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Old 08-15-2011, 09:21 PM   #1
rutgers1
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How does the price compare to doing it on your own?

I realize that ABD offers some experiences that you can't quite do on your own, and I also realize that you are paying for the comfort of not worrying about anything, but I was wondering what you think the markup is for all of this convenience.

For example, I was looking at the Arizona trip, and it looked like it would cost us around $10,000 before adding in airfare. I could be wrong, but I think I could do a week at the Grand Canyon and nearby attractions for $6,000.

I guess my question is --- On any given trip, what do you think the markup is?
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Did you include the cost of 2 fulltime Adventure Guides?

Although, really, they are priceless!

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Old 08-16-2011, 06:44 AM   #3
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I'm not sure what the markup is, but I know that whenever we go on a vacation on our own, it usually costs more than I think it will. But as Sayhello said, having the adventure guides to handle everything for you is priceless. When are you planning to travel? I think the hotels on the rim at the Grand Canyon are booked solid a year in advance in the summer months.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:44 AM   #4
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I calculated this for our Galapagos trip; using exactly the same accommodations and cruise ship;( I guestimated the food) I came up with 1/2 the cost. What that 1/2 didn't include, as previous posters have mentioned, is the cost of two excellent guides, all the luggage handling, transportation and the cost of the special experiences. Certainly I could have added all the " admission " costs and it still would be less to do it independently, but the unique experiences and head of the line experiences are impossible to quantify.

In the end it's up to you... We have traveled independently and on custom or other small tours. I would say Disney is competitive with most of the custom or small group tours we have taken, although the groups are larger because they are family groups. ( i have found ABD prices match other outfitters whose groups are usually 10-20) All of the custom/ABD trips we've taken have been well worth the extra cost to us because of the excellent guiding and unique opportunities we could not have done on our own.
We have also decided not to take ABD trips in certain locations where we felt the trip was trying to be all things to all constituents, and we wanted to concentrate on one specific area on a trip ( Africa for instance where we wanted more time on safari). However, I would absolutely do an ABD trip in Europe because I can't bear lines and crowds, and those " head of the line/ after hours" opportunities are priceless to me.

Last edited by familygoboston; 08-16-2011 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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It would obviously be cheaper to do any of the trips on your own. However, when you add in the cost of your time (only you know what the going rate for that is) the markup probably isn't a whole lot. Keep in mind that you don't have to carry your bags from hotel to hotel...you don't have to worry about any transportation (which is priceless after a long day of touring). I know in Italy, we not only had our ABD guides, but they also provided a local guide (you are not allowed to give guided tours without a license in Italy). Another example of something that you cannot pay for is when we went to the Colosseum in Rome, we were in and out of there in a couple of hours and was able to see much more in that day. If we did it on our own, we would have waited in line for at least 3 hours, then spent 2 hours wondering what we were looking at and would have missed out on several other activities.

In my opinion, markup = perks!
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:29 PM   #6
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My husband and I did in Italy on our own while my best friend and her husband did the Italy AbD adventure. The trips were a few months apart so costs should have been similar.

After taking out all of the places we went that AbD did not, we compared the balance of the costs and found that the prices were closer than one might expect. We did not take into account the tips they paid for their Adventure Guides.

I'm sure that for many things, AbD is able to get group discounts that you will not be able to get on your own.

Although we prefer to travel on our own for the flexibility and open ended dining choices, if cost were the only deciding factor, I would think that AbD is a good value for what you get.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:23 PM   #7
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You can compare dollar for dollar but really it's the experience that makes the difference. If you're the type that likes to plan and do things on your own that's fine. But if you want a great experience with few glitches ABD does a great job. They leave you with wonderful memories and as others have mentioned their guides are priceless.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:52 PM   #8
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Smile RE: ABD OR ON YOUR OwN.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rutgers1 View Post
I realize that ABD offers some experiences that you can't quite do on your own, and I also realize that you are paying for the comfort of not worrying about anything, but I was wondering what you think the markup is for all of this convenience.

For example, I was looking at the Arizona trip, and it looked like it would cost us around $10,000 before adding in airfare. I could be wrong, but I think I could do a week at the Grand Canyon and nearby attractions for $6,000.

I guess my question is --- On any given trip, what do you think the markup is?


I agree with what others have said that yes, the markup is what you make of it and to what extent you want it to increase in your favor or not is again up to you.

I mean hey, sometimes it feels to be pampered every once in a while ya know?

Good luck in your choice.



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Old 08-20-2011, 03:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rutgers1 View Post
I realize that ABD offers some experiences that you can't quite do on your own, and I also realize that you are paying for the comfort of not worrying about anything, but I was wondering what you think the markup is for all of this convenience.

For example, I was looking at the Arizona trip, and it looked like it would cost us around $10,000 before adding in airfare. I could be wrong, but I think I could do a week at the Grand Canyon and nearby attractions for $6,000.

