|Image by Aduldej: FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
DramaQueen has already been bitten by the travel bug and determined to travel to Japan this year month. Unfortunately, I am unable to go with her this time round, so it was decided that she’ll join a tour package instead (saves all the headache of planning and coordinating, and navigating in a non-English environment).
The Travel Revolution Fair 2015 just ended last weekend and it was there that she decided on SA Tours (after browsing a couple of tour agencies and packages). The Travel Revolution Fair showcased an assortment of travel agencies (e.g. Chan Brothers, SA Tours, Dynasty Tours etc…), airlines (Singapore Airlines, Eva Airlines) and tourism organizations (e.g. Korean Tourism Board etc...) promoting travels to the various countries (with discounts and freebies here and there); be it packaged tour or free & easy.
Note: the prices you see on the brochures about the promotions are never the actual (final) price, there is usually an additional (unseen) fee (usually airport taxes, administration fess etc…) that is disclosed when you ask or want to finalize the deal. So a deal that states it costs $1688 might actually cost you about $2000++ when the airport taxes (about $300 or so) and administration fees (if any). Not to say that it is not wrong of travel agencies to do so, they do need to make a living after all, just that the initial price is just a bait to try to reel you in so be alert and ask away.
Doing a DIY trip might save you your monies and give you more ‘me’ time, but you would have to plan everything yourself, which is not very helpful (and might end up being quite daunting) when you want to travel to an unfamiliar land that is not English friendly). Hence, when you want others to do the planning for you, you must choose a package that you are interested with (since it is definitely going to cost more than if you were to DIY).
DramaQueen already knew when and where she wanted to travel… it was just a matter of finding the right tour package with the right price, itinerary and departure dates. It was narrowed down to about 3-4 tour agencies (and their packages), but DramaQueen ultimately went with SA Tours namely because they were the more professional one out of the few that we visited – the agent that attended to us was straight forward, clear and approachable. Chan Brothers and Dynasty were all sold out for the dates that she wanted, and they were very brusque in their response (not eager to close any deal and very nonchalant in responding to questions). There were 2 other tour agencies (I cannot recall the names), but they were very aggressive and ‘deaf’ in their sales speech, trying to sell the more expensive package rather than the one DramaQueen wanted (even when it was specifically mentioned which tour she was interested in).
Tip: If you ever choose a tour package, do go with a partner or in a group. If you are planning to travel alone, it is best that you DIY yourself instead, as the prices for one person alone (without a partner) is exorbitant (at least $600 or so more).
Anyways, DramaQueen’s wanderlust to Japan has been satisfied and all that is left is her review when she comes back. I’m pretty excited for her since I too wish to visit Japan one day, and it’s a first time experience on a package tour. So stay tuned for it!