Many budget minded travelers like the safety, security and convenience that comes with booking a packaged or escorted tours.
These tours can be particularly useful for those traveling to an unfamiliar or exotic location, as well as for those who want to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
There are tour packages to every conceivable destination, and for every possible budget.
There are package tours that specialize in budget accommodations, and there are those that use only the finest hotels and the best restaurants. When looking for a suitable tour, it is important to take your own tastes and budgets into account.
There are several types of package tours available, and it is important to understand the difference, and to choose the type that best suits your interests, travel style and of course your budget as well.
Fully escorted tours
Fully escorted tours are generally the most all inclusive. In most cases, everything is included, from airfare and lodging to sightseeing and meals. In most fully escorted tours, the entire tour is tightly structured, and a full, highly detailed, itinerary is provided.
Many people like the structured and all inclusive nature of this kind of package tour, but they are not for everyone. Many independent minded travelers do not care for the rigid structure, or the fact that there is often not time to explore a particular destination more in depth. Many of these more independent minded travelers prefer the next category, the partially escorted tour.
Partially escorted tours
As the name implies, partially escorted tours are not as all inclusive as fully escorted ones.
These tours generally take care of transportation from one destination to another and lodging once you get there. Unlike fully escorted tours, however, these partially escorted tours generally provide more free time to explore on your own.
With most partially escorted tours, meals, other than maybe a few, are not included.
The tour often stops at a particular restaurant or eatery, but the meals are generally at the expense of the traveler.
Many travelers prefer the greater freedom this affords, while others prefer the all inclusive nature of the fully escorted tour. It is a choice each traveler must make for him or herself.
Many partially escorted tours also include optional excursions, and these excursions are also at the traveler's expense.
It is important for anyone considering such a tour to get a list of optional excursions, including the price, and to review the itinerary for less costly alternatives that may be available.
Lodging and airfare tours
A package tour that includes only lodging and airfare is the least inclusive, least structured, and generally the least expensive, type of package tour available.
This type of package deal generally includes the airfare to your destination, transfer to the hotel, lodging for the length of the stay, and transfer back to the airport upon departure. In some cases a rental car may be included as well.
While these types of packages can be an excellent deal for the adventurous traveler, it is important to take into account the cost of meals, sightseeing tours, etc., and to compare that cost with the cost of a more inclusive package.
It is also important to pay close attention to the location of the hotel, and its proximity to the sights you plan to see. Many tour companies keep the costs of their packages low by using out of the way or unpopular hotels, so it is important to consult a map of your destination and find your hotel before booking the trip.
If you end up in a hotel that is far from the city center, you may end up spending lots of money on taxi far or rental cars. It is often better to upgrade to a hotel that is closer to town, even if that causes the cost of the package to rise.