half board vs all inclusive(36 Posts)
I think I understand what the difference is between HB and AI, which one do you think works best?
Depends on the location. Some places like the Caribbean work great as AI as the resorts are big and folk don't always feel safe just going out exploring. Possibly works cheaper in the longs run if you like to stuff your face, have hungry children and will use all the sports.
Other areas I've been like Turkey and Thailand we like to go out and find local restaurants with fantastic food. AI can feel a bit restricted and caged in if the local area is lovely with good restaurants and bars etc.
I'd look at costs of different holidays in chosen destination. When I was looking it was only £100 pp more for AI. I worked out with drinks and ice cream etc it was worth it even if we did chose to eat out a few times. But what I considered in this was AI tended to be 3* family hotels and the HB 4* hotels.
Also remember if you go within Europe it's very expensive so if your providing your own lunch etc it can work out quite a bit more - however come HB hotels have self catering equipment so you can do a lunch fairly cheaply. Just have a large cooked breakfast and a good dinner! Plus if you go HB and are going to be in the hotel quite a bit their drinks are expensive. Also a lot of destinations require you to drink bottled water so if your HB you need to factor in the costs of this as well.
We compared them recently . Did one holiday AI and the next HB (to the same area of Tenerife).
HB worked out cheaper but AI was so much easier with a toddler in tow! It was lovely to just be able to get food, drinks & snacks as and when. Also, when we went out for the day you could book 'picnics' to take with you.
We're doing AI again next time.
If I can afford it I'd rather go hb even if it costs more. You're too tied to the hotel otherwise.
I don't understand when people say you are "tied" to the hotel with AI. The doors are open and no- one is forcing you to eat there for every meal.
We have had lots of AI holidays, when the kids were younger, usually Greece or Turkey , we choose small family run hotels, AI is often no more expensive than HB.
We still ate out a lot, but the convenience of AI was fantastic. Long leisurely lunch and dinner services, can even go in twice if you like, morning and afternoon snacks, coffees, ice creams, alcohol, it's all these things that add up when you are on holiday and you either have to buy them from the hotel or carry heavy bottles back from a supermarket.
We all get thirsty in hot weather and appetites can be affected too- children will often buy a drink only to have a few mouthfuls, leave it to get warm and need another one half an hour later.
Most AI hotels I have been too will do a packed lunch too at no extra cost- worth taking even if you are planning to eat out at a restaurant for lunch as it means you have snacks and drinks for the day.
For us it was a no- brainer whether to do AI, many hotels don't even charge for children, and I awlays felt it was a really relaxing holiday for the whole family.
We have done both. AI is easy with young/fussy DC /if you like to drink a lot. Half-board can work out cheaper if you don't want to eat much at lunch/ you don't drink much.
B&B is besr when you want to get out and about to try the local cuisine and culture
Have been to carribbean several times and never all inclusive. Restaurants are great , easy and safe to get around. Having said that, if I was going with children I would go all inclusive as they are not interested in spending the evening in a restaurant, they want to eat quickly and run off with their friends.
givemeaclue- AI is not something I would ever consider without children. Like you I have travelled to many tropical destinations, Indonesia, Seychelles, Sri lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, most of the time we didn't even book a hotel in advance, just turned up and found somewhere good.
Things change when you have kids though, although spending three hours over a romantic dinner is perfect when you are just a couple, but it's not going to work when you have 4 year olds buzzing around. Our priorities are different.
Young children may be a little fussier over food and if you have just spent £70 on lunch for the family ( and perhaps only picked at by younger members) then AI is brilliant for catering for little hungry tummies at any time of the day without having to pay another bill.
We have found AI great with young children, although my kids are teenegaers now and once aagain back to S/C or B&B as we like to explore and eat out.
Depends on budget, in my experience if the holiday has been a 'bargain' and it's AI it's been v poor quality, and it's very depressing eating the same awful food for 14 days!
I would only do AI if I could afford a really good hotel. If money is an issue better to go for HB in a better hotel than AI in an average hotel.
I enjoy eating out now that the girls are grown up and we are just paying for ourselves so we sometimes just do SC and eat out somewhere different each night.
Yes all inclusively definitely the best option wiTh children.
Agree if you go AI don't go for the cheapest - we would go 4star plus.
AI def for those with kids. I would avoid AI completely without kids as even the best AI hotels often have a canteen like feel. I've always done AI and my kids are now 8&6 but this past year we have decided to go b&b or half board as we feel we are missing out so much on places, restaurants etc. it's not just the food and drinks that ties you into a hotel. Often these AI are huge complexes with tons of activities and entertainment for the kids, which whilst we have enjoyed it, we have noticed that we never really leave (once kids enjoy the entertainment the first night, its difficult to get away from it after that). So night after night often feels the same and whilst you can leave, its difficult knowing you can pay €20 for bottle of wine in resort yet its free in your hotel!
Its great with young kids though but as they get older I've found mine are happy with a beach and pool so I'm now considering less "family" resorts and plan tog go to just nice places.
I find it much more expensive going HB etc though.
