F1 Travel

F1 Travel

Author
Discussion

Jay_87

Original Poster:

978 posts

150 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
Hi all,

Hoping this is in the right place, I'm looking for some advice/recommendations for good companies to book F1 travel package deals with. Looking to do a couple of fly away races with my Father-in-law over the next few years, Abu Dhabi & Singapore for a start.

Has anyone used any of the package deal companies?

I've done the standard of googling and found plenty of companies but its nice to have some recommendations.

skinny

4,791 posts

181 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
Try LSA, always very helpful for me (Lynden Swainston)

Teddy Lop

1,717 posts

13 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
I'm curious about peoples experiences too, and your reasonings.

Never done a package deal of any kind as we prefer to do things on our own terms but when someone mentioned Thomas cook did them it piqued my interest (side note - well done TC for not penetrating an F1 fan whose watched since 92 and been to races in several countries but I digress) I did wonder if the stress-free package deal and perhaps fun of travelling with a mob of F1 fans would work for us here - having combined sightseeing and F1 we (especially the mrs) found it a lot to take in (especially as we do the full F1 event) and better split as separate mini breaks.

So looking around for examples, one mob want "from" £1800 for 2 to do Barcelona... I costed up the same hotel on the same dates, same grandstand tickets, and flights timed to suit our sensibilities (so probably better and more $) and it came out £975. The only thing missing was a hotel breakfast that we don't want (but for fairness is +70 on hotel booking) and "exclusive transfers", "airport lounge access" and "fastrack security". Last two are what, £40 or so options if we cared to pay, transfers into circuit, generally never been an issue, can't see it being worth many hundreds.

Perhaps somewhere further away with more language issues it might make it less stress? May although these things can be stress at the time you look back and laugh! Finding our elusive inside-track grandstand at Monza, with paper- printed tickets that seemingly needed scanning by someone every 14 yards disintegrating in the rain! Top tip for all-weekend tickets, take a lanyard!

Jay_87

Original Poster:

978 posts

150 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
I have no doubt it would work out cheaper if I priced it myself... the agent has to make a profit somewhere but I like the idea of single payment with a single point of contact.

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
Teddy Lop said:
I'm curious about peoples experiences too, and your reasonings.

Never done a package deal of any kind as we prefer to do things on our own terms but when someone mentioned Thomas cook did them it piqued my interest (side note - well done TC for not penetrating an F1 fan whose watched since 92 and been to races in several countries but I digress) I did wonder if the stress-free package deal and perhaps fun of travelling with a mob of F1 fans would work for us here - having combined sightseeing and F1 we (especially the mrs) found it a lot to take in (especially as we do the full F1 event) and better split as separate mini breaks.

So looking around for examples, one mob want "from" £1800 for 2 to do Barcelona... I costed up the same hotel on the same dates, same grandstand tickets, and flights timed to suit our sensibilities (so probably better and more $) and it came out £975. The only thing missing was a hotel breakfast that we don't want (but for fairness is +70 on hotel booking) and "exclusive transfers", "airport lounge access" and "fastrack security". Last two are what, £40 or so options if we cared to pay, transfers into circuit, generally never been an issue, can't see it being worth many hundreds.

Perhaps somewhere further away with more language issues it might make it less stress? May although these things can be stress at the time you look back and laugh! Finding our elusive inside-track grandstand at Monza, with paper- printed tickets that seemingly needed scanning by someone every 14 yards disintegrating in the rain! Top tip for all-weekend tickets, take a lanyard!
Not for F1, but I have travelled to Singapore for work. We arrange all our own overseas travel, wherever we go - and honestly, it's stupidly easy these days and providing you're going somewhere a least a little 'touristy' the hotels etc will be totally on top of the language barrier side of things.

Myself and Mrs Deuce also book all our holiday travels ourselves, we love the flexibility. Typically we find flights via sky-scanner which makes it easy to evaluate the options and find a good price. We then find accommodation via booking.c om or similar and email the hotel direct to ask for a discount ahead of booking - I'm sure they're not supposed to but very often we get 10% off the booking website prices, which I guess would be the commission the hotel would pay in any case. For business or pleasure, I nearly always hire a car - but for F1 week I think taxi's would be simpler. For airport transfers on the odd occasion we haven't booked a car, we normally just rely on taxi's - that said all the bigger hotels in Singapore will run their own airport shuttle services in any case, which are nearly always free.

