More than three-quarters of UK holidaymakers who chose to go All Inclusive ended up paying for extras they expected to be covered within the package price, according to the latest research by Post Office Travel Money.
The Post Office All Inclusive Holiday Report revealed that over 14 million
holidaymakers paid extra for items that included international alcoholic and soft drink brands, bottles of wine, bottled water, cocktails, internet access and a la carte meals.
And, although 88 per cent of holidaymakers expected all meals to be included, a Post Office survey of 40 hotels in 20 destinations worldwide5 found that only a third included a la carte dining, some because they only offered buffet meals, others because they charged guests extra to eat in a la carte restaurants.
As a result, one in six of the All Inclusive holidaymakers who took part in the study – three million people – collectively paid £76.8 million (based on an average of £25.72 each) for meal choice.
While meals were the biggest expense, the study revealed that extra charges for a range of drinks also cost millions more pounds.
Internet access was another anomaly. 43 per cent of the survey sample thought free access would be available but fewer than half (48 per cent) of hotels included this in their packages. As a result, 26 per cent (4.85 million people) paid out to use the internet. Based on an average one hour charge of £4.68, Post
Office Travel Money calculated that this would add £22.7 million to the holiday bill for these people.
Andrew Brown, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “All Inclusive holidays are definitely on the increase, especially in Europe, which, according to our research, now accounts for two-thirds of All Inclusive trips by UK holidaymakers.
“However, as the numbers rise, so do expectations and in almost every cost category that we looked at the All Inclusive offer made by hotels fell short of what holidaymakers expected.
This may explain why although it is possible not to spend any extra on an All Inclusive holiday, we found that less than a quarter of holidaymakers did so.
“Quality is an issue for many people. When we asked for comments about All
Inclusive experiences – particularly food, the quality ratings were much higher for long haul resorts than for European ones.
Brown went on to offer advice for holidaymakers planning to take the All Inclusive option.
He said: “Since most people pay for extras, the important thing is to carry enough foreign currency to cover items that are excluded from All Inclusive packages as this will save paying bank transfer charges on card transactions. Before booking an All Inclusive holiday, check carefully to see what is included and plan expenditure accordingly.
Change money before leaving home to avoid poor airport rates and hidden charges for using ATMs abroad, particularly for debit cards. Instead load cash for unforeseen costs onto a pre-paid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card Plus.”