all the colours of the Philippines, designed your way
Tropical Experience Travel Services - Tours of the Philippines
It takes time and efforts to earn our money (at least, for most of us). It’s completely understandable that we want to save whenever we can.
At times, we are lucky enough to have some extra cash to reward ourselves with something we like, and it’s totally fine. Why should we just leave the money under the mattress?For many people, the best investment for this extra money is travelling. Why?Of course because travelling is great in so many ways!
All of us need a vacation, plus going out of your own homes, exploring, discover new places, landscapes and cultures other than your usual office cube are very beautiful things to do! We might really know a thing or two about it since our job is to organize tours.
But, travelling incurs costs. Sometimes you hear about “travelling around the world for free” but…yes, please..what?
We totally think that it’s a smart thing to maximize the value of your own money. Yet, itd oesn’t make much sense “to save (too much!) on trips”. Let’s go on into details.
1. Saving Money on Tours. Is it a Good Idea?
Travel funds are extra funds. First, you need to sustain your food, housing, shelter, education for your kids (if you have), transportation, health and all the daily basic stuff. Getting a loan to have a vacation doesn’t sound wise.
Going to our case: once you decide to use your extra money to visit the Philippines (some thousands of dollars), does it really make sense to save 20 bucks on a hotel room? Travelling is not merely a “product”, but it’s a complex experience, a combination made of overnight accommodations, day tours, boats, vans, people, guides, food, services and many more. It’s not easy to evaluate all these aspects one by one. Instead, it’s better to give a budget to yourself and then maximize it.
2. Warning! A Low Price does NOT Always Mean a Lower Price (What?)
It could be not that difficult for a travel agency to give you a cheaper tour package just for the sake of it. It’s cheap, then it’s attractive. But it’s pure fantasy for you to think that you will have the same quality of services while reducing the price (unless that agency wants to give you services and products for free ,which is not too likely to happen).
For instance, someone out there can copy one of our tours. Put the same destinations. Describe it in a similar way. And then sell it in a “lower price”.
They will reduce the number of days of stay in the destination where hotels are more expensive. They will delete day tours and put a free-no-activity-day in a place where people actually go specifically only for those day tours they removed! And oh, maybe let you stay in a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere, not even on a beach. They’ll remove a meal here and there and you won’t even notice it. Then they can also book you the slowest and most crowded uncomfortable transfers and transportations and then always inconveniently departing super-early in the morning even when not necessary.
Then let’s assume you have a total budget of 5000 dollars for your flights and tours for your Philippine holiday. Wasn’t it better to spend 5500 and have a truly nice experience instead of wasting days, serving inconvenience and issues just to save 500?
3. A Practical Example: When Saving is a Real BOOMERANG
Camiguin Island, Philippines
As we said, sometimes someone could just remove activities and tours from your day, to let your tour look cheaper and offer you a lower price. So alright, you think you can just handle the tours yourself once you’re there. Then, surprise, surprise,no more boats are available for that day. Or wait, you needed a permit to enter there, and you need to secure it in advance. Activity lost. Day wasted. When will you have the chance to go back to the Philippines? Maybe in 10, 20 years? Maybe never. But of course, the tour package was a bit cheaper and you made a deal (but did you?).
4. You’ll Probably Pay for your Discount
Let’s be clear. There are many ways for an operator to “fix” a proposal and give you a discount! Happy? Think about it very well. Maybe they’ll give you a discount because they like you. Are you such a nice person? Even so, it’s hard for someone to throw a discount to someone they don’t even know.
As the proverb says: “If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly” –meaning purchasing inferior services to save on important things will bring your demise.
Then maybe, they will agree to your asking price, giving you a discount, but they’ll make sure to give you the cheapest rooms in each of the hotel where you are going to stay. For a cultural tour, they will give you only a driver and not a guide. Maybe for your city tour, they will choose a mediocre local company, the so-so/cheaper one, the one people usually complain about. For your island hopping activity, they will put you in small boat with 25 other strangers skipping 2 or 3 island destinations — this instead of having a private boat all for yourself, visiting all the islands on your own pace with a dedicated boat crew.