Now is an excellent time to book as the dates have only just been released so probably a few hotel bargains around. This one would tempt me: https://www.booking.com/hotel/sg/panpacificsingapo...

I genuinely believe it's always possible to substantially save vs the packaged options whilst also tailoring your trip to your own desires.

North West Tom

10,500 posts

123 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
I did Abu Dhabi in 2017 and booked everything separate. Mainly because, after extensive research and personal experiences (10 minutes on Google and 1 previous holiday), I found out when everything was cheapest. Also because I preferred to be in full control of everything.

Race tickets were released in about Spring time I think, with a 30% early bird discount. Hotel prices were most reasonably priced I found about 8 weeks before the arrival date, and for flights, I waited until Emirates had one of their (fairly regular) sales when flights are about £100-£150 cheaper.

As above, if it's somewhere 'easy' to go, either option is fine. If it was somewhere more obscure like Russia/Azerbaijan/Vietnam, I'd probably look at a package.

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
North West Tom said:
I did Abu Dhabi in 2017 and booked everything separate. Mainly because, after extensive research and personal experiences (10 minutes on Google and 1 previous holiday), I found out when everything was cheapest. Also because I preferred to be in full control of everything.

Race tickets were released in about Spring time I think, with a 30% early bird discount. Hotel prices were most reasonably priced I found about 8 weeks before the arrival date, and for flights, I waited until Emirates had one of their (fairly regular) sales when flights are about £100-£150 cheaper.

As above, if it's somewhere 'easy' to go, either option is fine. If it was somewhere more obscure like Russia/Azerbaijan/Vietnam, I'd probably look at a package.
Good point about when hotels are cheapest. I often book one on a refundable basis, which hardly adds any cost so far in advance, and then keep an eye out for better deals closer to the time.

We did a US road trip for three weeks a few years ago and only booked our first and last nights hotel! The others we booked online the day of arrival which was fantastic, it not only meant we could stay in each place for as little/long as we desired, we also got fantastic deals.

The Moose

18,693 posts

155 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
Teddy Lop said:
I'm curious about peoples experiences too, and your reasonings.

Never done a package deal of any kind as we prefer to do things on our own terms but when someone mentioned Thomas cook did them it piqued my interest (side note - well done TC for not penetrating an F1 fan whose watched since 92 and been to races in several countries but I digress) I did wonder if the stress-free package deal and perhaps fun of travelling with a mob of F1 fans would work for us here - having combined sightseeing and F1 we (especially the mrs) found it a lot to take in (especially as we do the full F1 event) and better split as separate mini breaks.

So looking around for examples, one mob want "from" £1800 for 2 to do Barcelona... I costed up the same hotel on the same dates, same grandstand tickets, and flights timed to suit our sensibilities (so probably better and more $) and it came out £975. The only thing missing was a hotel breakfast that we don't want (but for fairness is +70 on hotel booking) and "exclusive transfers", "airport lounge access" and "fastrack security". Last two are what, £40 or so options if we cared to pay, transfers into circuit, generally never been an issue, can't see it being worth many hundreds.

Perhaps somewhere further away with more language issues it might make it less stress? May although these things can be stress at the time you look back and laugh! Finding our elusive inside-track grandstand at Monza, with paper- printed tickets that seemingly needed scanning by someone every 14 yards disintegrating in the rain! Top tip for all-weekend tickets, take a lanyard!
My best mate and I went to see England get thrashed in Sydney. We went with the Barmy Army. Total piss take - poor service. Super expensive for what you got. Crap accom and transfers.

shirt

19,126 posts

147 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
You won’t get a cheap hotel on yas island at race week. Depending how long you’re coming for, i’d actually recommend staying in Dubai and getting a cab down (about 40-50quid each way).

As a holiday, I’d definitely recommend Baku. Being able to walk from your grandstand seat to a city centre bar in 5-10 mins is fantastic imho. Miles better than being stuck on a circuit complex queuing for everything.

Teddy Lop

1,717 posts

13 months

Tuesday 8th October
quotequote all
shirt said:
You won’t get a cheap hotel on yas island at race week. Depending how long you’re coming for, i’d actually recommend staying in Dubai and getting a cab down (about 40-50quid each way).

As a holiday, I’d definitely recommend Baku. Being able to walk from your grandstand seat to a city centre bar in 5-10 mins is fantastic imho. Miles better than being stuck on a circuit complex queuing for everything.
I was about to ask how you got there but see you're in arabland to begin with - too easy!

