Breakdown: Are Tour Packages a Good Value?


Anyone who reads the blog is well aware how much we love Jetsetter. We also love Cathay Pacific Airways, so when we noticed an advertisement on Jetsetter for a China Tour with Cathay Pacific, we were instantly intrigued. We discovered the cost of the 10-day tour was $5190, which seemed a bit expensive. Though, to be fair, we had no idea what the typical 10-day Chinese tour went for these days, so we decided to do our own research.

We matched all of the flights and hotels included in the trip, where possible. For domestic flights within China, no airline was specified, so we averaged the fares of Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern, all of which operate the domestic routes in the itinerary.

Naturally, as we noted, there was no way to accurately piece together the entire trip. Some costs, like those of the English-speaking tour guides that tour operator Peregrine Travel uses, food costs, etc. are just not available online. That said, we compared each piece that we could. So what was the result? Check it out below.

Booked with Jetsetter

  • This comprehensive trip includes round-trip international economy flights (L Class) and domestic flights on Cathay Pacific from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco; nine nights accommodation; most meals; services of an English-speaking guide and private transportation throughout the tour; entrance fees to all attractions
  • Stays in hotels like the Peninsula Beijing, Sofitel Xian and Ritz-Carlton Shanghai
  • This tour covers all of China’s highlights, including the Terra-Cotta Warriors and the Great Wall
  • VIP experiences, like the opportunity to hold 4,000-year-old relics in a private showing, and touring spots in the Forbidden City not open to the public

More information and a full description can be found here on the Jetsetter website.

Tour cost: $5190.00

Booked individually

  • Flight: Cathay Pacific Economy Core (L): JFK-HKG-PEK/PVG-HKG-JFK, $1,433.61
  • Hotel: Three nights at The Peninsula Beijing in a Deluxe Room, $753.06
  • Flight: Beijing to Xi’an. No airline specified. Average fare $188.51
  • Hotel: Three nights at Sofitel Xian at Renmin Square in a Superior Room, $419.39
  • Flight: Xi’an to Shanghai. No airline specified. Average fare $220.51
  • Hotel: Three nights at the Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai in a Deluxe Room, $1029.50

Note: The costs noted above are the tangible costs associated with this travel. Some costs, including that of Peregrine Travel’s tour guides, admission fees, and meal costs are not included in the comparison above, because those costs are not available online.

Individual Cost: $4044.58


The difference between the Jetsetter cost and the individual cost is more than $1000, exactly $1145.42. That cost would cover entry fees, guide costs, and food costs, meaning that the average daily cost of all the additional items would be around $115. For three meals daily, and guide fees, I think that’s very reasonable.

In this case, it seems like the Jetsetter package is a good deal. The itinerary cost is competitive with the going rate for the flights and hotels, plus you get added bonuses like VIP admission to certain points of interest and the simple fact that all you have to do is provide your credit card, and the rest is taken care of.