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The true cost of all-inclusive family holidays - and how you could save almost €500

Post Office Travel Money survey reveals hidden costs of all-inclusive holidays


Family holidays. Photo: Deposit

Family holidays. Photo: Deposit

Family holidays. Photo: Deposit

The value of all-inclusive holidays has been called into question after new research found that holidaymakers are spending more than ever on top of the cost of their package.

A study by the UK Post Office revealed that four out of five families spend extra in their resort - to the tune of €159 a week, on average - while nine out of 10 spend money in local shops and restaurants totalling, typically, €335.

Taken together, that adds up to almost €500 extra per week.

One of the key draws of an all-inclusive holiday is the promise of limited costs once abroad, but the study published this week found families can spend up to €843 more on trips, especially when it comes to long-haul destinations.

“This year’s report found that the number of families 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,” said Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money.

“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 Post Office polled more than 2,000 adults, a third of which were planning an all-inclusive trip this year, on their spending habits on holiday and found that families were spending on average €476 more in their hotels on top of the original cost, with the most going on cocktails, a la carte dining and additional alcoholic drinks.

Where do families spend extra on all-inclusive trips?

  • Bottled water: €25.57
  • Soft drinks: €70
  • Wine: €42
  • Other alcoholic drinks: €97.81
  • Cocktails: €49.93
  • Snacks: €52.70
  • A la carte dining: €76.88

Travel expert Sally Peck said all-inclusive trips are an opportunity to teach your children the value of money.

“I've never been on an all-inclusive holiday that didn't offer some chance to spend more, whether on top-line activities or better food - on or off-resort,” she said.

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“If you're determined not to, you'll have to steer clear of any on-site shops, and set clear parameters with your children ahead of time on which activities they can do. I usually give my children a modest amount of spending money before any trip - and then they have to budget their treats themselves: holiday and economics lesson in one.”

The Post Office compared the cost of a week’s all-inclusive family holiday with that of a bed-and-breakfast alternative in 10 destinations around Europe and found that only in Mallorca was the former cheaper.


Sea and sun: The resort of Palma de Mallorca in ever -popular Majorca

Sea and sun: The resort of Palma de Mallorca in ever -popular Majorca

Sea and sun: The resort of Palma de Mallorca in ever -popular Majorca

Marmaris, Turkey, was found to offer the greatest discrepancy between an all-inclusive stay and a B&B, with a gulf of more than €1,376. Sorrento in Italy, and the Algarve in Portugal, were also found to be much cheaper.

“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,” says Brown.

“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.”

NB: Euro/sterling conversions based on exchange rates as we publish.

Read more:

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]

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