DIY or All-In Package for Philippine Travel: Which is Better and Cheaper?

DIY or All-In Package for Philippine Travel: Which is Better and Cheaper?

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Boat tour to Coron PalawanNestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, the Philippines is a tropical archipelago comprising over 7,000 islands. It is home to many top attractions like beaches, islands, and mountains. From the bustling streets of Manila to the beautiful beaches in the Philippines, like in Boracay and the pristine landscapes of Palawan, you’ll have plenty of places to visit in the country. 

However, navigating the Philippines requires more than just boarding a flight to the country. With all these popular destinations scattered across different islands, exploring the best places in the Philippines demands careful planning, multiple flights, and land or boat transfers. 

If you’re planning an adventure in the Philippines, how to book your vacation can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time.  There are two main options available: Booking everything by DIY (Do It Yourself)  or availing of all-inclusive packages offered by travel agencies. If you’re torn on which route to go, you should look at the pros and cons of each approach. 

Big Lagoon in El Nido, PalawanOpting for DIY travel in the Philippines grants you the freedom to customize your vacation and arrange activities and itineraries based on your preference. On the other hand, booking all-inclusive Philippines vacation packages with a reputable travel agency offers convenience and peace of mind, with everything meticulously planned and organized for you.

Now the question is, is it better to book a vacation package or separate bookings like DIY travels? If you find yourself torn between these two options, fear not! This article will be your guide to help you plan your vacation and decide which booking method best suits your needs and preferences. 

Why You Should Book All-Inclusive Packages for Philippine Travel

Chocolate Hills in BoholAll-inclusive packages typically offer travelers a comprehensive and hassle-free vacation experience. These packages often include flights, accommodations, Philippine guided tours, transportation, and sometimes even meals or add-on activities, all bundled together for a single price. To help you decide, here's why you should book an all-inclusive package for your Philippine travel:

1. It's your first time traveling in the Philippines

For first-time travelers to the Philippines, especially international tourists, going on a vacation to a new destination can be hard to navigate since you may not be familiar with the places. The best way to book a vacation for first-time travelers in the Philippines is by booking all-inclusive packages through travel agencies. 

All-inclusive packages are created to ensure a stress-free and hassle-free journey from start to finish. Since most Philippines trip packages include accommodations, guided tours to popular destinations, and activities, you don't have to worry about booking everything and finding out how to commute to these attractions. You can even customize your packages by adding Philippines airport transfers, meals, or any upgrades that are available. 

2. You want to travel to multiple destinations 

Sugba Lagoon in Siargao

If you want to explore multiple destinations within the Philippines, an all-inclusive package is the perfect solution. Say goodbye to the hassle of looking for and booking flights to the Philippines, accommodations, and transfers between locations, as everything will be arranged for you by Philippine travel experts. All-inclusive packages allow you to focus on enjoying the beauty and culture of each destination. All you need to do is show up at the airport or pick-up point.

Going to multiple destinations in the Philippines that are separated into islands in various regions, like Manila, Baguio, and Palawan in Luzon; Cebu, Bohol, and Boracay in Visayas; and Siargao and Davao in Mindanao, demands time, effort, and multiple transfers. For you to easily go from one place to another, you can book a travel package with transfers or transportation so you can visit the popular island destinations in the Philippines hassle-free.

Sardine Run in CebuMany tourists love visiting multiple destinations to fully enjoy the Philippines' charm. Some popular destinations that you can explore on one trip are Cebu to Bohol tours in Visayas, Baguio-Sagada-Banaue tour packages in North Luzon, and Palawan tours like Puerto Princesa to El Nido tour packages or El Nido and Coron tours.

3. You don't have time to research and plan your own itinerary

Langib Beach in Malapascua Island, Cebu

Busy schedules leave little time for researching and planning travel itineraries. The Philippines has plenty of beautiful destinations to visit, and it would be a waste if you’ll only visit one destination for your vacation. 

For instance, you can plan a trip to Cebu and lounge on its beautiful beaches and fun outdoor activities like canyoneering and swimming with whale sharks, then head to Palawan for island hopping and diving. Within these popular tourist destinations, there are top attractions you surely wouldn't want to miss. 

In Cebu, you can visit Moalboal, Oslob, or Bantayan Island, and in Palawan, you can choose from El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Coron, or San Vicente. It really does require careful planning for how to get around, where to go, and what activities you will do in these places. 

