It always surprises me at just how many people seem to think that going on holiday means buying a package of flights, hotel & tour online or through a travel agent, then turning up at the airport to be whisked away. I suspect that one reason is that they think it’s a load of work to DIY it for no good reason. Yes, it is more work – although once you know what you’re doing it can turn into a fun activity in itself – but there are also massive benefits to planning it all yourself. Read on to discover all the reasons to DIY your next holiday.
1) It’s cheaper
SO much cheaper. Have you seen the costs of those summer holiday package deals? Next to that, have you seen how cheaply you can get flights if you know how to use a tool like Skyscanner?
When you buy a package, you’re paying for that tour company’s admin, staff and commission. Unless you happen to get an amazing last-minute deal, 90% of the time it will be cheaper to sort things out yourself – quite often, by hundreds of pounds.
2) Do exactly what you want
Make the most of your time away. There’s no need to go on a tour with a set itinerary you have to follow with everyone else. If you don’t want to visit that art gallery for an entire morning, or want to do the two hour yoga class instead of the taster – that’s fine! You’re in charge and you can do whatever you want.
3) Stay exactly where you want
There are thousands of perfectly decent package hotels around the world with the standard breakfast, pool and bar. But open yourself up to other possibilities. Hire a villa looking over Lake Garda with its own private pool. Save hundreds by staying in a New York hostel with a shared kitchen and plenty of other travellers to meet. Avoid the insane crowds in the south of Tenerife and head to a village in the north instead. AirBnB is great for this (get £30 your first stay with this link).
4) Get off the beaten path
Yes, it’s possible to avoid the hordes of tourists. By picking your own itinerary you already have an advantage by not turning up in a coach of fifty other people to popular destinations. But you can also look outside the normal attractions. Go walking in the hills, find a beach only known by locals or head into that tiny museum you pass while exploring a town. Even at the most insanely touristy locations, you can improve things by travelling in shoulder season and heading there early or late in the day.
5) It’s not as hard as you think
I promise you can do this. There are countless resources online to make comparing flights and accommodation easy. When you arrive in a new place head to the tourist information office first to get a map and some recommendations. I’ve already posted various articles to help you plan a holiday, and will continue to do so. Check out my travel advice column posted every other Saturday for help – but for your first stop, read up on 5 things to check before booking your next holiday.
If you have any particular questions on how to DIY a holiday, please ask below in the comments. Otherwise, good luck and happy planning!