I guess my question is --- On any given trip, what do you think the markup is?
Back in Nov 2006 I did a week long trip for our family of 5 to the Grand Canyon, plus Bryce and Zion National Parks and it cost us roughly $3000 that is including airfare from JFK in NY. I would consider paying over $10,000 for a trip overseas but not one to the Grand Canyon
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:52 PM   #10
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By every calculation I have done, trying to replicate as much as possible, the price difference has been about 50%. At this stage of my life, I'm not sure if ABD is worth my getting one vacation rather than 2.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:43 PM   #11
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Well worth the price in my opinion!

Just finished the ABD add on to the Disney Wonder cruise in Alaska. Had a FANTASTIC time. Yes the cost of the tours/excursions would have been cheaper to do on our own, but we would never have had the time to accomplish everything the ABD package included and stress levels would have been MUCH higher. ABD didn't just provide two full time guides, but also arranged local expert guides for each event. ABD took care of all travel & meals, tips for local guides, and took candid and group photos all throughout the trip (and provided a CD of pictures). It seemed like every time we got a hunger pang during the day, the guides had already arranged for a snack or treat. And they added extra "magic" surprises throughout the trip. I have done lots of cruises and package tours in the past, but ABD is really good and well worth the price. Post-trip I added up the costs of the events we did and tried to calculate the value of the experiences, and I definitely think we got a bargain!
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminy407 View Post
Just finished the ABD add on to the Disney Wonder cruise in Alaska. Had a FANTASTIC time. Yes the cost of the tours/excursions would have been cheaper to do on our own, but we would never have had the time to accomplish everything the ABD package included and stress levels would have been MUCH higher. ABD didn't just provide two full time guides, but also arranged local expert guides for each event. ABD took care of all travel & meals, tips for local guides, and took candid and group photos all throughout the trip (and provided a CD of pictures). It seemed like every time we got a hunger pang during the day, the guides had already arranged for a snack or treat. And they added extra "magic" surprises throughout the trip. I have done lots of cruises and package tours in the past, but ABD is really good and well worth the price. Post-trip I added up the costs of the events we did and tried to calculate the value of the experiences, and I definitely think we got a bargain!
Agreed! There are a lot of untanglibles as well--the trust that things will go smoothly, the peace of mind for me to travel knowing that the kids are having fun and I don't need to fill their time or continue to figure out ways to draw them into the culture and stories.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminy407 View Post
Just finished the ABD add on to the Disney Wonder cruise in Alaska. Had a FANTASTIC time. Yes the cost of the tours/excursions would have been cheaper to do on our own, but we would never have had the time to accomplish everything the ABD package included and stress levels would have been MUCH higher. ABD didn't just provide two full time guides, but also arranged local expert guides for each event. ABD took care of all travel & meals, tips for local guides, and took candid and group photos all throughout the trip (and provided a CD of pictures). It seemed like every time we got a hunger pang during the day, the guides had already arranged for a snack or treat. And they added extra "magic" surprises throughout the trip. I have done lots of cruises and package tours in the past, but ABD is really good and well worth the price. Post-trip I added up the costs of the events we did and tried to calculate the value of the experiences, and I definitely think we got a bargain!
I did the Med cruise ABD add-on last year, and I totally agree with you. Having all the logistics taken care of, as well as transportation, etc, we accomplished way more in a day than we ever could have on our own. I didn't worry about having to carry large amounts of cash to pay for personally arranged tours. Or even worry about personally arranging those tours. The little things helped, too. Like the Guides knowing where all the good bathrooms were. Or deciding on the fly that we had time to visit Eze after we'd finished in Monaco, and taking us there. In my opinion, it's worth it. Definitely worth it!

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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:30 PM   #14
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I admit that I have not done ABD but I have done many other guided tours and a lot of trips on my own (backpacking to hotel stays) in 30 countries.

Being an American myself, I would not pay $10k for a guided tour anywhere in America (including Hawaii and Alaska which I've done both - Hawaii on a tour and Alaska last year with DH and the kids on our own).

But, I would definitely pay this much to go to a country where I was not familiar with the language or customs or have not been before (or even a country I have been to IF there were unique experiences). I have found that I get more out of a tour than going by myself in terms of an education and the knowledge I gain. But going it on our own is also nice to get the feel of a country and have a feeling of accomplishment because you did it on your own.

As for whether ABD is worth it (compared to other tour companies), I can not answer but most big tour companies are very reputable and wouldn't be in business for so many years if they didn't do a good job.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND CONTIKI for 18 - 35 year olds!!! I got the BEST value out of those tours and it was extremely low cost. For singles or even couples that want to go low cost but still have a tour, this company is GREAT! I used them for Egypt and Israel (when I was in that age range ) and loved it!
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