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The choice – self catering or all inclusive holidays
One of the big decisions when we take our holiday is to decide what sort we are going to take and how we are going to fuel the family on our break? Whether you choose hotels in cities, apartments in resorts or accommodation in the countryside there is a wide range of choice available.
So what board choices are available, what are the pros and cons of each and what will you be choosing this year?
Self catering – the sheer range of properties that allow you to enjoy a self catering holiday shows how versatile this option is for many. From cottages to gites, holiday parks to caravan holidays, ski chalets to city apartments and villas through to resort based apartment complexes.
The key here is that you get everything from basic cooking equipment and a fridge through to a fully serviced kitchen with every appliance under the sun. It allows us to come and go as we please, make our own mess and cater for exactly what we want to eat and drink. When staying for more than a couple of days it allows us to save money by buying our food as we do at home, in bulk and by serving it up as and when we want. It also means we can control how much we spend on our food as well as having the freedom to eat out as well if and when we want to. It’s the best of both worlds, and those apartments that are either fully serviced or part of a hotel complex add the extras of room service as a further option to consider.
Room only - the most basic of all – it does what it says on the tin. You get overnight accommodation with no meals included and no facilities for cooking or preparing food in your room. Great if you just need somewhere to stay and the property has easy access to local restaurants, bars and cafes. Increasingly, many hotels are selling their rooms in cities on this basis at knock down rates, then hammering you with high charges of anything up to £25 for breakfast should you want to take it at the hotel.
Bed & Breakfast – the good old staple of British seaside resorts and towns across the nation. The Brits do bed and breakfast like no other, a night in a comfy bed with breakfast the following morning all included in the price.
At home we expect a cooked breakfast along with cereals, juices and a sturdy cup of tea or coffee, however when we select the option abroad we may just receive a hot drink, jam and bread in a low cost Paris hotel all the way to a full running buffet of every kind of food you can imagine in a big resort hotel. Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, as it sets you up for the activities the day has ahead. And with so many of us skipping breakfast as part of our working day, the chance to get a hearty meal at the start of the day is one of the joys of an included breakfast.
Half Board – here you get your overnight room, breakfast and evening meal. Fine if you are staying somewhere away from places to eat out and if the evening menu is flexible with lots of choices. However many people find it limiting and you tend to find the evening meal an optional choice now in many properties as people get used to being flexible in taking their meals on holiday.
Full Board – this is effectively half board with an added meal at lunchtime. Again it is an excellent value for money option when your accommodation is far from resorts and everyday life as the package deal is often cheaper than paying for individual meals at the hotel. Taking this option is not good value for money for those who prefer to get out and explore and like to try local restaurants and bars.
All Inclusive – one of the most popular choices for package holiday makers is the all inclusive holiday option. This allows you to stay at a hotel and never have to worry about paying for food and drinks as your package price includes the lot. So from the moment you arrive to the time that you leave you can expect to be fed pretty much on demand from breakfast to midnight snacks as well as have unlimited drinks, including alcohol , although many properties will only include free local alcohol as opposed to premium imported brands. You can even get free ice creams for the kids during your stay making it a money saving option and a great way to get additional value for your spend. Never mind the free entertainment and activities.
Many cruise ships operate on a partial all inclusive basis making cruises a great value option too.