Costco has a lot of fans here at The Ascent, and for good reason. Not only can you buy food in bulk and get a sweet deal on a casket(!), but you can even book travel. We recently collected testimonials from people who have used Costco’s travel service, and found a few enthusiastic vacationers who raved about it. My colleague Mary Henderson has in fact taken four Costco Travel vacations, and is keen to take more. There’s a few reasons for this — let’s take a look at Mary’s trips and why she keeps returning to Costco Travel.
Four Costco vacations — so far
Since 2015, Mary has been on four trips booked through Costco Travel. Here’s a breakdown:
- August 2015: A package tour consisting of 15 days and 14 nights in Paris, Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos.
- June 2018: A five-day Carnival cruise leaving from Miami and visiting Grand Cayman and Nassau in the Bahamas.
- August 2022: An eight-day Royal Caribbean cruise leaving from Galveston, Texas and visiting Cozumel, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman.
- June 2023: A package tour for eight days at an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Why has Mary booked so many trips through Costco? Here are a few reasons.
Reason No. 1: The savings
This kind of travel isn’t cheap — the cost of flights, ground/sea transportation, hotel rooms, and food can all add up to a big hit to your checking account. But Costco vacation packages come with lower prices for some of these expenses. For example, Mary noted that her trip to Playa del Carmen would have cost about $800 more for the resort stay if she’d opted to build a trip from scratch. And the 2014 trip to Paris and a few Greek destinations was bargain-priced at less than $2,000, due to political issues and a lack of people who wanted to travel there. Her Bahamas cruise in 2018 came with a bigger stateroom for $300 less than booking a smaller room would have cost through Carnival cruise line.
Reason No. 2: The help with logistical planning
International travel also often comes with a lot of moving pieces, as you’ve got to coordinate your flights with ground and sometimes sea transportation, alongside hotel check-ins, excursion departures, and more. It’s a lot of plates to keep spinning, and luckily, Costco Travel excels at it. As Mary said, “Costco Travel makes everything seamless — if a flight is canceled or delayed, someone is working behind the scenes to make sure that the other pieces — like ground transportation when you land — fall into place.”
And she got firsthand experience with this when she traveled to Europe in 2015. The first leg flight (to Paris) was canceled after boarding, and before the plane even got back to the airport, she had been rebooked. Costco Travel’s staff know that it’s crucial that travelers get to their destinations on time, as otherwise it’ll disrupt the entire trip. That kind of service is definitely worth the charge on your favorite travel credit card.
Reason No. 3: The experiences
If you like to travel, it’s likely because you get to see and do things you wouldn’t be able to at home. Costco Travel made it easy for Mary to have some incredible experiences. Her trip to Playa del Carmen included an excursion to check out Mexican cenotes (which are naturally occurring water-filled sinkholes; there are over 10,000 of them in the Yucatan Peninsula). Getting to see beautiful natural wonders can make an incredible vacation even better.
Cruise vacations are especially notable for including fun shore excursions along the way, and with the money Mary saved by booking her family’s Royal Caribbean cruise through Costco, she was able to swing the cost of an excursion to Stingray City in the Cayman Islands, where her then-6-year-old son got to hold a stingray bigger than he was!
Access to Costco Travel is a great perk that comes with your membership. You get upfront pricing, the peace of mind that comes from working with a team of travel experts, and can even earn 2% back on your costs if you’re an Executive member. For all these reasons, it’s well worth booking your next vacation through Costco.
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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival Corp. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.