For many people (me definitely), food forms an important part of the holiday!  However when booking, the range of choices can be huge.  Depending on the hotel, you can have everything from room only or self-catering through to all inclusive.  What’s best to choose?

To be honest, it depends on so many things.  If you’re going to be located near to a town or village where there are local bars or restaurants, I’d avoid all-inclusive.  It helps the local economy if you can eat locally produced food in restaurants owned by locals.  When you look at the definition of Responsible Tourism – one aspect is that it generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities.

However if you’re in a location that is not close to a town or village, then all-inclusive will usually work out as better value, saves on taxis every night if you don’t want to eat in the hotel restaurant.

Self-catering is a good option to have with smaller children, who might not want to try the hotel food.  It means you can keep a daily eye on costs – but you might miss out on local restaurants if you’re watching the pennies too closely.  In a hot climate, also do you really want to be stuck at a stove cooking dinner anyway?

Bed & breakfast is ideal in a city – fill up early to fuel your day of sightseeing!  Some hotels include breakfast, some you have to pay extra.  Many US cities don’t provide breakfast as it is expected that you go out to a local diner rather than staying in the hotel.

If you’re going all-inclusive, it’s not just about the food.  Depending on the hotel, much more will be included than just food and drink.  Some hotels will include land-based sports and non-motorised water-sports (especially in the Caribbean).  Some premium brands, like Sandals, will include motorised water-sports, unlimited scuba and so on.  Check the brochure details or with me for what is included.  If you’re going to use lots of sports facilities, it makes sense financially to find a hotel that includes them in the cost rather than paying extra each time.  Also remember some all-inclusives only include local spirits rather than premium brands – so if you like a particular brand of whisky or vodka, go for a hotel that includes premium brands or you’ll pay extra.

Don’t just decide on a board basis by looking at the cost.  Look at all the aspects of your holiday – are you going to do lots of sports?  Drink a lot?  Eat lots of ice-cream?  So much to consider – but I can make it easy for you, but finding out from you what is important on holiday and then choosing hotels that will fit this.

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