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.
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.
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.
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.
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.