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Risks of DIY holidays

Peterborough...
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Risks of DIY holidays

I've been looking for a holiday bargain for a while now and am a little wary of using the budget holiday companies and am kind of thinking I might as well do it myself (location wise I'm thinking Cyrus/Canaries/Greek Islands for sunshine in May). Breaking it down from what a typical budget company would offer it doesn't 'seem' that complicated:

Airport parking - Would probably do this direct anyway

Flights/Baggage - should be straight forward enough (flown just flights with ryanair/easyjet etc)

Transfers - This is where it could fall apart using an independant company but I will probably book somewhere close to an airport and grab a taxi if the transfer doesn't work out, we are just a couple so don't have to worry about kids etc

Hotel - i think this is where booking direct will have a massive benefit, no 3rd parties to mess things up or pin blame on, though I understand I wouldn't necessarily be able to get as good a deal

Insurance - Already insured through bank accounts but not difficult to do independently

Do many others book like this? What are your experiences? What should I be careful of/what risks am I taking? Am I missing anything?

Thanks in advance!

Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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1. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

Great many people book holidays like this, and just like anything else in life - the more often you do it, the better you'll get. Everyone has to start somewhere, but from what I can see, you're off to a pretty decent start.

Airlines - you've nailed it, just like hotels, booking via a third party can get you into trouble, should anything unexpected occur.

Transfers - you've hot a good understanding, and it's where even the most experienced travellers come undone. Your best laid plans is up in smoke, the moment your flight is delayed. Pre-booked transfers usually have a time limit that they wait, unless of course it's a private limousine companies, who monitor inbound flight times. Having as much flexibility is the best option for limiting anxiety. A good idea is always to get feedback from local experts on the destination forums.

Hotels - again you've got it right. Booking direct minimizes the chance of error, and also increases the chances of getting matters rectified should anything not go according to plans. Yes, by taking a flexible, cancellable option, it maybe a little more expensive, but should anything unforeseen occur, dealing direct will help you to no end. It also helps on room requests and any lateral requests such as early arrival, late checkout.

Insurance - always do your homework, even if you think you're completely covered by your financial institution. Be thorough and your holiday is covered.

Great start to your planning. Bravo

Peterborough...
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2. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

Thanks for the reassuring reply - good point on the chance of delayed flights and insurance is definitely something I would be reading up on.

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

The main risk is that if one element falls through, you may be stuck with the others. Of course, this is true as well with many of the "package" holidays sold which aren't true packages.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

It's a very good point by Lex.

The single biggest risk in self planning travel is the possibility of the domino effect. One component collapses, the others could follow. Whilst having an option B isn't always necessary, knowing what those options are is always a great thing.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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5. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

Hi,

I don't understand the "risks" described above??

I have not bought a pkg. plan for a trip in many many years, since the rise of the internet!

I plan all my trips myself with the help of info from Trip Advisor and travel books.

The only thing I can see that could happen is that your flight may be delayed some how but that wouldn't usually spoil your whole trip and that could also happen with a pkg. I'd make sure to have travel insurance.

I say just go out and do it without worrying about all the possible "ifs" and you will have a wonderful experience!

Syracuse, New York
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for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
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6. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

One solution to the airport transfer thing is to rent a car. This means that it will be there for you when you get there, delays or no, and you can take yourself out on "excursions" whenever you like to wherever you like, rather than relying on some "packaged" excursions that you may not enjoy, or could enjoy better if you had more time, or with less of a crowd. This is how I prefer to do my holidays, for sure. I am quite capable of researching things to see and places to eat on the internet (often using TripAdvisor) and putting my own, flexible plans together.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

I guess the term "risk" may not have be entirely appropriate.

What I interpreted from the point Lex raised, was that on occasions, if one component of an itinerary collapsed due to delays, cancellations or any unforeseen event, it can have a follow on effect. I had such event occur only a month ago, when my flight into FRA was delayed 3.5 hours. By the time I cleared, caught the first available train into the Hauptbahnhof, I had missed my pre-booked ICE connection to Paris. All of that with a 6 hour leeway I allowed myself. This then caused me to miss my transfer from Gare L'Est. Fortunately my hotel wasn't due to depart or I'm sure I would have missed that also. This was what I was trying to relay.

Even after travelling abroad three times a year for 20 years, the best laid plans might not always go accordingly. Moral of my story? Don't over plan. The other moral of the story? Don't ignore your secretary when she's trying to give you information about your transfer.

The advice by TBNY us a solid one, booking a rental is a great flexible option if its appropriate for the destination.

And of course Riff's suggestion of not worrying about "ifs", relax and enjoy.

San Diego
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8. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

I see what you mean KVE.

IF I book a private car transfer in my experience they will wait for me and check the airline schedule to know if the plane is late.

IF I book a train ticket on line ahead of time I do allow several hours just in case as you did.

You are right that it can get screwed up!!

I DO think that all this can happen though whether you book yourself or as part of a package!

A few years ago I was meeting a friend at an apt. we had rented in Naples.

She was supposed to get there first and check in and be waiting for me.

Imagine my surprise when she wasn't there at all!! It turned out that her flight from the USA to Rome had been diverted to London!! You cannot plan for every possibility!!

Of course I had the rental company phone no. and I sorted it out and was waiting for her nearby at a cafe drinking wine and eating pizza when she finally arrived that evening!!

IF you have phone nos. and info. you can work everything out.

It would have been much more difficult if I had to call a travel agent instead of being able to deal with the problems at hand myself!

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

You're absolutely correct Riff.

My experience too is also that limousine companies track flights and wait accordingly, Unfortunately, that transfer issue for me in Paris was due to me missing the train from Frankfurt - even allowing 6 hours.

It was just unlucky, and I should have listen to the locals and not prepaid a ticket months in advance.

Edinburgh, United...
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10. Re: Risks of DIY holidays

"I DO think that all this can happen though whether you book yourself or as part of a package!"

It can happen with both for sure but if one element of a (true) package falls through you'll be entitled to a refund of everything. That's the difference.