Choosing the right holiday for you and your family is one of the biggest decisions you will make each year. It can be made even more difficult to decide if you don’t know the difference between board bases. Which is best – All Inclusive or Self Catering? Is Half Board better than Full Board? The answer to these questions all depends on you.
I feel like I have tried every board basis under the sun, so let me highlight some of the pros and cons of each. Hopefully it will help you to decide which board basis is right for you.
Room Only (RO)
What does it mean? Room Only means that you just get a room with a bed to sleep in and a bathroom. There are no means for preparing your own food and breakfast isn’t included.
Pros: This is great for city breaks if you are in a central location and want to get out and explore. It’s also perfect if you are staying in a hotel on business and will be leaving early for meetings or if you are staying in an airport hotel and leaving early for a flight.
Cons: It can be somewhat difficult to budget for if you’re not sure how much you will end up spending by going out to restaurants for all three of your meals each day.
Self Catering (SC)
What does it mean? Similar to Room Only, no meals are provided or included in the cost; however your accommodation will come with a kitchen or kitchenette for you to be able to prepare your own food.
Pros: With the ability to cook your own food, you can be more cost effective by buying your food from a local supermarket. This saves money rather than spending more by eating out at restaurants. However, if money isn’t an issue, Self Catering also allows you to get out and sample a variety of local restaurants.
Cons: Many hotels and resorts providing Self Catering accommodation also have their own restaurants on-site. These can be very tempting, so your good intentions of buying your own supermarket food can go to waste and you might end up spending money on both.
Bed and Breakfast (BB)
What does it mean? Breakfast is included in the price of your accommodation; however you will have to pay extra or go elsewhere for lunch and dinner.
Pros: Holidays are relaxing, so it’s nice to know that you don’t have to head out for breakfast or prepare it yourself. You can fuel up for the day and look forward to trying new and different places at your leisure for both lunch and dinner.
Cons: Bed and Breakfast is great if you are in a central location giving you plenty of other restaurant options for lunch and dinner. It’s not such a great option if your hotel is located on the outskirts of a resort with not much choice for food nearby.
Half Board (HB)
What does it mean? Half Board means that breakfast and dinner are included in the price. Lunch, drinks and snacks are extra.
Pros: This is perfect if you like to get out and explore the area around you during the day. You can fill up at breakfast and then look forward to a big dinner. This means you only need a light snack for lunch, which will save you money.
Cons: If you’re out and about enjoying yourself during the day, Half Board can sometimes be a bit restricting as you may feel obliged to cut your day short in order to be back in time for dinner.
Full Board (FB)
What does it mean? Full Board is very similar to All Inclusive, with the main difference being that you pay for your drinks and snacks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in the price.
Pros: This is great for those who are happy to relax by the pool and not looking to venture too far from the hotel. Another positive is that you can enjoy your dinner and then head out and enjoy a drink and some entertainment in the surrounding resort.
Cons: If you opt for Full Board, it can sometimes stop you from getting out and about or venturing too far from your hotel during the day. Therefore it’s not ideal for those who love to head out on adventures and see the wider area.
All Inclusive (AI)
What does it mean? This means that all meals, snacks and drinks are included in the cost of your holiday. In some cases, certain hotel activities may be included too, which you might otherwise pay for.
Pros: This is the best option for people who want to be able to budget properly on their holiday as everything apart from spending money is taken care of. It’s also perfect for families with young children as it is stress free and easy.
Cons: The only downside to All Inclusive is that it may become a little repetitive. Most hotel restaurants have different themed nights to keep things varied, but it can sometimes be nice to get out and try all the great local restaurants too.
What’s your preferred board basis when you go on holiday? Has this post made you consider trying something different? Let me know in the comments below.