Is it worth putting together a pickage holiday?

Pickage holidays sometimes called dynamic packaging or DIY holidays are when you put together your own trip instead of buying it as a package. I decided to give this option a try for my “traitor to the cause” November Winter sun holiday to Fuertaventura in the Canaries. In the past we’ve just purchased a package holiday for Winter sun as it seemed as cheap and much simpler. However I found a hotel on the On the Beach site which offered a one bed sea view apartment on half board for around £250 and had reasonable reviews on several sites. I thought it would be great to have an apartment rather than just a bedroom. The accommodation was actually supplied by Medhotels and I was surprised that the same accommodation cost £275 on the Medhotels site.

I went to a couple of travel agents but none of them had this hotel available as a package so decided to put together our holiday.

I thought I should book the flight first so found the cheapest charter flights, £284 for the two of us, on Travelsupermarket.com. I was very careful to spell our names exactly as on our passports. That all went smoothly and I printed the tickets within minutes of paying.

I attempted to book the apartment straight away on the On the Beach site. I put in my credit card details and nothing happened, no booking reference, no confirmation. I assumed that perhaps I’d entered my credit card details incorrectly so tried again, still nothing. At this stage I began to panic slightly, thinking what if I’ve booked the accommodation twice. I emailed On the Beach and 24 hours later they got back to me to say that they had no record of my booking,

I checked the price again on the On the Beach site and it was now coming up at almost £300 for the accommodation so I booked with Medhotels which was still priced at £275.

One important point to note is that you don’t have the same level of protection if you assemble a pickage holiday compared to booking a package holiday. One way to protect yourself is to use your credit card to pay for any purchases made over £100 and to purchase travel insurance from a company such as 1Stop Travel Insurance which includes cover for dynamic packaging.

At the moment my answer to the question, “is it worth putting together a pickage holiday?” is yes but with some reservations. The cost of flights and accommodation is £560 and travel agents did quote similar prices but all the hotels they offered had pretty negative reviews and the half board options were based a twin bedroom rather than a one bed apartment. However by going down the pickage route I was able to book my preferred accommodation with more space at a similar price. If my initial booking with On the Beach had gone through smoothly the whole process would have been pretty painless but I was worried for a day that I’d paid twice for accommodation. At least when you book with a travel agent you know there and then that your accommodation in booked.

What’s been your experience of putting together a pickage holiday?