All-Inclusive vs. Full Board: What's Best for Your Vacation?

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All-Inclusive vs. Full Board: What's Best for Your Vacation?

When it comes to vacation planning, one of the first things we consider is accommodation and, more specifically, what type of meal plan is best suited for our needs and budget. Two of the most popular options travelers consider are "all-inclusive" and "full board." Let's dive deep into the differences, benefits, and downsides of each to help you make an informed decision for your next getaway.

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What's the Difference?

1. All-Inclusive All-inclusive resorts or packages mean that for a single price, you receive lodging, meals, drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and often a range of other amenities and activities. Think of this as a one-stop-shop for all your vacation needs.

2. Full Board Full board, on the other hand, covers your accommodation and all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), but drinks and other extras will be charged separately. This is a step above half-board (which usually includes breakfast and either lunch or dinner) and B&B (just bed and breakfast).

The Advantages


  • Hassle-Free: You don’t have to worry about budgeting for food or drinks during your stay.
  • Variety: Many all-inclusive resorts offer multiple dining options, from buffet to à la carte.
  • Entertainment and Activities: Most of these resorts have a daily schedule of activities and entertainment for guests.
  • Cost Predictability: You generally know the full cost of your vacation upfront.

Full Board:

  • Flexibility: While your meals are set, you have the flexibility to explore outside the hotel/resort for snacks or drinks.
  • Fewer Surprises: You're less likely to find hidden costs or fees.
  • Experience Local Culture: With no all-in drinks or activities tying you down, you might venture out more, experiencing local eateries or attractions.
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The Downsides


  • Overindulgence Temptation: With everything available at your fingertips, it's easy to overeat or drink.
  • Less Interaction with Local Culture: Guests might feel less inclined to leave the resort, missing out on local experiences.
  • Potential for Hidden Fees: Some premium services, dining or activities may not be included.

Full Board:

  • Additional Costs: All your drinks and extra activities will come at an additional cost.
  • Less Inclusivity: If you're looking for a package that offers activities and entertainment, full board might not be for you.

Making Your Choice

1. Consider Your Budget: If you're the type who loves cocktails by the pool, all-inclusive might offer better value. But if you’re a light eater or drinker, full board could be more economical.

2. Think About Your Vacation Goals: Want to deeply explore a destination, its streets, and its culture? Full board might push you to explore more. Looking for a hassle-free, relaxation-focused escape? All-inclusive could be the answer.

3. Assess the Destination: In places known for their cuisine or vibrant local life, you might not want to be tied to a resort's meal plan.

4. Check Reviews: Sometimes the quality of food and drink can vary. Ensure you’re getting good value by checking previous guests’ reviews.

In conclusion, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Both all-inclusive and full board have their merits. It all boils down to individual preferences, vacation goals, and the kind of experience you're seeking. Happy travels!

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