If you’re trying to choose your first package holiday, the range of options can be confusing. What does ‘all-inclusive’ include? What does ‘half-board’ mean? Here’s our guide to the different package holiday types.
All-inclusive is exactly as its name suggests – everything is included. Flights, hotels, transfers and all meals, as well as drinks and snacks throughout the day. This is a great option for those who plan on spending most of their time near the hotel, as it can lead to massive savings.
Of course, the type of food and drink provided varies according to the hotel. While some hotels operate a buffet for other meal, others offer individual covers. Some hotels offer free soft drinks and local brands of alcohol, but you’ll have to pay extra for an expensive cocktail or whisky.
It’s worth doing your homework and researching what’s included at the hotel you plan on visiting. Sometimes hotel facilities such as the spa, tennis courts or Wi-Fi incur an extra charge. On the other hand, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover many hotels also include free evening entertainment, activities and shuttles to local attractions. On our website, any activity or facility not covered by all-inclusive is marked by an asterisk.
The all-inclusive deal works out as one of the most cost-effective holiday options, especially for families. It also makes it easier to budget for your holiday as you don’t have to account for meals, drinks and snacks.
Full-board package holidays are very similar to all-inclusive deals. They include flights, accommodation and three meals a day. Tea, coffee and soft drinks are often provided with food, but snacks and drinks between meals are not covered. Whether or not alcoholic drinks are provided is dependent on the hotel, but most of the time these incur an extra charge.
This type of holiday is great for people who plan on spending their days near the hotel and evenings exploring the nightlife, drinking in local bars and clubs. Hen party, anyone? Like the all-inclusive deal, it means a budget-friendly, stress-free holiday. For more information about full board, click here.
A half-board holiday means that two meals a day are included alongside flights and accommodation – normally breakfast and dinner. Drinks are excluded from this deal, aside from basics such as coffee and juice.
Half-board is a good option for those who want a mixture of convenience and variety. You can have breakfast and then spend the day exploring, returning after lunch to relax near the hotel and enjoy a stress-free dinner. Half-board is very popular with families, as it offers a good balance between cost-effectiveness and flexibility.
When you choose a self-catering option, meals aren’t included in the cost of your stay, but you’ll be provided with the facilities to cook for yourself. This normally means you’ll be staying in an apartment with a private kitchen, often located at a resort complex.
Self-catering works well for those looking for some privacy – as you’ll be eating in your apartment rather than in the hotel restaurant – and for picky eaters. It’s also a good option for those who want more flexibility over when and where they eat, as if you choose self-catering you can either cook at home or eat out at local restaurants.
Couples are most likely to appreciate this freedom, while those with families might end up cooking large meals and clearing up after the children. With more mouths to feed, families are also less likely to make savings with self-catering.
This option doesn’t include meals or facilities for cooking, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the ambience of your hotel and relax by the pool, just like those on package holidays with meals included.
A room-only package is the best for those who will spend much of their holiday exploring. You will have the flexibility of going off for the day without worrying about returning to the hotel for lunch or dinner. It’s the best option for foodies who want to try the local cuisine. However, while this option may initially appear cheaper, you have to factor in the cost of eating three meals a day at local restaurants.
Whichever package holiday you decide upon, Holiday Hypermarket offers a range of options to suit your individual needs.