The mrs has expressed an interest, more than once in the baku GP but the flights are few, horribly timed and expensive. Which is a big meh for a long weekend when you have several in Europe a quick cheap easy hop away.

One of the better options I've noted for the baku GP is doing a layover in istanbul, flights less than half the £600 direct price which covers hotel etc. I wonder if the teams book out all the best travel options early on?

shirt

19,126 posts

147 months

Wednesday 9th October
quotequote all
yeah I live here. Never paid to attend the race either, usually there as a marshal or, latterly, a scrutineer.

Baku also an easy trip from here, couple of hours and under £200 return. Shame it’s not so accessible from the UK as the ciity centre really is quite decent and the locals seem to view it as a big deal - everyone friendly and glad you’re there. The hotels etc seem to have wised up to the event now though, prices way higher than when we went, although my mate booked the Marriott for this year before the dates had been announced and got a deal through Expedia. They tried to cancel it but he won out and was able to watch the practice sessions whilst soaking in the en-suite bath.

I might do Vietnam next year, hopefully as an official of some sort.

Teddy Lop

1,717 posts

13 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
Jay_87 said:
I have no doubt it would work out cheaper if I priced it myself... the agent has to make a profit somewhere but I like the idea of single payment with a single point of contact.
far be it for me to begrudge anyone their opex or indeed profit, as technically a businessman myself, but I will ask what's in it for me. For me the frilly bits and I guess convenience and security doesn't stack, certainally for an easy european city, maybe somewhere a bit out there like China it'd remove stress.

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
Teddy Lop said:
far be it for me to begrudge anyone their opex or indeed profit, as technically a businessman myself, but I will ask what's in it for me. For me the frilly bits and I guess convenience and security doesn't stack, certainally for an easy european city, maybe somewhere a bit out there like China it'd remove stress.
I think for some places I have worked, middle east for example, there is a benefit in having the trip arranged by someone familiar with the area. But Singapore? Book flights, book hotel - done. Nothing else needs arranging at all. At the airport, even on a busy build to F1, you're never going to have to wait more than 10 minutes for a taxi.

There are still many 4 & 5 star hotels withing easy (and lovely) walking distance of the circuit, the prices last time I looked were reasonable(ish).

Flights+hotel is pretty much all that needs arranging in advance, and I personally don't see why either task requires any specialist knowledge or presents a serious risk. I guess 1 time in 20 a flight will be cancelled/delayed and you could be out of pocket - but not as out of pocket as if you had paid an agent to organise the trips the last 20 times. I would rather spend a few extra quid on a belts and braces travel insurance policy to ensure that, no matter what, I'm covered and won't be left out of pocket if things do go awry.

Even currency isn't the faff it used to be - many people shop around for the best currency deals at home, but in most cases it's cheaper and easier these days to just use your card to pay bills and/or draw cash once you're there.

I guess I have the luxury of plenty of travel experience paid for via work (my own business mind) so not a particular personal financial risk.. But that experience tells me that, other than war zones or places where the animals want to eat you, it's all very simple these days.

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
On another related note; my wife worked for Thomas Cook - until the obvious happened... grumpy

And would be the first to admit that for all the problems the media spouted about the business, the core problem was that increasingly people realised they don't need travel to be packaged anymore. The market place for package holidays is contracting whilst the margins are also growing slimmer. And it's because anyone capable of tying their own shoe-laces is capable of booking flights and emailing a hotel directly to ask for the best rates and booking.

TC vs the other big operators lost out sooner due to being late to transition to online 20 years ago, and a subsequent over reliance on bricks and mortar. But all the big operators or vying for a share of a shrinking market as the requirement for a 'tour operator' exists now only out of habit, not necessity.

MissChief

5,160 posts

114 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
TheDeuce said:
On another related note; my wife worked for Thomas Cook - until the obvious happened... grumpy

And would be the first to admit that for all the problems the media spouted about the business, the core problem was that increasingly people realised they don't need travel to be packaged anymore. The market place for package holidays is contracting whilst the margins are also growing slimmer. And it's because anyone capable of tying their own shoe-laces is capable of booking flights and emailing a hotel directly to ask for the best rates and booking.

TC vs the other big operators lost out sooner due to being late to transition to online 20 years ago, and a subsequent over reliance on bricks and mortar. But all the big operators or vying for a share of a shrinking market as the requirement for a 'tour operator' exists now only out of habit, not necessity.
Is she being retained by Hays?

