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Pros and cons of all inclusive

Summer holidays are what every member of the family looks forward to. It’s a chance to relax, catch up with friends and family, plus travel to an unknown destination and soak up the atmosphere. If you’re heading abroad this year then one of the biggest topics of discussion is: all-inclusive or not? 

It’s something that has been debated for many years, and the jury’s still out, but we’re here to help you choose the best option for you. After all, different packages suit different travellers.

What is all inclusive?

An all inclusive holiday is defined as “denoting or relating to a holiday in which all or most meals, drinks, and activities are included in the overall price.” That pretty much explains it. To find out what is included in the all inclusive package at your hotel of choice it's a good idea to check before you book.

Pros of an all inclusive hotel package

  • Eat and drink as much as you want: The clue is in the title for this one. Are you a family of big eaters, or a couple that likes a drink or two by the pool? Well, all inclusive packages allow you to fully experience the catering facilities of your resort, with everything paid for before you leave the UK. 
  • Safety net and general safety: Worried that when you get there you won’t find any good local restaurants, or a supermarket to buy food? All inclusive offers food to you at pretty much all times of the day, usually in a buffet format, sometimes even in a variety of options if your hotel offers multiple restaurants and snack bars. And with regards to general safety, some areas of your chosen destination may not be safe to travel to as a tourist, so being able to dine and chill out within the hotel is a great option.
  • Activities included: It’s not all about the unlimited food and drink! As a parent, you’re there to relax too, so it’s great to be able to find an all inclusive resort that includes activities for you and your family. Send the young children to the hotel’s kids club while you get pampered in the spa, and then meet after lunch and go on an excursion put on by the hotel free of charge! Doesn’t that sound relaxing.
  • Convenient for families: When you’re taking your family on holiday, it can be hard to find restaurants and activities that you can all agree on. However, with all inclusive, the only debate you’ll have with dinner is which restaurant within the hotel you’ll be eating in.
  • Budgeting: Budgeting is incredibly important for any holiday, and with all inclusive you’ll find that you’ll only really need to budget for spending money rather than for activities, food and drink, as everything is already paid for.

Cons of an all inclusive hotel package

  • Can feel like you have to stay at the hotel: Because your food is included, and activities are already paid for, you might feel like you need to stay in the hotel to make the most of what you’ve already paid for. It’s all about getting the balance between making the most of it and exploring the local atmosphere.
  • Don’t eat/drink that much: If you don’t drink that much, or feel like you’d like to eat out most of the time, then all inclusive may not be for you. You’ll be paying more for amenities that you won’t be using. However, some hotels offer a half-board package. This could mean that some areas are included and some aren’t. For example, your food may be included but you’ll have to pay for your drinks, or you may get breakfast and dinner but no lunch.
  • Limited times and selections of food and drink: Some hotels are very flexible with meal times, offering a big window in order to allow everyone to get the food that they want. However, there are some that have very restrictive times for food, and won’t go outside of that. Remember to check with your hotel about their meal times before you book.
  • Might cost more: If you don’t eat or drink lots, or are travelling with young children, then all inclusive may not be your first choice. It could end up costing you more for food and drink that you’re not going to use. 
  • Everything may not be included: This point will require you to do some research, as not all all inclusive packages are the same. Some just include food and drink, some are just food and activities. It’s a good idea to contact your local travel agent to find the best all inclusive package for you.
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