All Inclusive Holidays – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There is a section of globetrotting society that holds the idea of an all-inclusive holiday with utter distain. It is quite likely that a similar proportion of the travelling fraternity feel the same about backpacking. Well, we’re not here to take sides – instead here are the pros and cons of going on an all inclusive holiday, plus some home truths anyone should consider before booking a break away.

Hotel Drinks Image by Engin Akyurt CC0

Image by Engin Akyurt CC0

The GOOD – Pros of all-inclusive holidays

Great if you have a budget to stick to

Price includes travel, accommodation, food and drink, which means all you have to think about, is what to pack and remember to take a bit of spending money if you want to buy gifts for folks back home.

Easy to arrange

You don’t have to deal with arranging flights and transfers – once you have booked your holiday, everything is already arranged for you.

Easy to book excursions

The tour operator will have all the information you need to explore the area and will offer an easy booking system. These packages usually make sure that you are collected and dropped back at your hotel too.

Discounts and deals are common

Tour operators don’t want empty seats on planes and often have kids go free deals to help families get away at what is a notoriously expensive time of year.


Whilst the entertainment on offer might not be to everyone’s taste, there is usually plenty to do. Facilities often include games rooms, swimming pools, tennis courts, crazy golf and a variety of local acts putting on a show for guests each night.

Great for family holidays

With all the food, drink and entertainment you want, and often with crèche facilities too – all inclusive holidays are a child friendly option for holidaymakers. If you are not travelling with your clan in tow however, this could be considered a detrimental to a break abroad.

Pool View Image by Robin Smith CC0

Image by Robin Smith CC0

The BAD – Cons of a package holiday

Lack of culture

Some destinations encourage holidaymakers to stay well within the walls of a resort, and many resorts are a long way from local life and attractions, which makes getting to grips with the culture of your chosen destination rather tricky.

Lack of choice

From what to eat to things to do, an all inclusive break is synonymous with monotony. If boredom (or taking the opportunity to relax and do nothing) is a problem, make sure you choose a resort that is near bars, restaurants and local attractions.

Noisy and busy

With free child places on most packages, there is no denying that resorts are often packed with families, bringing all the noise that comes with them. This can be said of plenty of places in the height of the holiday season though, but there are resorts that are exclusive to adults only, the other option is to go off-peak.

Poor quality food and drink

Stories of watered down alcohol and cardboard food are often features of low quality hotels – not part and parcel of a package holiday. All inclusive guests are served the same goods as cash paying guests, but don’t expect the Courvoisier to be part of the deal, you will have to pay extra!

Buffet Bowl Image by Engin Akyurt CC0

Image by Engin Akyurt CC0

The UGLY – The truth about booking all-inclusive holidays

It s not necessarily all inclusive that is at fault here, it is the packages that people choose don’t suit the type of holiday they would like to go on. If you want action, adventure, going off the beaten track – then a package holiday is going to leave you feeling somewhat deflated.

There is also some truth in you get what you pay for. An all inclusive package holiday at a 6 star couples-only hotel with be closer to some people’s idea of paradise than a lower star beachside resort in the summer holidays aimed at entertaining families.

If you want to make sure you book the package holiday of your dreams – read our recent article:  How To Get The Most form an All-Inclusive Package Holiday!

New Zealand Beach - Safe Holiday Destinations

Image by Lars_Nissen_Photoart CC0

What’s the worst that could happen?

With any luck, just the fact that your all-inclusive holiday didn’t live up to your expectations – but sadly much worse can happen on a trip abroad.

Whilst travel insurance can’t turn a disappointing break into a holiday of a lifetime, it can help should something go wrong while you are away. From losing a passport, missing a flight, your luggage getting lost, or even needing medical help and repatriation – travel insurance can have you covered. To find out more check out our range of travel insurance policies at!

This article was originally published in May 2015. The images and content have been updated.

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