In high spring, most people have already booked their summer holidays. Those who haven’t will still find plenty of choices though. One of the biggest questions is what type of catering to book. Whether you choose self-catering, bed & breakfast or all-inclusive (or half board), they all have pros and cons.
Self Catering Holidays
Self catering is exactly what it sounds like. You need to source and make all food for your group. These apartments will have a kettle, usually a hot plate and a refrigerator.
Pros of Self Catering
Self-catering is potentially one of the cheapest ways to holiday. You will find an abundance of supermarkets for both big brands and local produce all at a much cheaper cost. Most people on self-catering holidays make their own breakfast and sometimes lunch to take with them if they are out for the day – a much cheaper option – and eat out at night. Proponents of self-catering say that it is more beneficial to local businesses and helps develop a more adventurous palate for locally available food.
Cons of Self-Catering
Self-catering is only cheaper if you are shrewd with what you buy and don’t eat out at restaurants for every meal. When shopping at supermarkets, if you don’t know what you’re buying that’s potentially a lot of wasted money. The other major disadvantage is that sometimes the kitchen and cooking facilities are inadequate to make proper meals; pasta will be about the limit. Then there is the washing up you hoped to leave to one side for a week. The more people, the more there is to do.
Bed and Breakfast Holidays
This holiday type is exactly what it sounds like: you get a room and breakfast included in the price.
Pros of Bed and Breakfast
The major advantage of B&B holidays is the flexibility. Usually available through hotels, there will be a restaurant on site. Unlike all-inclusive holidays (see below), you are not obliged to eat there. Except for breakfast, you can eat wherever you like, whenever you like. You can take a day out and not feel you’ve lost out on anything. As with self-catering, this is good for the local economy.
Cons of Bed and Breakfast
There is one overriding problem with bed and breakfast holidays – each hotel has a very different idea of what constitutes a breakfast. Last year’s holiday may have been an all-you-can-eat buffet offering full English, continental style, fruit and yoghurt, pancakes or anything else you like. This year, your hotel offers a roll with butter and your choice of jam or marmalade, one cup of orange juice and one tea or coffee. B&B holidays are not ideal for people who like a sumptuous breakfast.
Half-Board and All Inclusive Holidays
We have grouped these together as they are similar. An all-inclusive holiday is one where you have unlimited food and drink as it is included in the cost of the holiday. Half board holidays include breakfast and dinner (but paying for drinks and no lunch included).
Pros of Half Board/All Inclusive
For both types of holiday, the main advantage is that you could potentially save a lot of money. There are few hidden costs and you don’t need to take much cash with you. This is better for security too. As people on all-inclusive holidays stay at the hotel most of the time, it’s easier to socialise with fellow holidaymakers.
Cons of Half Board/All Inclusive
There is one significant drawback to both of these types of holiday – you are stuck with it. While this is perfect for people who never want to leave the pool area, it is not ideal for people who like to explore where they stay. You simply must plan your day around meals which can be constraining. The food will get repetitive; it’s all a matter of when and not if.