Self Catering Vs All Inclusive: The Best Value Holidays in a Recession

Monday, November 5, 2012
With the financial recession forcing us to tighten our purse strings, the first question many of us ask when planning a holiday is: "What can we afford?" and keen to get the most from whatever budget we have, this question is often followed by the all-too-common conundrum of whether to go for self-catering, all-inclusive or somewhere in between.

As the financial recession has forced some UK holidaymakers to tighten their purse strings, all inclusive holidays have increased in popularity. Here we examine whether All Inclusive really does provide the best value for money compared to a self-catering holiday.

General Manager Verity Eyre comments: "As the recession deepened, we saw a huge increase in demand for all inclusive holidays as clients are looking for value and everything included for one price. However, there have been some brilliant self-catering deals around which have perhaps been overlooked. The price difference could in many cases have covered the cost of dining out for a week."


Self-catering holidays can be very cost effective and offer great flexibility. Some of the lower-cost rooms will have a two-ring hob, kettle, and fridge, while others will have fully-serviced kitchens with an abundance of appliances. Both ends of the spectrum give you the freedom to do what you want, when you want, and not be restricted to the resort. You can explore the local area to your heart's content, sample the delights of the local cuisine, and when you don't feel like eating out (or just want to save a bit of money), can buy food at the nearby supermarkets and bring back to cook in your apartment.

With the increase in All Inclusive hotels, many local restaurants are suffering and as such eating out is often quite affordable as they vie for the business of tourists. If you are not a big drinker of alcohol or a big eater, dining out on a self catering holiday can work out much cheaper, plus you get to sample the local culture and cuisine.


Taking the stress out of holiday budgeting, all-inclusive deals offer travellers the whole package: flights, transfers, accommodation, food and drink (meals, snacks and drinks), and in-resort entertainment, for a set cost, upfront. The additional spend is justified by the added bonus of knowing that once you get to the resort, everything is already paid for.

There is a whole range of all-inclusive holidays on the market, and it's vital that when booking you check exactly what's included so there are no surprises. Some all inclusives include a la carte dining, premium spirits, room service 24 hours whilts some resorts offer limited dining options, local spirits or curfews on bar serving times. This is usually reflected in the price and so a 'lighter' all inclusive option can still offer excellent value as the price will be much lower than a 24-hour fully inclusive resort.

Set a Holiday Budget

Whichever option you choose, we recommend setting your total budget from the start - including spending money. Work out roughly what you can spend per day on food, drinks and entertainment, and compare it with the price of all-inclusive deal.