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Planning a trip for the whole family? The convenience of a package deal can be mighty tempting – particularly if the price tag is low. But before you decide to splurge on an all-inclusive deal it’s important to weigh the pros and cons first. Going all-inclusive might be convenient, but will you really save when all is said and done? The first order of business is to read the fine print.

Why book an All-Inclusive holiday
So you’ve scrimped and saved for your family holiday, and you want to make the most of your budget. One of the first benefits of going all-inclusive is that you know exactly what to expect. How many times have you gone on holiday only to find you’ve vastly underestimated the cost of dining out, entertainment, and transport? Well, all of this may be included in the upfront cost so you won’t have to worry about blowing your budget once you get there. You’ll just need to pack a bit of extra cash for souvenirs, tips, and side trips. Be sure to check what’s included in each package though – some all-inclusive trips may only include breakfast and dinner, while others don’t include excursions or airport transportation.

Another major bonus to going all-inclusive for families is that many resorts include a full range of children’s activities. Look for options that include kids’ clubs, babysitting, and entertainment as part of the deal. If you’ve ever been tasked with keeping small children entertained day in and day out on a holiday before, this alone can make the price well worth it! Everything’s already planned for you, allowing you to just show up and relax.

Why book a Self-Catering holiday
If you are travelling with a baby, toddler, or anyone on a special diet, self-catering can wind up being a better deal when it comes to food costs. You’ll be able to prepare your own meals – and this means exploring local markets or shops which can be a delight for foodies. Of course, whether or not you save money this way depends on your destination – you can expect supermarket costs to be way higher in, say, Iceland as compared to Greece. Another thing to think about is whether you’ll actually make use of your self-catering cooking facilities. If you’re just going to eat out at restaurants, you’re probably better off going all-inclusive in terms of cost!

But when it comes to flexibility and enjoying the local culture, having the freedom to eat and drink where and when you please can be a big perk. You’ll also have more freedom to explore the destination away from the confines of a resort, getting a more enriching cultural experience.

The Bottom Line
There’s certainly a case to be made for both all-inclusive and self-catering holidays for families. Whether or not it’s a better deal will depend greatly on the time of year you’re travelling, your destination, and the type of travel experience you’re interested in. To get a general idea of the cost involved, you can use tools like this all-inclusive calculator or the Post Office’s Travel Barometer. You’re also bound to get the best deal on an all-inclusive getaway if you:

  1. Book early – you’ll have a wider selection of resorts and dates to choose from, and may benefit from early booking bonuses.
  2. Keep an eye on flash sales – follow tour providers on social media to nab a deal before it’s gone.
  3. Shop around – be sure you know what’s included in the package and compare similar offers online.
  4. Research local tipping practices – in some countries you’re expected to tip a lot (for example the USA), so you’ll need to work this into your budget.
  5. Beware if a deal seems too good to be true – it may be that way for a reason, whether it’s an inconvenient resort location or poor quality food.

But beyond the cost, you should also think about the overall experience to choose a holiday that’s right for your family. Do you prefer the ease of having your day mapped out with a full schedule of activities, or do you like to be spontaneous and get off the beaten path? Your family’s travel style may be the ultimate deciding factor!

Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.