With a few changes, someone can give you a discount, but you are paying for it.
5. Discounts Aren’t Democratic!
With such a money-related post, let’s also talk about ethics. For our tours of the Philippines, it does happen that someone asks for a discount before booking. It’s legit, but we are quite radical on this and we usually say NO. Even if we were conscious we could lose the client in the end. Why then? First of all, because we aim to provide always the agreed level of services. But also because we truly care about all our clients and we want to be fair. Even if we would consider to just lose solely on our profit, we cannot offer the same program to Mr. Smith and let him pay 100 because he didn’t ask for a discount, and then let Mr. Jones pay 95 just because he asked! It’s not fair, and we want to be fair!
6. “I’ll Skip Intermediaries by Using Internet”. Yes, No, maybe.
Internet for travelling? More than useful, but you need to use it in a smart way.
Such a hot topic! If you book a holiday on an online portal, just know you are not skipping anything nor anyone. You are just using a normal travel agency that operates online through those websites who will (rightfully) receive commissions from operators and hotels.
There are ways to skip intermediaries, but it depends on what you want and what you search for. We, the Tropical Experience Travel Services, are a travel agency and tour operator located in the Philippines. If you’ll contact us, we’ll organize the tour for you. Yes, you could choose to contact us directly or through a travel agency you know, it’s your choice and you will know if there is an intermediary (which can be helpful, if it’s a good intermediary).
Instead, there are big websites promising to make you “skip” those “intermediaries” letting you contact local agencies (like ours) straight. While some are somewhat like free websites who then just show you the name of the local agency and its contacts, be careful with others not showing any information about the local operator: they are just travel agencies that will let you contact the local agency and they will get a commission. You’re not skipping anything, you are actually adding one step to the process.
7. If the Agency/Operator Highlights onBeing Cheap, Do Not Expect Quality as Priority!
For a complex tour on the other side of planet, the conceptualization of “spending less” has limited sense. You need to find an operator that offers a good quality/price relationship. That’s the real saving: to obtain what you paid for.
In our opinion, better to avoid those that show a “saving” or “pay less” as the main features of their proposal. Select your operator based on its experience, verifying if they are real experts and know what they are talking about.
What We at Tropical Experience Suggest You Do If You Want to Spend Less or Have Low Budget for Your Philippine Tour.
Visit the Philippines, spending the right amount!
When someone tells us that the price of our proposal is too high, we explain in detail why it’s like that and – if possible – what can be done to make it lower. Certainly we do not lower the price through a “gift” that will give you extra costs later (monetarily or in other ways) and for sure not telling youlies. Here are some ideas:
Choose simpler hotels: if the place is nice, the hotel itself is relatively important. We can make your price lower choosing smaller guesthouses, clean and with all the basic services (yet never going below a minimum standard!). But we’ll tell you this in advance, with no surprises.
Have group day tours when possible: less “wanderlust” than having a boat all for you,but seeing the same places and having the chance to get to know other people.
Make the trip shorter: if 3 weeks are too expensive, better to have just 2 weeks but done well!
Less destinations: instead of discovering 5 Philippine provinces you can just discover 3, but going deeper with the knowledge and experiencing the places more. This way, you’ll reduce transportation costs.
Better timing: peak seasons mean more expensive flight tickets and holiday surcharges in hotels. Off peak season has its pros!
Invite more travel companions: the more people joining your travel, the more people you will have to split some costs with. Plus, the more, the merrier!
Delay the holiday: a bit brutal, but sometimes it’s better like that. Once you spend some thousands of dollars, it’s better to spend some more when you can do it well, with the trip you really like.
Travel, because travelling is beautiful! If you can come to the Philippines, good! Otherwise also a week-end in some place near your hometown can make you happy. Nice things sometimes come with costs and people can travel depending on their wallet. What’s important is not to stop: moving is life!
(written on December 2018)