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Self-Catering or Half-Board! Which is best?

holidayhotelsSelf-catering conjures up an image of all the freedom you need on holiday – but half-board can offer the best of both worlds as it usually involves breakfast and an evening meal or lunch.

Budget is often the main consideration when choosing a board basis for your holiday. Self-catering apartments tend to be much cheaper than hotels – although some 5-star apartments can be just as pricey, but offer excellent dining venues at the holiday complex, which can suit couples or singles looking for freedom in a more exclusive environment.

For families, choosing self-catering can mean being able to cater for the kids’ own tastes in food – and this can be crucial for breastfeeding mums who need to stick to a feeding regime.

Self-catering means you can also eat when you feel like it and are not tied to set meal times – anyone who has regularly missed breakfast at their hotel might consider this option, for example!

If you choose self-catering accommodation – whether an apartment, caravan, holiday chalet, or tent – it is vital that you make sure the cooking equipment and boiler or water heater in your accommodation has been serviced properly, as cooking and heating water can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if equipment has not been cleaned and serviced. Even using camping gas outside but near the entrance to a tent, caravan or holiday flat could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, so check out the maintenance standards and health and safety before you book.

Half-board can really give holidaymakers the best of both worlds: if you are happy to eat a light lunch, which is often advisable in hot countries – and prefer to fill up at breakfast and dinner on your half-board plan, you can budget for your self-bought meals and snacks more easily. This may suit you if you like to spend your days either by the pool, or out and about, without worrying about heading off to the dining room or the resort centre in search of a meal.

Stocking up on calories with a healthy breakfast at your hotel – eating lightly during the day – and using your half-board allowance for your evening meal can often be the best meal plan to choose if you want a more active holiday or more choice about when, what and where you eat.

Before you book half-board, make sure you know the standard of meals offered, however – sometimes an à la carte menu may not be the same standard as à la carte in the UK, which can be disappointing.

An evening meal for half-board might also just consist of the same buffet served to all-inclusive holidaymakers at your hotel – and all-inclusive buffets are sometimes a breeding ground for E.coli and salmonella infections because so many people are dining from them and using the same serving spoons, or food is undercooked or is reheated and served the next day.

Booking half-board and then having to dine out to make sure you eat well at meal time is not a good economy, so check standards of meals served by logging on to websites like Tripadvisor for candid reviews from holidaymakers before you book half-board at your chosen hotel.

Peter Anderson - I love to blog about holiday destinations. I also enjoy writing about holidaymakers experiences Google+

One Response to “Self-Catering or Half-Board! Which is best?”

  • After a year of getting to bed at a reasonable hour, then falling out of bed, breakfasting and joining the rush-hour queues so you can get to work on time, surely when you go on your annual holiday you don’t want to have to set your clock to someone else’s timetable. You want to be able to go to bed when you want, get up when you want, breakfast at your leisure and if you feel like it, but only of you feel like it, step outside the door and see what’s cooking in the world out there.

    I’ve tried full board and half-board, hotels and B&B, but whenever I stay in any of these I always feel slightly pressured to conform. To be on time for breakfast, to be sharp for dinner and in a B&B to be back before they lock the front door; conforming to someone else’s timetable. That’s why for me self-catering is always the way to go!

    Staying in a self-catering holiday home is much more relaxed and personal. This is your holiday, you do what you want, when you want, when and if you feel like it. After all, that’s what holidays are for! No pressure, no rush, no fuss!