I’m a big fan of independent travel. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of conquering the bus system in an unfamiliar city, or negotiating your way from one attraction to another without a guide. I’ve been lucky to have had some pretty amazing vacation experiences in my life, and usually I’ve felt like I had enough planning time prior to the trip to be prepared. Sometimes, however, there’s just no time to do all the research necessary.
At that point, you essentially have two options – you can either just go and wing it (plenty of people do this all the time and wouldn’t have it any other way), or you can book a package trip and leave the planning to someone else. If you’re leaning more toward not going at all, then I highly recommend that second option.
In this article, I’m going to talk a little bit about the merits of booking a package trip, and some things you want to think about beforehand to make sure it’s the right trip for you. Since this is an Italy travel guide, on this page I’m going to talk specifically about Italy travel packages – but the overall gist is applicable no matter where you’re thinking of going.
What are Italy travel packages?
A package trip – to Italy or anywhere else – is a trip that offers as a bundle the things you’d book separately. What each travel package includes will differ depending on the company offering it, but they often include airfare, accommodation, some meals, some transportation, some guided tours, and sometimes extra-curricular options as well.
Italy travel packages run the gamut from high-end luxury trips to trips more well-suited to those who might have recently graduated from the “school” of backpackers, and although there are packages that will take you to almost all corners of the country the majority focus on the biggest tourist destinations of Venice, Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, Milan, Tuscany, the Lakes and the Amalfi Coast.
Technically, cruises are slightly different than vacation packages, although they’re also a bundling of many individual travel elements. There are cruises that take in certain points in Italy, but most aren’t exclusively dedicated to Italy. Most Mediterranean cruise trips cover several countries.
Who books Italy travel packages?
You might hear the words “vacation package” and think only of big-bus tours where huge tour groups are herded from one sight to the next with little to no time left to explore on their own or really get to know the country. I’ve seen these kinds of tours in Italy, and I’m sure you have, too. They’re obviously serving a need, as some people clearly like them, but they’re not for me. And the good news is that they’re not the only kind of vacation package out there – not by a long shot.
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All sorts of people book Italy travel packages, but one thing most of them have in common is that they believe booking a vacation package will give them more bang for their buck given the time they have to spend traveling. If you thought you could create the same trip for less money and without spending weeks organizing it, you’d choose that option in an instant. But the companies who run the many good Italy package tours out there have connections you don’t have, are dedicated to making your travel experience the best it can be, and they do this for a living. In other words, they don’t have to take off from their day jobs to organize your trip – organizing your trip is their day job!
So, who books Italy travel packages? People who are so busy they don’t have time to plan a trip. People who want to take a specialty vacation focused on a particular interest. People who want to be sure they’ll get a guided tour everywhere they go in order to learn as much as possible. People who really don’t want to figure out mass transit themselves. People who prefer letting someone else deal with the logistics. Really, there are Italy travel packages for all kinds of travelers – there’s likely one that will suit you, too.
What kind of Italy travel package is right for me?
As mentioned, there are all kinds of Italy travel packages. Some are expensive, some less so. Some cover lots of extras, some only take care of the basics. Some center around a specific area of interest, some are more general. Some keep tour groups very small, others allow for large groups. Some have every second planned, some offer more flexible schedules.
In order to decide what kind of Italy travel package will work best for you, you need to know what kind of traveler you are.
Did you once love staying in hostels and relish the perks of budget travel, but now just want something slightly more comfortable and also don’t have the time to research trips the way you used to? Then you’ll want to look for tours that keep groups small, opt for public transport over big coaches, and book smaller family-run hotels or B&Bs.
Do you love cruises, hate planning, want to see all the big sights, and just want someone else to do all the work for you so you can sit back and enjoy your trip? Then you’ll want to look for tours that are more all-inclusive, cover everything you want to see, and leave nothing on your to-do list except to have fun.
Whatever your interests, just make sure to read all the details of the Italy travel packages you’re considering so you’re not surprised by something when you get to Italy.
>> Be sure to look through Italy adventure trips, which are typically good for people who like a little less structure and like traveling closer to the culture.
>> There are Italy travel packages featured regularly on this page of Italy travel deals – just scroll down the page to see what’s new under each location.