So you’re excited about the family holiday but aren’t sure what to book. It’s hard enough to choose a destination and pick your transport options, but you also need to arrange your accommodation. In most cases, resorts, hotels, and travel organizations ask you to choose a full board or all-inclusive stay.
But what do these terms mean? Will your family holiday be better with full board or all-inclusive accommodation? If you are on a tight budget, it’s important to consider which package offers the best benefits.
This post explains the difference between full board and all-inclusive and what these packages mean for you.
What’s Full Board?
Full board accommodation is a common offer from hotels and resorts across the world. Usually, full board accommodation includes all meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In most cases, the resort provides the menu and mealtimes. So as long as you show up on time, you’ll enjoy the meals.
The cost of the meals and beverages on the menu is typically included in the total package cost. You don’t have to pay extra to access the meals and beverages during meal times because they are included in the room price.
However, full board accommodation does not include all drinks and snacks. Therefore, you have to pay separately for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in the restaurant or mini-fridge. In most cases, full-board only includes the meals and the room. Extra services are charged separately.
When booking full board accommodation, it’s crucial to ask what is included and what isn’t. As earlier mentioned, meals during the mentioned mealtimes are included. Some resorts may have a few free drinks and snacks, sometimes limited in number. However, the majority of the drinks and snacks are charged separately. The beverages may be alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Also, during your stay at a hotel, you may want to use other facilities such as the pool, spa, gym, sauna, and bars. In most cases, full board accommodation does not include these amenities. If you want to use these services, they may be billed separately, which increases the cost of your stay. A good rule of thumb is to contact the hotel beforehand and confirm the prices.
Another critical issue to confirm is the number of people included in the full board accommodation. Many establishments offer full board packages for two people. If more than two people are traveling, whether children or adults, the cost may increase.
Contact the hotel to find out how much more it costs to include more than two people in your package. The charges may vary depending on the age of the extra person. For example, the hotel may have separate charges for children above 13 years, between 6 and 13 years, and below six years.
Since full board accommodation includes basic meals, you’re free to explore in short durations and come back in time for your meals. It’s an excellent plan if you don’t want to drink and enjoy snacks for the hotel. You can go out and enjoy the culture and nightlife, and only go back to your hotel to freshen up and rest.
Since lunch is included in the stay, full board accommodation works well with activities close to your hotel. For example, you can go outside with the family after breakfast, come back in time for lunch, leave again, and come back in time for dinner.
Some establishments also offer packed lunches for guests, which means you can go outside all day and still enjoy your lunch. Overall, full board accommodation is cost-effective and convenient, especially for families with young children. You can ensure that the little ones have a proper meal in the hotel and only worry about snacks and activities when you go outside.
Unfortunately, full board accommodation does not include drinks and snacks. As such, if you consume any of these items, knowingly and unknowingly, they will be billed separately. You have to be careful not to take anything outside your package because it increases the cost of your holiday.
While you can find ways to avoid any hotel snacks and drinks, it can be frustrating to watch your pennies around these items. Not to mention that sometimes, you’ll find it easier to grab things from the hotel instead of going outside.
For example, you’ll need bottled water during your holiday because tap water is not always safe to drink. If you forget to purchase enough bottled water for the family before going to the hotel, you may find yourself using the hotel’s bottled water.
Unfortunately, full board accommodation excludes amenities at the hotel, which means staying-in limits you to your room. So if you want to use the gym, sauna, pools, and other hotel amenities, be ready to pay extra.
What’s All Inclusive?
All-inclusive accommodation typically includes the room, drinks, snacks, and hotel amenities. It’s an exhaustive package that’s great for people who wish to stay in and maximize their hotel stay during a holiday. If you remain within the hotel, you can enjoy the amenities and relax inside the hotel.
As such, all-inclusive stays are great for resorts with excellent facilities and ambiance. Find a hotel with a kids club, two services, saunas, massage services, and gyms to enjoy total value for your money. However, it’s always important to confirm if all facilities and services are included in the package.
With an all-inclusive holiday, you don’t have to worry about the meals, beverages, and snacks. You can wine and dine to your fill. However, some establishments limit the all-inclusive offer to midnight. If you plan to enjoy beverages, especially alcoholic ones, after midnight, check if the hotel has limitations or an all-inclusive offer around the clock.
Generally, all-inclusive accommodation costs more than full board accommodation. However, all-inclusive may have a lower total cost, especially when you account for family activities outside the hotel. Most all-inclusive resorts have plenty of activities and entertainment for the whole family.
It’s important to confirm how many people are included in an all-inclusive package before booking. Most packages advertised online are limited to two people. So always call ahead and ask how much more it costs to stay with the whole family.
All-inclusive holiday resorts are great for families because you don’t have to worry about the meals, drinks, snacks, and entertainment. The entire family will be well fed and taken care of within the resort. You can also take comfort knowing that you’ve paid for the services and don’t have to pay extra to use the available facilities. In short, booking an all-inclusive stay is a great way to stay within budget.
More importantly, you don’t have to leave the hotel or resort to enjoy your holiday. Most of the things you’ll need to stay fed, hydrated, and relaxed are available in the hotel. What’s more, most resorts have diverse cuisine and top-shelf drinks. As such, all-inclusive stays are great for families that want to lay down and enjoy the ambiance and exemplary service.
In addition, most all-inclusive packages include gratuities, tips, and service charges in the price. So you don’t have to spend extra from your wallet. On the other hand, full-board accommodation may exclude these charges and bill them separately, which means you have to pay more.
All-inclusive stays aren’t ideal if you want to explore beyond the resort. You may feel obligated to stay in the hotel and take full advantage of the facilities. This means that even if you visit a new holiday destination, your knowledge of the area may be limited to the resort. If you plan to explore your holiday destination, pick an alternative package such as full board or half board.
In addition, all-inclusive packages are costly. If you are on a budget, this holiday package may not be for you. Enjoying your snacks, drinks, and entertainment outside the hotel is a great way to save money. However, it could cost you more depending on the holiday destination and the family size. It’s always best to weigh exploration costs versus all-inclusive stays and see which expenses are lower.
Which Is Right For You?
If you want to enjoy your family holiday, you need to choose the right holiday accommodation package for you. Both options offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which means you don’t have to worry about feeding the family during the holiday. However, full board accommodation does not include snacks and drinks, so you have to budget for them separately.
If you are traveling for relaxation and resort entertainment, the all-inclusive boarding option may be better for you. You can maximize your stay inside the hotel and enjoy the service by the exemplary staff.
However, if you are on a budget and want to explore your holiday destination, full board accommodation is ideal for you. You can enjoy the entertainment, snacks, and drinks in the surrounding areas instead of spending the entire day inside the resort. If you plan to be out all day, check if the hotel offers packed lunch to reduce your expenses during the trip.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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