Planning a holiday can involve a lot of decisions. Where shall we go? How long for? What board basis do we want? Well, we can’t help with the first two (unless you read our great destination guides for some inspiration!), but to help you get to grips with different types of board options available, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you decide which will suit you best.


Largely, this does exactly what it says on the tin. The cost of your holiday will usually include flights, transfers, accommodation and food and drink. On some occasions, activities and entertainment will also be factored into the price, though this usually doesn’t stretch to things like golf or spa treatments. All-inclusive holidays can be really useful for those who want to know upfront exactly what they are likely to spend, enabling efficient budgeting. It often also works well for families, as the kids can eat and drink to their heart’s content! Some resorts will have different levels of all-inclusive packages, so in some cases certain restaurants will be omitted, or top-shelf alcoholic spirits will come at an additional cost.

Full board

Full board is similar to all-inclusive in that breakfast, lunch and dinner are typically included in the price. However, drinks and additional snacks, as well as activities and entertainment, are all likely to come at an additional cost. This might suit holidaymakers who know they won’t make full use of the extras often factored into the cost of an all-inclusive break.

Half board

Half board basis means your accommodation will also provide you with breakfast and one other meal each day of your stay – usually dinner. Some hotels will allow you to swap dinner for lunch, but it’s worth checking before you book if this flexibility is important to you. The main benefit of half board is that it allows you a little more freedom to explore the local area and eat out if you wish.

Bed and Breakfast

This option means you will simply receive breakfast in addition to your accommodation. Breakfast in these instances tends to be buffet-style and, depending on the country you are visiting, will often include a range of options such as cooked items, cereals, fruit, yoghurts, pastries and continental offerings, like cold meats and cheeses. Bed and breakfast usually suits couples on city breaks and those who like heading out all day to explore the local area, and eating dinner at a local restaurant.


Self-catering holidays mean that while you won’t be provided with any meals by your accommodation, you will have catering facilities (including a fridge) to enable you to cook your own meals as you wish. This option is great for those on a budget, who may choose to pick up some local produce at a market or supermarket for some or all of their meals, or for those who simply enjoy cooking.


This one is pretty straightforward. With room-only deals, that is literally what you’ll receive for your money, meaning all meals, drinks, snacks and activities will have to be paid for in addition to the cost of your accommodation. This is usually good for people who like to head out and explore the town or city where they are staying, eating in local restaurants or with family or friends who may live locally.

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