Published on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Post Office explodes myth that all-inclusive offers best value

A survey by Post Office Travel Money has revealed that all-inclusive holidays work out more expensive in the vast majority of cases than bed and breakfast packages.

Out of 10 destinations surveyed, it found that all-inclusive packages were the cheaper option only in Majorca.

In all other countries, it claimed families would save money by opting for bed and breakfast accommodation and eating out.

In the survey, 36% of those who chose an all-inclusive for their last holiday said they did so because they thought it offered good value and they wouldn't need to take any extra spending money.

However, the Post Office found that families staying in an all-inclusive holidays spend an average of £431 extra in their hotels and in the local resorts, adding 14% to 21% to the overall cost of their holiday.

It found that 82% spend an average of £139.31 extra on meals, drinks and other items in their all-inclusive hotel and nine in 10 spend an average of £292 in European resorts and an average of more than £320 in far-flung resorts on food and drink outside their hotels.

When these additional costs were taken into consideration, it found that in nine out of 10 European destinations, families would have been better off if they'd bought a bed and breakfast package.

The biggest saving is in Turkey where an all-inclusive week in Marmaris for a family of four - including the additional cash they are likely to spend once on holiday - costs £2,771.55, whilst the total spent staying on a B&B basis is £1,563.38.

It claimed families could save £1,064.67 in Sorrento in Italy if they opt for a B&B package over all-inclusive, while in the Costa del Sol it claimed families could save more than 20% if they choose a B&B holiday over an all-inclusive.

While the B&B gains are lower in Crete, Costa Blanca, Bulgaria's Sunny Beach, Cyprus and Malta, they still provide savings of between £169 and £422, making the all-inclusive option up to 18% higher, said the Post Office.

"Even though the majority of holidaymakers choosing all-inclusive packages do so because they can be a great way to control spending on meals and drinks, the truth is that most people spend hundreds of extra pounds once they arrive in their all-inclusive resort," said Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money.

"This year's report found that the numbers splashing out on extras has risen for the eighth year running and while this may reflect a growing acceptance that all inclusive has its limits, the extra costs continue to catch people out. One-in-10 of the holidaymakers we spoke to expressed surprise at the prices they were charged for extras in their all inclusive hotel."

The research also found that while only 1% of families who had been all-inclusive before said they would not go again, 74% disliked some aspect of their trip.

The biggest gripe was about wi-fi as 49% complained about poor reception while 20% were annoyed by internet charges.

Another issue is the food boredom factor. A quarter complained about lack of food or restaurant choice while 22% disliked buffet food.

Andrew Brown said: "If you are going All Inclusive this year, do your homework and find out as exactly what is and what isn't included as soon as you arrive in your resort. Avoid falling into financial pitfalls like charges made for drinks late at night and limited periods when ice creams are free. Learn the rules of your resort and save yourself cash.

"If you are going to venture away from your hotel into local resorts, it is also important to factor in the costs you are likely to incur. Eating out in local resorts will offer a real flavour of the destination but it is best to be prepared and take enough foreign currency to cover the costs - particularly as some restaurants are reluctant to accept credit or debit cards.

"Our research found that only two-in-five families took enough cash with them and didn't have to change more money abroad. As a result, one-in-seven incurred extra charges for withdrawing cash at an ATM abroad and one-in-five incurred transaction charges when paying on plastic."

To arrive at its conclusions, Post Office Travel Money compared an average of the three cheapest seven-night B&B and all-inclusive holiday packages departing from London airports on July 28 and 29, as advertised by, except Sorrento, which was based on TUI and Thomas Cook prices.

It took the flight-inclusive package price for a family of four and added the average of £139.31 extra spent by 82% of families in their hotels and £292 spent by 90% on food and drink outside their hotels. To work out the total cost of a B&B holiday, it added the cost of meals and drinks for one week according to the Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer.

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