Durham- but if you have AI at a "bargain" price then you will have plenty money to eat out.
Very few people who do AI holidays eat at the hotel for every meal for 14 days.
Most people on AI will eat out at some point on most days- for us it was all the unbetween stuff where the real savings are made- the unlimited coffees and teas, ice creams, afternoon cake, alcohol and wine with meals, pides and pizza , midnight soup. all this and the hot cooked breakfasts, most hotels will have special evenings on too, BBQs or fish nights etc.
It's nice to allow the children the third ice cream of the day knowing it's not knocking a hole in your spending money.
It means we also have the flexibility of eating at different times if we choose to.
DD and I are up with the larks and like a cooked breakfast so we are up early, eat, and have a sit by the pool after breakfast listening to the bird chorus while I have a second coffee.
My boys are sleepyheads and so I can take up some bacon butties and fresh juice to the boys in bed later in the morning.
We may just have a snack and eat by the poolside, or indeed go out for the whole day, picking up our freshly prepared picnic at reception on the way out.
All my AI holidays have been in "average" hotels at low cost.
" its difficult knowing you can pay €20 for bottle of wine in resort yet its free in your hotel"
jamtoast- I agree, but that's hardly "caging you in" as others have suggested.
We have usually avoided the big AI resorts with lots of entertainment, instead choosing small family run hotels, usually with village style accommodation. The atmosphere is much more relaxed, more informal.
We have saved a lot of money by going AI.
There are some places where AI works well but I would never do it in a mediterranean resort.
It is a fact that AI is killing off resorts in a lot of places. Hotels change from being B&B or HB and then people don't leave the hotel and local businesses suffer.
Also I don't think anyone can say that AI Is the best option with children. It may be the best option for some but it would never be the best for our family because we would hate the restrictions of AI. For us it is SC all the time. Everyone is different, so we all like different things.
I've 3 kids under 9 and AI has worked out the best for us - particularly with the icecream, soft drinks, cakes, crisps, coffee snack type of food.
We went self catering when there was just us & when dd1 was small but financially if we didn't go AI we wouldn't be going away at all.
Why not a mediterranean resort?
I agree there are variable standards- as there are with all hotels, but if you do your research there are some lovely budget AI hotels.
I also don't get the "restrictions" that AI places on you- this has been mentioned several times.
"Caged", "tied" "trapped" are a few words being used here- I could equally suggest that HB ties you to a hotel in the evening.
People use AI hotels the same way that they use HB hotels. I have seen many families choosing to stay in the hotel day after day while on HB and buying all their lunches and drinks at the hotel.
With AI often being the same price as HB or not much more than SC I could argue that it gives you more flexibility, especially with younger children.
Eating out with LOs doesn't always go according to plan. You can choose a lovely restaurant but your 5 year old may end up eating only bread.
Many restaurants don't open until later in the evenings for LOs, and it can be hard for them to wait- most AI hotels realise this and will have snacks, pizza, pides etc late afternoon.
SC is fine but I don't go on holiday to wash up.
Luckily we have always found that eating out works fine for our children, they always find something to eat. Also we have never had a problem finding restaurants that are open early, particularly in Turkey where we normally go.
I don't go on holiday to wash up either, we eat out so there is no washing up to do!
I guess it depends what you want from a holiday.
As much as I enjoy exploring we do enjoy having time for relaxation on holiday.
At home we have very busy lives, I work 30 hours a week and OH is often away on business and does a lot of travelling, we don't get to spend much time as a family.
We only have two weeks a year and often choose not to hire a car as we drive so much at home.
We love visiting sights and walking in the countryside, but sometimes on holiday we just want to sit on a terrace, have a coffee, a game of cards, talk, and enjoy family time.
Lazy mornings are something we rarely enjoy at home and I don't want to be getting ready to charge out to a restaurant for breakfast every day.
No we don't eat out for breakfast, we get in some fresh bread, cheese, jam, honey etc. and eat at home, we like lazy mornings too. We eat out for other meals though.
I think my biggest pet hate with AI is the self service, especially with kids serving themselves, I've lost count of the times I've seen a child pick up a sausage, hold it then put it back. It's disgusting!
I agree, having done it lots, its so easy with young children but once out of that age group, I find its a much nicer meal eating out. For us, as the kids have got older, the many negatives of AI are starting to outweigh the positives (or possibly that those annoying things such as kids fingering the food and people piling their plates to oblivion just because its free are more obvious now the kids are older!).
It is good value going AI but after many years of it, I'd say we've definitely sacrificed certain aspects of the holiday. With older kids, half board is easier as they tend not to waste as much food, they know what they like, kids themselves start getting bored round the pool etc all day.
Mine loved the kids discos in the hotel til they got to 6 but now couldn't care less which I'm pleased about really. Going half board, evenings are often based around meal and a bottle of wine, whereas in AI complexes (not all) its easy to sit there drinking for hours watching hotel entertainment whilst kids entertain themselves. Not saying all AI hotels are like this but many of those we've been to certainly are.
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