What Is a Package Holiday?

M.C. Huguelet

A package holiday is a vacation in which two or more of the primary trip expenses are purchased for a single fee. While perhaps the most common type of package holiday is one which includes accommodation and transportation to and from one’s destination, a number of additional services can be covered by a package fee. Traditionally, this type of trip has been coordinated by a travel agent or a package holiday operator. The widespread growth of Internet-based travel companies in the late 20th century has allowed consumers greater freedom to tailor vacation packages to their own needs and interests.

A package holiday to China might include a hotel and transportation to famous destinations, like the Forbidden City.
A package holiday to China might include a hotel and transportation to famous destinations, like the Forbidden City.

Essentially, when a traveler opts to purchase a package holiday, he is paying for two or more of the primary expenses of his trip with a single fee. In some cases, the traveler may find he saves money by “bundling” his travel expenses. A vacation package also offers travelers the convenience of booking several aspects of a trip with a single transaction, and in some cases leaves planning duties such as selecting a hotel to a travel agent or package operator.

A package holiday includes hotel accommodations.
A package holiday includes hotel accommodations.

At its most basic, a package holiday includes travel to and from one’s destination as well as some form of accommodation, such as a hotel or a bed and breakfast, for the duration of one’s trip. Many package holidays include additional services. For instance, one’s package may cover further transportation needs, like travel to and from airports or a rental car. Some packages also cover expenses such as meals, admission to tourist sites or theme parks, theater tickets, and so forth.

Some holiday packages include round-trip airfare.
Some holiday packages include round-trip airfare.

The concept of the package holiday was developed in Europe in the late 19th century, and gained popularity in many parts of the world in the decades that followed. For the first century of their existence, package holidays were often coordinated by travel agencies. Some holidays are also offered directly through specialty companies that operate one specific type of package trip, such as bus tours of Ireland or Alaskan cruises.

Package holidays to tropical locations are popular.
Package holidays to tropical locations are popular.

As the Internet increasingly became a part of everyday life for many in the late 20th century, Internet-based travel companies offered vacationers a new way to book package holidays. Many of these companies allow travelers to tailor a package holiday to fit their own needs and budget. Rather than purchasing a holiday that includes flights and accommodation, for instance, a vacationer may find that he can save money by booking a flight himself and then buying a package that includes accommodation and meals.

A vacation package offers travelers the convenience of booking several aspects of a trip with a single transaction.
A vacation package offers travelers the convenience of booking several aspects of a trip with a single transaction.
Planned activities, such as a nature hike, are a common part of package holidays.
Planned activities, such as a nature hike, are a common part of package holidays.

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Discussion Comments


I do all of my holiday planning myself. This is something I enjoy doing, so my family relies on me to plan all of our holiday time.

Most of the time, you really can save quite a bit of money by packaging your flight, hotel and car rental together.

There are also some great deals out there for families that save you a lot of money as well. If it is a popular family destination, you have no trouble finding package deals.

A package holiday is something that is attractive to most people. Not only can you save money, but it also cuts down on the amount of planning you have to do. For me, this really helps with the amount of time it takes to plan a vacation.

When I am getting ready to plan a holiday, the first thing I do is look at the package deals. There have been a few times when it has not been the best choice, but most of the time this is what I end up going with.


When I have holiday time and want to take a trip, I like to have all the details planned out for me. I know where I want to go, and how much I have to spend, but like to have someone else make the arrangements for me.

This is especially true if I am taking a trip outside the country or to a place that I have never been before. I have found in the past that by trying to do it myself, it causes more stress than it is worth.

I like to show up and know all the details have been worked out ahead of time. I have worked with the same travel agent for a long time, so she knows me pretty well.

Even though you can find some great deals on the internet, I think she has access to places and has some inside information that an average person like me would never have.

She has planned some great holidays for us and I know she uses package deals when she is doing the planning. There are usually perks that are available when you do this besides saving some money.


I was not surprised to read that the idea of a package holiday started in Europe. For some reason, they seem to have more holiday time during the year than those in the United States have.

Making sure people have time off during the year is encouraged. They just seem to place more emphasis on it than other countries do.

My daughter married a man from Ireland, and she lived over there for seven years. I don't know how many holiday's they had every year, but way more than we did.

They did most of their traveling in Europe, and got some great deals by bundling their plans together. They also had a lot of choices when it came to unique bed and breakfasts to stay at.

Many of their trips were special activities combined with lodging at some great bed and breakfast places.


@shell4life – You are right about traveling overseas. I bought a package holiday to Australia last year, and I know that I saved a ton of money. The package included so many great things, and though it did cost a good bit, I know that I got a better deal than if I had booked everything separately.

I got the diving tour package, so my scuba equipment was included. The package gave me four nights on the island that I would be diving around and three nights in a couple of bigger cities.

I had an amazing vacation, and the best part was that everything was already planned out. All I had to pay for was food and souvenirs. It is the most convenient way to travel, and I will continue to buy package holidays.


Since I am afraid of flying, I only buy package holidays that include hotel fare and activities. I am pretty sure that I save a good bit by doing this, since the websites I buy the packages from note that everything is a certain percent off the regular price when purchased together.

I recently got a great deal on a package that included four nights at a resort in Florida and a dolphin cruise. The cruise was thrown in at 40% off, and the hotel rate was 35% off.

Anything I can do to save money on my vacation is a step in the right direction. My husband and I are saving up to buy a house, and buying package holidays is one way that we strive to save a good bit of money.


Planning a vacation can be so stressful if you choose to do it piece by piece. The further away you go, the more there is to plan.

So, when my husband and I decided to visit Ireland and tour the castles, we knew that a vacation package would be a much better option than planning each detail ourselves. We would have been lost without the help of the travel agency!

When you go to a foreign country, there are things you don't take into account or even realize that you need to plan for. A travel agent can help you with that by including everything you will need in one nifty package. We didn't even have to worry about transportation once we arrived, because she had ironed all that out for us.


@starrynight – This is especially true if you live anywhere near your destination. I always drive to the Gulf coast, because I live only six hours away. Buying a plane ticket would be a waste of my money.

True, gas isn't cheap, but for me, it's still cheaper than buying a package deal that includes a flight I don't need. I also like to stay in a certain hotel every time, because I know what to expect from it, and the rates are affordable.

Really, I'm too picky to let someone else do the planning for me. I am skilled at saving money, and I find ways to do that without getting a package holiday.


A good friend of mine took her family to Disneyworld awhile ago. She bought a package holiday, and she got an extremely good deal. The package included airfare, hotel accommodations, food and admission to the attractions. If she had tried to pay for all that stuff by itself, it would have been more than twice as much!

I think packages are really great if you're doing some kind of themed vacation, like going to an amusement park or on a cruise. It seems like you get the best savings on packages like that as opposed to packages for a run of the mill beach vacation.


@sunnySkys - Most people think package vacations are always cheaper than purchasing, say, a hotel and a flight separately. However, that's not always true.

When you're planning a vacation, you really need to do your homework and compare prices. Don't just assume because it's a package it's going to be cheaper than buying separately.

A few years ago I almost bought a package vacation. However, on a whim I decided to check the websites for the hotel and the airline to see what the price would be if I purchased each individually. It was significantly cheaper to purchase separately!


I think package holidays are a really great idea, especially if you're short on time. Instead of having to take the time to find a flight, hotel, and car rental when you get there, you can just buy a package with the click of a button online.

I usually plan my vacations this way, because I think it saves time, but it also saves money. The prices you get when you buy a package are usually much less than if you had bought all of the parts of the vacation separately.

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