With well-designed Philippines itineraries included in all-in packages, you can embark on your Philippine adventure with ease, knowing that everything has been taken care of for you.

4. You're traveling to secluded destinations 

beach in Balabac, Palawan

There are tons of secluded destinations and underrated tourist spots in the Philippines that may be hard to travel to because of limited transportation access. Most of the time, you may experience challenges going to secluded destinations, like Balabac, Palawan, since there is usually no phone signal or internet access, which may make it hard to navigate on online maps. 

All-inclusive packages provide easy access to these remote paradises, like a Balabac 4-day package, since it often includes transportation and accommodations, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey to places that are difficult to reach.

BEST DEAL: Click here to book a 4-Day Balabac Palawan tour package

5. You don't have time to wait and book during travel promos  

Securing the best deals during travel promos like piso fare or seat sales requires time and patience, which may not be feasible for everyone. Most travel agencies offer all-inclusive packages with exclusive contracted rates from hotels, airlines, and tour operators, ensuring competitive pricing without the need to wait for promotions. 

The overall price of the packages tends to be much cheaper than DIY travel. However, it's important to verify the legitimacy of the travel agency to avoid travel scams. Additionally, look for reputable agencies like Guide to the Philippines, the best website for all-inclusive vacations, which is a Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice 2023 winner.

6. You're traveling with a big group, children or seniors 

Traveling with childrenTraveling with a large group, children, or seniors can present unique challenges, especially since most of them may have a hard time commuting, traveling to multiple places, and are not physically fit for rough travel. 

If you're traveling with a large group of people, like friends or family, it will be more convenient to book a package with included transportation so all of you can enjoy some of the best family destinations in the Philippines hassle-free. All-inclusive packages cater to the needs of many travelers, offering services tailored to ensure a comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable experience for everyone.

7. You want a hassle-free and convenient travel experience

Hassle-free travel vacation

If you don’t want to stress yourself with flight and accommodation bookings and looking for tours and activities to book, an all-inclusive package is the way to go. You don't have to book flights yourself, find good and comfortable accommodation, plan how to get to one destination through public transportation, or research the best places to visit in a specific destination. 

Travel agencies that offer all-inclusive packages will do this for you, providing you with peace of mind and allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of the Philippines without any worries and hassle.

Tips when Booking All-Inclusive Packages in the Philippines:

Booking an all-inclusive package is easy since you only have to book for one package with all the travel components you need, from flights to tours. Below are some tips to help you in your travel before booking a package:

  • Beware of travel scams with too-good-to-be-true deals

Be careful when booking all-inclusive packages in the Philippines, as there are travel scams that usually offer deals that seem too good to be true. Check if prices are realistic based on booking flights, hotels, and tours separately to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

  • Research travel agencies with the best rates, service, and reviews

Take your time to look for reputable travel agencies and ask for suggestions and recommendations from other travelers and previous customers. Travel agencies like Guide to the Philippines is already known as the largest travel marketplace in the Philippines, with positive reviews on Tripadvisor and Google. They even provide quotations for custom travel itineraries and packages, allowing you to tailor your experience to your preferences. 

  • Ask for hotel options that will fit your budget 

Before booking your travel packages, ask the travel agency or tour operator for hotel options to ensure that they align with your budget. Check or ask if budget, comfort level, or deluxe accommodations are available. Communicate your preferences with your tour agency and mention your budgetary concerns so they can create the best package for you.

  • Check if tours are shared or private 

There are two types of tours you can book: shared and private. If you want some privacy and personalized attention, inquire about the option to upgrade to private tours. If budget is a concern and you don’t mind traveling with other tourists, opt for shared tours in the Philippines.

  • Check if there are additional or hidden fees

Before finalizing your booking, carefully review the terms and conditions to check for any additional or hidden fees that may be associated with the package. Trustworthy agencies like Guide to the Philippines pride themselves on transparency, offering the best Philippines itinerary travel packages without additional fees and ensuring a straightforward and hassle-free booking process.

