WHEN booking your next holiday, one often tricky option to choose between is whether to go for a self-catering package or an all-inclusive package.

Choosing the cheapest option while also making sure it works best for the everyone's dining preferences is a difficult one for sure.

All-inclusive is often favoured as an easy way to avoid planning for food and drink, while self-catering is preferred to save the pennies and avoid fussy eaters complaining.

Sun Online Travel has made a useful list of pros and cons pitting self-catering against all-inclusive, taking into consideration cost, freedom, and the logistics of it all.



The worry and hassle that goes into planning a holiday can grind the best of gears.

From wondering where to go and how you’ll travel, to when and what you’ll do, it can be stressful enough – not to mention what you’ll eat.

This can all be easily avoided by choosing an all-inclusive holiday.

Allow a calm and exciting build-up to your holiday, safe in the knowledge that everything is booked and already paid for.


An all-inclusive holiday does what it says on the tin. Once booked and paid for, everything is included in the price.

With all-inclusive deals, you needn’t worry about how much each drink costs, or how grand the grand total will be when you come to check out.

You can, quite simply, leave your wallet in your hotel safe, because you won’t be needing it on an all-inclusive holiday.

You’ll also never go hungry with the endless buffets serving everything and anything from fish and chips to tapas, pizza to mezzes.


Most all-inclusive resorts will have a comprehensive activities program, which means adults can unwind and take a break while the little ones have rip-roaring fun, all under the watchful eye of the animation team or childcare staff.

Kids’ clubs will have your cherubs joining in with football, volleyball, water sports, arts and crafts, and cooking activities while meeting children their own age, interacting and making friends all day.

Meet new people

You’ll be in a complex with other tourists, so making new friends is almost inevitable. With so many free activities to try, sharing your experience with others is easy, and you’ll be best buds with your fellow water aerobics buddies and karaoke singers before you know it.

Just don’t expect Colin from the samba class to be your best mate when you get back to the UK and you realise you have nothing in common whatsoever!


Although self-catering can sometimes be a cheaper option, your all-inclusive holiday means as everything is already paid for, the only thing you need to worry about spending money on are the presents for loved ones, and yourself!

With everything paid for up front, you can treat yourself to all the luxuries the resort offers. As much wine and beer as you want? Pudding every night? Well, when in Rome.

Plus, all-inclusive resorts don’t just provide activities for the children, you can join in with as much or as little as you’d like.

There’ll be water sports, and swimming pool classes, games and bikes to hire, so there’ll be plenty to get involved in should you wish. And no extra charge there either!


Money saver

Travelling on a self-catering basis allows you complete freedom, and can often save a hunk of money, too.

Dining out and eating in the hotel can end up costing a lot, whereas with self-catering, you can buy and cook on your own terms.

If you’re in self-catered accommodation, purchasing ingredients from local shops and cooking dinner will save you loads of money, plus you’ll get to try the best local delicacies and foods.

Groups can often benefit from choosing to self-cater, not only can you make as much noise as you like without needing to worry about fellow hotel guests, but mass catering is always a savvy way to go.

By renting a villa for a group price, it works out far cheaper per head than individual hotel rooms, all-inclusive or not.


You’re more likely to explore your surroundings and get to know the culture of the area, rather than restricting yourselves to the activities of the hotel or resort.

A self-catering package means you won’t feel obliged to eat dinner in the hotel every night, leaving you free to explore the local restaurants and cafés.

Self-catering also ensures meals you know you’re going to love, plus you can eat as and when you like, without breaking normal home routines.

So if the kids are sleepy but you’re not hungry, they can have tea and off to bed, leaving you to an evening by yourselves – candlelit dinner by the pool? Don’t mind if we do!


Cook in the buff if that’s your thing, who’s to know! There’s no need to worry about the surrounding hotel rooms, because you’ve got your own space entirely.

A fully-equipped kitchen is yours to use, and self-catered accommodation often comes with a private garden, and even a swimming pool, so you’ll never have to worry about bagging a sunbed spot in the morning.

Plus, you don’t even need to worry about tidying up the kids’ toys or the laundry (there’s often a washing machine, too), as with self-catered accommodation, there’s more than enough room to move.


Unless you’re willing to have an absolute splurge, hotel rooms tend to follow the same theme. Your own private accommodation gives you a furnished house or villa with a lot more room, rather than a hotel complex, allowing for quality family time.

Both self-catered and all-inclusive holidays are beneficial in their own ways, and it completely depends on what you want out of your holiday.

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All-inclusive fans should be warned however, as a report found guests can over indulge with more than 5,500 calories a day thanks to the abundance of food and drink.

However, bargain deals which include all meals and alcoholic beverages can still be found with a seven-day all-inclusive trip to Majorca just £189 per person.

Self-catered holiday fans can save even more with £99 holidays to Europe such as seven nights in Corfu.

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