Self-catering or all-inclusive?

There are many things to think about when choosing a holiday, especially if you have a family and the kids like their endless ice creams and drinks.
Paying up front for a holiday can be scary and searching for the best deal and the most ideal place to suit everyone’s needs can be a hassle. Generally we would all rather get the cheapest price we can and just book it. The thing is at that point, we don’t think about those extra costs we may incur when we get there.

Self-catering holidays are great if you enjoy the freedom of eating somewhere different every night and don’t like being tied to set meal times. It’s nice to go on holiday and experience different things in different surroundings – exactly the reason why we go away. The problem starts when you have three or four extra mouths to feed, going away for a week or two can suddenly then become very expensive. When you’re away, you may not want to think about how much money you’re spending.

Self-catering can be an excellent option if you’re a couple. The holiday can feel more romantic if you are eating out somewhere different every night. Eating out back at home is usually an occasional treat, so it’s good when you’re away to treat yourself by not eating at the same hotel restaurant every night.

All-inclusive holidays often appear very expensive at first, especially if you have a family or four or five. Picture the scene, you walk into the travel agent, tell them where you would like to go and tell them you want to go all-inclusive. A very hefty quote appears and you ask the agent, can we not get anything any cheaper? The only other option is self-catering, or half board where the drinks and ice creams aren’t included.

Used under Creative Commons Licence from 松林L

Hotel restaurant buffet

So what’s good about all-inclusive? Well, all your drinks, meals, and ice creams at the hotel are included in that lump-sum you pay at the beginning. The kids can enjoy lots of drinks and ice creams, and your wallet doesn’t leave your pocket (hopefully) all the time your at the hotel. The original quote you got seemed large, but it probably would have cost you more if you had to pay for all of those things separately.
All-inclusive can also be a great option if you’re going away with friends, especially if you like your alcohol and don’t want to worry about not being able to afford to eat and drink. When you go away with friends, you generally just want to sit by the pool and relax in the day and party by night – especially with the inclusive alcohol. Many teens tend to go for the cheapest deal they can get and that usually means going self-catering. This means that often they end up taking lots of spending money and the holiday suddenly becomes a lot more expensive than was first planned.

So what really is the best option, and how do you know if you’re making the right choice? It is clear to see that both board options have their pros and cons.
It depends on whether you’re a family, a group of friends, or a couple – there is always that risk when making that booking. The key is to do your research, think practically and don’t get put off by the first price you see.

Published by Ross Barnard on January 15, 2010

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