Have you wondered what that Information, Tickets, and Tours (ITT) office really offers? You’ve probably asked yourself if they really have good deals. Maybe you know someone who always manages to get a good deal from the ITT office, and you probably know a few who swear they’re more expensive. Turns out, both of them are right. Depending upon what type of experience you are looking for the ITT trips can be an excellent value for the money.
How ITT Trips Work
The ITT office operates just like a travel agency. You can walk in and tell them exactly what you want and they will create different packages for you at different price ranges. They also have pre-made packages for constant, regular requests like Disney. The convenience of the ITT office is extraordinary. If time is an issue—as in you don’t have enough of it to plan your trip yourself—then the prices of ITT trips are a great deal!
The ITT office gets good deals by working with companies and organizations to get a bulk military or government rate deal. Therefore, ITT gets the same deal that you would get at the door, but at a slightly better rate because they are making purchases in bulk.
RELATED: 3 Ways to Take A Kid-Free Vacation
With ITT packages you are also paying for the convenience of a travel agent and for a specific type of experience. Keep in mind the ITT trip packages are not putting you in hotels or resorts that rate less than 4 stars. This is a very important aspect of planning your trip with a budget in mind.
ITT is primarily for larger destination travel. They do provide affordable tickets to events and amusement parks and they are normally cheaper than what you can find on your own. The destinations, however, are pricey because of the quality you are getting in your hotel and resorts. The ITT trip standard is for accommodations that have 4 stars and up.
What If I Don’t Use ITT?
If budget and time at destination are your main focus, then planning it yourself is probably your best bet. When you do this, you have some more options, like you can extend your vacation by a few days for the same cost as an ITT trip if you opt to stay in a 3-shart hotel instead of a 4-star one.
If a 3-star hotel sounds bad you may be surprised at how many good hotels are 3-stars. When a destination is surrounded by huge, fancy resorts, the 3-star hotels are made to look mediocre, but really they are better than most. For example Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Marriott are considered 3-star stays.
A lot of times you may be traveling to specific destinations because family or friends are there as well. In this case, it would be cheaper to just purchase entertainment tickets through ITT or even and airline or park pass packages.
How ITT Trips Stack Up
Recently, ITT ran an ad for a four day Montana trip which, included horseback riding, airfare, and accommodations, priced at $2,982 per person. (Yes, they typically charge per person—even for kids). Wow. For a family of 6, that’s almost $18,000. That’s not realistic for most military families. So, take into consideration your ultimate vacation goals; are you exploring, or looking for an all-inclusive resort. Is this a once in a lifetime trip for you, or annual summer vacation?
Big destinations are typically a few thousand dollars per person through ITT, but if you are booking your trips yourself, sometimes, you can snag “get out of town” deals through travel websites to fill last-minute cancellations and seats.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The ITT trip deals come down to how you value spending your time. If you are looking for someone to plan your trip, then ITT is a great option. When the budget for value is your motivation, booking it yourself can help keep your cost per person much lower. By booking your trip yourself, you may find that resorts, parks, and activities typically offer lower rates for children.
Travel should always be a priority, especially as a military family. Take some time to weigh all your options, check what ITT can offer you on the trip and do a little research on your own. Visit your local office and see what kind of ITT trips are available.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out The Best Kept Travel Secret for Military: Armed Forces Vacation Club
Photo Credit: Eastern Sky Photography-NC