Self-catering, Half-board Or All-inclusive?

Going on holiday is an exciting time and should be rewarding and relaxing for everyone involved. Not all catering options suit all individuals or families, so it is important to think about what and how you will eat whilst you are away.


There are several advantages to choosing a self-catering holiday. Families can benefit from self-catering because of the convenience offered in choosing when to have meals, whether to eat at ‘home’, or whether to prepare packed lunches to take out and about. Families with young children often choose self-catering, because of the difficulty that is sometimes presented by fussy eaters. When you are self-catering you can choose exactly the type of food your family enjoys and not have to worry about arranging special hotel menus or persuading children to eat food they don’t like.


Choosing half-board catering facilities offers a kind of halfway house and many families find this attractive because of the reduced workload involved in shopping for food along with having some meals prepared for them. Half-board accommodation usually includes breakfast and evening meal, although at some establishments it may mean just bed-and-breakfast. You should make sure you understand exactly what half-board means to the hotel or other establishment you are staying at before you arrive.

Choosing half-board catering facilities is ideal for those who wish to have a regular base from which to plan day trips or other short outings. Light packed lunches or snacks eaten on the go see you through the day, whilst you know you have a good meal cooked for you in the evening.

Some hotels may be willing to prepare a packed lunch for you if they know ahead of time you are planning a day trip. Extra charges may be involved, so you should check with the hotel exactly what they offer before deciding to book or arriving.


The all-inclusive catering option is often included at holiday resorts or complexes, on cruises or travelling holidays when more than one location is visited with accommodation provided along the way.

The all-inclusive holiday provides all food and drinks required for the duration of your stay and completely takes away the responsibility or need to give any thought at all to menus or shopping. A choice of different kinds of foods may be made available at each meal and for those who are conscious of budget there is no concern regarding what to eat or how much it will cost since food is taken care of within the cost of the holiday.

Whichever catering option you choose will depend largely on your lifestyle and your family circumstances, along with the type of holiday you are taking. Weighing up your options is made easier by doing comparisons ahead of time, with the help of sites such as It is important to hold family discussions and discuss which option will work best for everyone involved.