Are you traveling with your family and don’t know whether to book half board or all-inclusive? It can be confusing, especially when there are so many options out there.
On the one hand, you want the wholesome vacation experience of knowing you do not have to prepare meals and there are amenities to care for and keep children busy. On the other hand, you have to be keen on the costs as vacationing is expensive.
This article explores half board vs. all-inclusive to see what each travel package offers, to help you decide which one suits your needs.
- What Is a Half Board Vacation?
- What Is an All-Inclusive Vacation?
- What Should I Consider When Booking a Half Board vs. All-Inclusive Vacation?
- How to Choose Half Board vs. All Inclusive: What’s The Difference & Which Is Best for Families?
What Is a Half Board Vacation?
A half board vacation is where your hotel booking comes with accommodation, breakfast, and lunch or dinner.
Along with one meal, drinks are also not part of the package. Although lunch is usually not included in the package, you can request to switch it with dinner depending on your vacation needs.
Depending on the resort’s size, you may have standard restaurant service, personalized service, or buffet-style service for your meals.
What are the Benefits of Half Board?
Although one meal and drinks are not part of the package, half board offers several benefits that may be tempting.
A key part of going on vacation is exploring the country or city you visit. Since half board packages offer breakfast and dinner, you’ll have the freedom to explore during the day.
If you are looking for a luxurious experience, then half board may be the way to go. On the other hand, a buffet-style service can offer more variety with food choices and is usually considered higher quality than standard restaurant service.
All-inclusive resorts cost more because they include all meals and drinks in their package price. For families on a budget, this may be a deal-breaker.
Enhance your Culinary Experience
Other than sight, the sense that you ought to treat during a vacation is taste. Different countries and cultures have varying cuisines and methods of preparing meals.
Even though half board does not offer one meal, it does not mean you’ll be skipping a meal a day. As you go out exploring, you can try different restaurants and cuisines. If you have the stomach for it, try street food. This is the best way to explore and discover local treats as large resorts generally offer internationally standardized meals.
What Is an All-Inclusive Vacation?
With an all-inclusive vacation package, you will have full access to the amenities of the resort.
Including food and drinks in your package means you will not incur any additional expense when it comes to dining or beverages. This may be enticing if you’re someone who likes convenience, but beware of this type of package as resorts often include hidden costs such as internet service, laundry, and other amenities.
Benefits of All-Inclusive
For a family vacation, an all-inclusive package offers the following advantages.
Great for Relaxing
If you have young kids, you’ll probably not go for adventures, and if you do, it will only be a few times. As such, the best part of your holiday will be the resort. If so, all-inclusive is the ideal option as you won’t have to worry about preparing meals or going out to eat.
As your kids enjoy various activities, you can relax by the pool, go to the sauna, or get a massage.
Great For Socializing & Networking
With more time at the resort, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet other guests. From business people and families, you’ll be able to network with the right crowd for your needs at these resorts that offer personalized service.
You might think an all-inclusive package is more expensive than a half board, but this isn’t always true, even if you’ll pay more for it. Half board often includes other costs such as travel, park fees, meals, snacks, and guides which may increase the total cost of the vacation.
What Should I Consider When Booking a Half Board vs. All-Inclusive Vacation?
When choosing between half board vs. all-inclusive, it is not necessarily about which one is better but the one that suits you more. Some of the factors that you should consider when deciding on whether to book half board or all-inclusive include:
- Types of Food Available – If you’re traveling as a family and are more concerned with healthy food options, then consider booking the all-inclusive package. With this, you’ll be sure of eating decent meals as it can be tempting to skip some or eat junk at times. Otherwise, a half board package may suffice.
- Budget – If you’re traveling as a family and are on a budget, then consider booking the half board package so that you can save money with your meals. Otherwise, all-inclusive may be more convenient for the family in terms of meals.
- The Number of Dining Options – The number of dining options at a resort is much greater with an all-inclusive package than with a half board. If you want buffet-style meals, the former option may be better.
- Agreement with Family Members – If your family members have different preferences, consider booking the package they prefer.
- Type of Vacation – If you’re looking for a more adventurous vacation, all-inclusive is better suited as it offers many options such as scuba diving and snorkeling excursions.
How to Choose Half Board vs. All Inclusive: What’s The Difference & Which Is Best for Families?
There are many factors to consider when deciding on whether to book half board or all-inclusive. Depending on your preferences and priorities, you may find one package better suits your needs than the other.
Evaluate what matters most for you and your family in terms of meals, budget, cost per person, dining options available, agreement with family members, and type of vacation.
Is it worth the extra cash to have more dining options, or does your budget need to be considered first? Is an active vacation what you’re looking for, or do you want a relaxing experience? These questions are essential when deciding whether to book half board vs. all-inclusive.
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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