Why You Should Go with DIY Booking for Philippine Travel

Parasailing in BoracayDIY booking, short for "do it yourself" booking, refers to the process of independently arranging all components of a trip without the assistance of a travel agency or tour operator. This allows you to personally research, plan, and book your flights, accommodations, transportation, and activities according to your preferences and budget. Below are some reasons why you should go with DIY travel in the Philippines:

1. You love planning your own itinerary

DIY travel planning

If you enjoy the thrill of crafting your adventure, DIY booking for Philippine travel is the perfect choice. Research and read Philippine travel blogs, vlogs, and resources to curate your dream itinerary, discovering hidden gems, tips, and recommendations along the way. 

Planning your itinerary gives you the freedom to go to destinations and tourist spots you really want to visit since some packages may offer itineraries without one or more attractions that you desire. It also allows you to set enough time for each destination, as some travel packages may give you limited time for the places you will visit.

2. You enjoy looking for the cheapest travel deals

If you're into promos and waiting for the cheapest deals online, DIY booking allows you to hunt for the most budget-friendly options. Keep an eye out for airfare sales, which may require late-night booking sessions, and be prepared to grab the opportunity of discounted rates, even if it means buying non-refundable tickets. Booking your own travel promos and flights will help you get big savings and sometimes could let you earn points for your next booking. 

3. You're traveling solo or with a small group 

Solo travel in the Philippines

Planning a trip with a large group can be stressful and time-consuming, especially when you're dealing with different preferences. DIY booking is a great option if you’re on a solo travel in the Philippines or with a small group. With fewer people involved, the booking process is smoother and can be adjusted easily.

4. You're an expert navigator 

If you love adventure and navigating new places, DIY booking offers a chance to flex your navigation skills. DIY booking is a great option for you if you like finding places by yourself, navigating online maps, and going on an adventure without worrying about the time. 

DIY travel will let you explore on your own, navigate the streets, find transportation to get to places, and simply have time for yourself. You can also opt for car rental in the Philippines so you can explore destinations and tourist spots at your own pace and preferred route.

5. You like spontaneous travels 

Rizal Treasure MountainPhoto from Rizal Treasure Mountain Day Pass

If you love "sponty" travels, DIY booking is key. Since most travel packages need advanced bookings, DIY bookings are for spontaneous travelers who want to explore different destinations in the Philippines without much planning and who will make their own itinerary on the spot. 

The best ideas for spontaneous travels are nature trips near Manila, like camping at Rizal Treasure Mountain, or outdoor tourist spots that are only a few hours away from the bustling capital of the Philippines, perfect for day trips from Manila.

With the freedom to make impromptu decisions and change plans on a whim, you'll be able to go on an adventure that you prefer when booking on your own.

Tips when DIY Travel Booking in the Philippines: 

DIY travel booking is challenging since you will have to plan and book everything, but the good thing is you get to travel to your dream destination according to what you like, and you set your own time. When choosing to go with DIY booking, remember these tips to help you with your travel planning:

  • Organize your itinerary and budget with spreadsheets

Stay organized and on track by using spreadsheets to plan your itinerary and budget for your DIY travel booking in the Philippines. Create tabs for your hotel accommodation research, budget, itinerary, and food options. 

Read travel guides so you will have an idea of some best places to visit, restaurants to try, and things to do in a specific destination. If traveling with a group, assign research tasks to each member to share the workload and ensure all preferences are considered.

  • Verify the information you read online

When gathering information online, be sure to verify its accuracy and relevance, as details such as transportation schedules or attraction hours may have changed since publication. Double-checking ensures you have the most up-to-date information to plan your trip effectively.

  • Consider last-minute adjustments to your itinerary

Flexibility is key when opting for a DIY adventure in the Philippines. Be prepared for last-minute adjustments to your itinerary due to unexpected delays in flights, transportation, or tour schedules. 

Plan your travels wisely and prepare for an exciting adventure in the Philippines!

Beach in Boracay

Whether you opt for the flexibility of DIY booking or the convenience and peace of mind offered by all-inclusive packages, both approaches have their advantages when planning a trip to the Philippines. 

To create your own adventure, DIY booking provides the opportunity to tailor every aspect of your journey according to your preferences and budget. On the other hand, if you're seeking a hassle-free and curated experience, you may find that all-inclusive packages offer the convenience and reassurance they desire.

The decision between DIY booking and all-inclusive packages comes down to personal preferences, budget, and travel style. Whichever route you choose, the Philippines promises a wide range of experiences and breathtaking landscapes that will leave you satisfied. Happy travels!

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