A Comprehensive Guide to Comparing Travel Products - Apples to Apples

by Wendy Fracchia

In a world filled with an abundance of travel options, it is easy to get taken in by a flashy ad and great sticker price but buyer beware!

Comparing products can sometimes feel like the old adage of comparing apples to oranges. However, with a little know-how and attention to detail, you can ensure that you're comparing travel products on a level playing field. Whether you're looking at tour packages, or flights, accommodations, etc., here's a comprehensive guide to help you compare travel products more clearly to ensure you are looking at “apples to apples”.

1. Define Your Needs and Preferences:

Before diving into comparisons, take a moment to define what matters most to you in a travel product. Are you looking for affordability, convenience, comfort, or a combination of these factors? Knowing your priorities will help you narrow down your options and make more accurate comparisons.

Sure, everyone loves a great hotel but what does that mean during a tour?  Some companies will provide you with first-class and luxury hotels, but if you are only there for 10hrs is this the best value and bang for your buck?  Do you need to pay for all those features you’ll never be able to use during your visit?  

2. Consider the Total Cost:

When comparing prices, don't just look at the initial cost. Factor in additional fees, taxes, and any hidden charges that might apply. For example, when comparing flights, consider baggage fees, seat selection costs, and any other extras that could impact the total price.

3. Evaluate the Included Amenities:

Look beyond the base price to see what amenities are included with each travel product. For accommodations, this might include breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking, or access to recreational facilities. For tours, consider what activities, meals, and transportation are provided. Make sure you're comparing products with similar offerings to get a true apples-to-apples comparison.

For #2 and #3, When searching for a tour It is always a good practice to narrow your choices down to your favorite 2 companies and call them to review ALL costs, included and not to be sure you have all the facts for your choice. 

4. Check the Location and Accessibility:

For accommodations and tour packages, consider the location and accessibility of the property or tour sites. A slightly cheaper hotel might not be worth it if it's far from the attractions you want to visit or if transportation costs eat into your savings. Similarly, a tour package might seem like a bargain until you realize it doesn't include transportation or other NEEDED features to complete travel.

5. Read Reviews and Ratings:

Before deciding, take the time to read reviews and ratings from other travelers. Pay attention to both positive and negative feedback to get a well-rounded understanding of the product's strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that individual experiences can vary, but patterns in reviews can provide valuable insights into the quality of a travel product.

Ask your friends and family for referrals.  They will have valuable insights to share.

6. Consider Flexibility and Cancellation Policies:

In uncertain times, flexibility is key. When comparing travel products, look at the cancellation and change policies to see how flexible they are in case your plans need to change. A slightly more expensive option with a more lenient cancellation policy might be worth it for the peace of mind it provides.

As a tour company, we are proud to say that we refunded almost 5 million dollars of our client’s money paid to us during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We know for a fact that not all our direct competitors can say they REFUNDED money but did relax their policies to allow clients to move their funds to future tours.  This is a huge question to ask any company you are considering traveling with.

7. Look at the Quality and Longevity of the Company:

In the travel industry, many travel companies did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic when their only source of revenue was closed.  This isn’t their fault BUT, you should always KNOW WHO YOU ARE DOING BUSINESS WITH and how they are going to protect you both physically (are they insured) and financially (bonded).   

Sadly, there are also many companies that due to poor money management have had to close their doors costing clients hundreds of thousands of dollars only to reopen under another name but still operated by the same management team.  Also, in travel, there are “home-based” tour companies that only run a few tours a year and do not have the connections or experience to help their clients when disaster hits.

Morris Murdock Escorted Tours, part of Morris Columbus Travel has been in business for over 65 years and has stood the test of time through many, many trials such as war, weather, pandemic, companies going out of business, and the list can go on.  

The question is, who do you feel the most safe spending your money with as a travel partner? 

8. Look for Special Deals and Discounts:

Finally, don't forget to search for special deals, discounts, and loyalty programs that could help you save money on your travel purchase. Many travel providers offer promotions or exclusive discounts for certain groups, so be sure to take advantage of any savings opportunities available to you.

As the largest independent seller of travel in the West, MCT and MMET get the BEST deals and programs than any of our competitors.  We will ensure you get the best value on every trip you take with us.

By following these tips, you can compare travel products apples to apples and make more informed decisions about your travel purchases. Whether you're booking a flight, hotel, tour, or rental car, taking the time to compare your options will ensure that you get the best value for your money and enjoy a stress-free travel experience.