By Matt Lu
I’m a British Expat currently living in Beijing, China and have recently been looking into Olympic travel packages for my family to attend the 2008 games. I know it seems early to be planning such a trip, but as avid sports fans my family have attended three Olympics and through bitter experience have learned that you can never be too early when preparing for such a major sporting event.
Through my research I came across several international sports travel companies that offer Olympic packages. These packages normally include accommodation, hotel transfers, transportation from the hotel to events, three to five event tickets and a sightseeing tour of Beijing.
One such company, Roadtrips, offer a five night stay for US$7500 in a standard hotel. Their five star packages come in at US$9150. Another company, Sports World, provides three different packages. The price of their Bronze, Silver and Gold packages differ depending on the standard of accommodation but are similar to Roadtrips.
Both of these operators provide good packages however I was shocked by the price particularly as packages provided no flexibility regarding hotel location. Now, I know for a fact that Olympic venues are spread throughout Beijing. Traveling from one area of the city can be taxing at the best of times, let alone during the Olympics when a million or more visitors will descend upon the city. Therefore I expanded my search and came across Gold Medal Tours website.
Their packages offer customers huge flexibility, allowing customers to build individual tailor made packages where accommodation, transportation and extra services can be selected according to budget or location. Price wise they were considerably cheaper than the other package providers while still offering the same services. I was particularly impressed with the additional services they offered which include sim cards pre programmed with useful phone numbers.
Gold Medal Tours not only offer services in Beijing but they can also arrange trips to other parts of China as part of your Olympic experience. When I called them to enquire about their services I was reassured to discover that they are run by a team of experienced tour operators who have more than 10 years experience in Beijing.
The established sports travel companies offer a satisfactory service however I think that a tailor made package is the key to a successful Olympic holiday in Beijing. Furthermore, international sports travel companies have little experience of Beijing and may lack the understanding of the city and Chinese culture. After my comprehensive research I chose Olympics Beijing Travel to organize my family’s Olympic experience.