knowledgeable (sometimes even overly enthusiastic) tour guide tells you many things you didn’t know about the town, which is practically a good thing. For some people, however, this segment might be a little too tedious and time-consuming. When you plan your own trip, you have more time to walk around, talk with the locals, and check out more interesting spots.
Whichever path you choose, it all boils down to the kind of experience you seek to have. If you want a happy-go-lucky type of adventure alone or with friends, then you may opt for a DIY travel. If you’re traveling with family or want something already planned out and secure, then booking a package tour would be ideal.
Before you make your decision, take the time to check the rates of the travel deal versus the average DIY budget for the place you plan to visit. Travel blogs flood the Internet nowadays and you can easily find budget guides for many Philippine towns.
In the end, all we all want is a happy trip. And in a vibrant country like the Philippines, whether you’re joining a tour or traveling independently, it’s not going to be difficult to tailor your own trip and make precious memories.