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
MissChief said:
Is she being retained by Hays?
No, she was head office, not store - they just bought the stores, most of which they will likely bin off after a short review I think! Naturally, the administrators are keen to flog off what they can ASAP so the stores, in terms of bricks and mortar, were probably a bargain. I don't imagine that Hayes think for one moment there is really a requirement for a network of 600 ish travel shops in the modern world.

It's not a sob story for us at least though. She's having some time off and looking around for other, possibly more interesting jobs. No rush, we're OK and we kind of knew the writing was on the wall some time ago..

MissChief

5,160 posts

114 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
TheDeuce said:
MissChief said:
Is she being retained by Hays?
No, she was head office, not store - they just bought the stores, most of which they will likely bin off after a short review I think! Naturally, the administrators are keen to flog off what they can ASAP so the stores, in terms of bricks and mortar, were probably a bargain. I don't imagine that Hayes think for one moment there is really a requirement for a network of 600 ish travel shops in the modern world.

It's not a sob story for us at least though. She's having some time off and looking around for other, possibly more interesting jobs. No rush, we're OK and we kind of knew the writing was on the wall some time ago..
I’d imagine those in head office saw the signs long before those in the shops.

Talk of directors siphoning off money for themselves prior to the collapse abound no doubt.

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
MissChief said:
I’d imagine those in head office saw the signs long before those in the shops.

Talk of directors siphoning off money for themselves prior to the collapse abound no doubt.
Yup and yup - but for the most part it's all BS. I think the CEO's last bonus was £1m in TC shares, which they later voted to devalue by around 75% in order to release the extra shares that would have been sold to Fosun - and now of course, those shares are zero value anyway. I'm sure they did look after themselves as well as they justifiably could... But whatever they took is inconsequential to the overall problems and I doubt anyone could have fixed it.

In the end, from top to bottom it was a bunch of people trying to keep a sinking ship afloat for a very long time time after the damage already done was terminal.

REALIST123

12,001 posts

99 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
TheDeuce said:
On another related note; my wife worked for Thomas Cook - until the obvious happened... grumpy

And would be the first to admit that for all the problems the media spouted about the business, the core problem was that increasingly people realised they don't need travel to be packaged anymore. The market place for package holidays is contracting whilst the margins are also growing slimmer. And it's because anyone capable of tying their own shoe-laces is capable of booking flights and emailing a hotel directly to ask for the best rates and booking.

TC vs the other big operators lost out sooner due to being late to transition to online 20 years ago, and a subsequent over reliance on bricks and mortar. But all the big operators or vying for a share of a shrinking market as the requirement for a 'tour operator' exists now only out of habit, not necessity.
Do you have any links to reliable information that supports what you’re saying?

Everything I can find (quite a bit out there) shows a resurgence of the package holiday in recent years with further growth predicted.

I agree that it’s not hard, necessarily, to ‘DIY’ but packages seem to still be the most popular way of doing it.

TheDeuce

3,135 posts

12 months

Saturday 12th October
quotequote all
REALIST123 said:
Do you have any links to reliable information that supports what you’re saying?

Everything I can find (quite a bit out there) shows a resurgence of the package holiday in recent years with further growth predicted.

I agree that it’s not hard, necessarily, to ‘DIY’ but packages seem to still be the most popular way of doing it.
I obviously can't point to any media interpretations of the situation which are more realistic than I hear from those actually working in the industry.

When things enter decline, it's rarely a constant downward trajectory. There are periods of steep decline, then a little resurgence for a while, then more decline. Factors such as the recession, Tunisia and turkey, and a super hot summer last year pushed holiday trends down beneath the overall decrease in package holidays. In between such isolated events, there is a little resurgence.

Another factor is Jet2, who entered the market by offering more for less.. Competition is great for consumers so that too helps to buck the trend for a while.

Then you have to also consider that the package holiday stats are themselves massively skewed in the last couple of years. If you book a hotel and flight through a single service, many now complete the transaction as a 'package' (even though you assembled it yourself) and include ATOL protection. So that's a 'package' holiday, fully self assembled but still counts. TC didn't see that coming so had no offering - all of a sudden them banging the 'ATOL protected' drum to put people off booking their own hotels and flights fell a bit flat.

The media won't hype such dull details - far more likely to paint a picture of corporate greed at the top causing the loss of thousands of jobs..