Traveling with a tour group is not always the most popular option as some people are turned off by the idea of traveling with other people they don’t know, being bound by specific itineraries, and a belief that it costs significantly more to do a packaged tour. In recent years, travel agencies and tour companies have expanded their offerings to include specialty tours geared towards families. If you’re considering a specialized tour package, here are some factors to consider.
If you’re overwhelmed trying to put together an itinerary that will appeal to kids of different ages, plus adults, why not leave it to the experts? There are specialty travel companies whose sole business is putting together family travel packages. Some of these are tour packages where you will be traveling with others. The benefit is the tour companies package all your activities, picking the best highlights from each country or region you’re visiting. In some cases, there are added perks only available to these group tours, like after-hours entrances, a behind-the-scenes tour, etc.
If you opt for a tour package like those from Adventures by Disney, it’s pretty much guaranteed there will be other kids on the tour. Some of these tours have around 40 people, so there are ample chances for your children to interact with a number of new people both on the daily activities as well as at the hotels.
These travel experts hand pick group activities and excursions based on their own experience with what works best for children of certain age groups. Some agencies are even staffed by actual parents who put together tailor-made travel packages for other families. Booking specialized family travel can also mean no surprises that an activity is not well-suited for a particular age group.
Having access to guides who speak the local language and who are knowledgeable about the destinations they specialize in can be extremely beneficial. Rather than tracking down a bunch of different tours and activities and risk having lackluster guides, you’ll have fully vetted guides who are both professional and knowledge.
On a guided tour package, don’t expect to have much down time or freedom to do any exploration on your own. This is the one downside for some travelers and why they prefer to book their own vacation and piece the itinerary together themselves. Some of these packages are also designed for the traveler who wants to experience it all, which means you’re on the go all the time. This is ideal for some travelers and those with really active kids.
Some packaged tours are geared towards luxury travelers, which means they may be more expensive than you might be imagining. However, be sure to check on what is included, as it may not be as expensive as you initially think. For example, Adventures by Disney vacations include meals, park fees, some transfers, taxes, and gratuities for porters, drivers, tour operators, dining staff, housekeepers, etc.
Choosing whether to do an independent family vacation or a group tour geared towards families is definitely a personal choice. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons and figure out what’s best for your family. If price is the driving factor, be sure to calculate all the potential added costs from booking yourself, as you may quickly realize the packaged holiday is around the same cost or an even a better deal in some cases.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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