Do all-inclusive holidays really save you money?

Do all-inclusive holidays really save you money? Only if you don't leave the resort
Do all-inclusive holidays really save you money? Only if you don't leave the resort

All-inclusive holidays now account for almost half of all package holiday bookings - but will they really save you money? The answer is yes, sometimes - but only if you don't leave the resort.

If you are going to take an all-inclusive holiday this year, the best places to do so are Majorca, Marmaris and Crete. But think twice before booking all-inclusive in Spain and Malta.

See also: Spanish hotels to scrap all-inclusives for Brits?

See also: Spain is 'the best holiday destination in the world'

Post Office Travel Money has conducted its latest research into all-inclusive holidays to establish whether families travelling to Europe and further afield really do save money by going all-inclusive or whether they might be better off opting for a B&B package and eating out in local resorts.

In Europe the Post Office compared the cost in 10 destinations and found that families can save up to 27% - as much as £500 – by going all-inclusive in six of the destinations surveyed but that's provided they stick rigidly to what's included in the all-inclusive package and spend nothing extra on meals and drinks.

However, almost two-thirds of families splash the cash and spend an average of £271 in local bars and restaurants – and once they do that, the only destinations where it will pay to go all-inclusive are Majorca, Marmaris and Crete.

For those going to Spain, it will always be better to go B&B and have the pick of the local restaurants and bars with savings of 29% or £465 in the Costa del Sol and 19% in the Costa Blanca with a saving of £344 over the AI price. Best of all, families travelling to Malta can save a third - £646 – on a one week holiday by going B&B and paying for meals rather than taking the all-inclusive route. And even if they spent nothing at all on top of an AI package they can save around 20% in Malta going B&B and over 12% in the Costa del Sol.

And that's without allowing for the extra £339 that almost half of families (45%) spend on meals and drinks in their AI hotels/resorts.

In the long haul market the amount spent by families on all-inclusive packages is even greater – 71% spend an average of £321 on food and drink items away from their resort while almost 3-in-5 splashed out an extra £442 on meals and drink inside their resorts, over and above the paid for package.

Will you be going all-inclusive this year?