Author Topic: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?  (Read 5237 times)

Daisy

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Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« on: April 21, 2014, 03:36:22 PM »
Some friends of mine invited me on a bike riding trip through California wine country. I am not able to make it due to scheduling conflicts, but I clicked on the links of the tours they were suggesting.

I am in total shock by the price of these packages. $2800 for 6 days/5 nights - not including airfare!!!

I started thinking about it and realized I could probably plan the same trip for at least half the price. They are staying in nice hotels and going to a spa and all. So even with those pricey options, I still think I could plan it much cheaper.

It makes me wonder if I should try and set up a little side gig as vacation planner for friends. I can plan a trip and tack on an extra $500 per person for my effort. If I can get 8-10 people to go, that would be very profitable! And my friends would spend less than if they went with these pricey companies.

I'm not sure if my friends would want to pay me...but it would be an interesting option if they are saving money anyways.

Maybe I can set up my own little travel agency in ER and take a long trip a year and offer it to people I know as a travel package and pocket about $5k per trip. Any thoughts?

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 04:09:40 PM »
Possibly.  Although when you add up all the taxes and costs and logistics of doing business you may find that there is a reason why companies charge what they do.


rocksinmyhead

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 04:20:20 PM »
I can't speak to the economic feasibility of this venture, but it sounds SUPER fun!!

Zikoris

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 04:37:12 PM »
Not a bad idea! I noticed something similar last month when I was putting together my summer Europe trip. I was thinking of booking a Danube bike tour, and travel agents were giving me quote of well over $3000 per person for JUST flight, accommodations during the tour (six days), and bike rentals for the week - not including the three extra nights I was wanting to add on in Vienna and Budapest, or even any meals! I ended up just putting the whole thing together myself, ditched the bike part but added two extra countries, trains, and an extra week, and will be coming in at around $1800-$1900 per person for flights, hotels/apartments, trains, buses, and taxes or two weeks of travel all around Europe. It's amazing what the markup on those things is.

kite

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 05:37:01 AM »
It gives me pause.   I had more than one friend who became a travel agent in that YTB pyramid scheme a few years back.  Trying to profit directly from loved ones can backfire.   However,  one of my neices gives tours as a side gig and is quite successful at it.  It meshes nicely with a passion of hers and she specialized in one city she knows very well.   

If you get into this field,  don't forget insurance.   

Daisy

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 09:57:32 AM »
It gives me pause.   I had more than one friend who became a travel agent in that YTB pyramid scheme a few years back.  Trying to profit directly from loved ones can backfire.   However,  one of my neices gives tours as a side gig and is quite successful at it.  It meshes nicely with a passion of hers and she specialized in one city she knows very well.   

If you get into this field,  don't forget insurance.

I had thought of doing it more casually. But I did think it would be awkward to ask people for money. However, if I did all of the legwork and they actually save money compared to these ridiculous packages, they might go for it. Especially if I am ER and have plenty of time to plan a good trip. I've been the trip planner for friends for ski trips before.

Also, I joined a ski club and they asked me to lead one of their trips. The trip was free for me for being the leader. In that instance, it is all part of the contract.

I guess I was just frustrated with the cost of these packaged trips and was wondering if there was a way to benefit from having spendy friends. ;-)

MrsPete

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 03:54:20 PM »
I have two teacher friends who very much enjoy planning student trips.  They aren't really making money on the trips, but they (and their husbands) are able to travel as chaperones . . . for free, which is a pretty good perk.  They work through an online company that helps plan the trips, and the students make payments to the company.  They get a free chaperone for every 8-10 students, and that's how they travel free. 

the fixer

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 06:09:53 PM »
I used to be a Divemaster. DMs can organize SCUBA diving trips, and it's customary to arrange it so you go for free. You already have to carry liability insurance which would cover you under the trip situation. I can easily see this working for other types of outdoor activities as long as you can find find a customer base and an insurance company willing to work with you. It probably won't be immensely profitable but it would be a ton of fun, as long as your clients aren't expecting you to pamper them the whole time.

Daisy

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 09:27:46 PM »
I have two teacher friends who very much enjoy planning student trips.  They aren't really making money on the trips, but they (and their husbands) are able to travel as chaperones . . . for free, which is a pretty good perk.  They work through an online company that helps plan the trips, and the students make payments to the company.  They get a free chaperone for every 8-10 students, and that's how they travel free.

Cool! That sounds like my ski trip leader experience. It actually was a bit of work to set up and be "on call" during the trip, but it was fun. I am sure if I calculated my hourly rate for the amount of work I put in it might not be that impressive, but I went on a $2k trip for free.

I'll have to look into your example. One of my desires for ER is to work with kids at the science museum so there may be opportunities that come my way there. Thanks!

Daisy

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 09:31:14 PM »
I used to be a Divemaster. DMs can organize SCUBA diving trips, and it's customary to arrange it so you go for free. You already have to carry liability insurance which would cover you under the trip situation. I can easily see this working for other types of outdoor activities as long as you can find find a customer base and an insurance company willing to work with you. It probably won't be immensely profitable but it would be a ton of fun, as long as your clients aren't expecting you to pamper them the whole time.

Sounds cool. I assume when you do it this way then everyone knows the work you are putting into it and they hire you for the trip so there's no awkwardness. This sounds like the work I did with the ski club. The club handled all of the insurance and stuff. I planned the trip activities and fielded questions from people interested in the trip.

It would be nice to plan the trip for friends and bypass the whole insurance thing. I have a captive audience of friends who are (spendy) travellers.

elaine amj

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2014, 11:36:31 AM »
Guided trips definitely cost a LOT of money. I think prices are high because:
- there is a crazy seasonality about this. You have to make enough to cover yourself when you are not working. of course, if you are in ER, this could be a huge benefit.
- Often very part-time hours
- High expectations from your group that they are well-cared for.
- lots of research and organizing time over and above the actual tour time.
- advertising costs can be high. Ppl who spend a lot typically do it because it is easy and they feel they can trust the operator and they don't feel they can handle so many complex details themselves.
- what do you do if not enough people sign up for the trip for you to break even/make a profit?

Otherwise, could be a great side gig :)  You can also go to a school and get a "certification" in tour guiding in 1-2 weeks.

dragoncar

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2014, 11:55:29 AM »
Link?  I'm really curious what you get for that amount of money.

Daisy

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2014, 11:44:30 AM »
Link?  I'm really curious what you get for that amount of money.

I don't want to mention any specific company to avoid any legal issues. You can search for "Californie wine bike tour" and you can find some examples.

They usually include the bike rentals, hotels, a lot of the food. The price is about $500 per day including double occupancy so they'd better be offering massages and a bunch of wine for that price!

Daisy

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Re: Ridiculous vacation packages - side gig opportunity?
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2014, 11:46:35 AM »
Guided trips definitely cost a LOT of money. I think prices are high because:
- there is a crazy seasonality about this. You have to make enough to cover yourself when you are not working. of course, if you are in ER, this could be a huge benefit.
- Often very part-time hours
- High expectations from your group that they are well-cared for.
- lots of research and organizing time over and above the actual tour time.
- advertising costs can be high. Ppl who spend a lot typically do it because it is easy and they feel they can trust the operator and they don't feel they can handle so many complex details themselves.
- what do you do if not enough people sign up for the trip for you to break even/make a profit?

Otherwise, could be a great side gig :)  You can also go to a school and get a "certification" in tour guiding in 1-2 weeks.

Yes, I guess if you were doing this as a business and expect to live off of it, that you'd have to spend money on advertising and building a good reputation. That's what I would look for if I was booking with a company I don't know.

Doing this in ER as a one trip a year thing might be more doable.