The travel industry has its jargon. Perhaps going through all the jargon in the industry deserves an article on its own. For now, we will be delving into the terms used to describe the various meal plans at hotels and which option one should go for during different kinds of vacations or stays at hotels.

Quick Definitions

Bed-only: pretty self-explanatory. In this meal plan, if it can be called so, one only pays for accommodation at a hotel.

Bed & Breakfast: this meal plan includes accommodation and breakfast.

Half Board: accommodation, breakfast, and dinner. It may also include afternoon tea and bitings.

Full Board: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just as with the Half Board meal plan, a Full Board meal plan may also include afternoon tea and bitings.

All-inclusive: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Some clients mistakenly think an all-inclusive package also includes transport or that once one pays for such a package, there will be no additional costs. All-inclusive simply refers to the meal plan and nothing else. Some hotels may include non-motorized watersports in an all-inclusive package but that’s about it.

Which Meal Plan Should You Go For?

Bed-only and Bed & Breakfast

It’s hard to make a case for the bed-only option. In fact, most hotels, especially top-tier hotels, do not have this option. This option seems to be a reserve for lodgings and roadside motels. Bed & Breakfast is a viable option for business travelers who mostly need a place to sleep, have breakfast, and be off to a conference or other business event. International packages also feature the Bed & Breakfast option a lot seeing that most days spent on an international trip are spent on excursions. As such, more often than not one ends up grabbing food along the way during the excursions. Lastly, the Bed & Breakfast option presents an affordable way of staying at a presumably expensive hotel as adding lunch, dinner and other meal offerings usually drives up costs significantly.

Half Board

The Half Board meal plan is quite popular, perhaps rivaled only by the All-inclusive meal plan. We’ll see why in a bit. Firstly, just as with the Bed & Breakfast option, the Half Board meal plan is a way to reduce cost. Secondly, one may be planning to spend one’s days exploring outside the hotel and may deem it inconvenient to keep returning to the hotel just for lunch. Finally, some people just do not need that much food in a day and so two meals serve them well.

Full Board

The Full Board meal plan is sort of like the middle child, easy to look over. No offense to middle children. The reason for this is the fact that most people who want all three meals per day are further enticed by the All-inclusive meal plan. I’m already paying for the three meals. I might as well add a little extra money and get the snacks and drinks. On the other hand, the Full Board meal plan can prove to be too expensive leaving clients to opt for the Half Board meal plan. The average supplement from Half Board to Full Board at most Kenyan hotels is KES 2,500 to KES 4,500 per person per day. The Full Board meal plan feels like an uncomfortable middle caught between two enticing offers; Half Board and All-inclusive. In fact, most hotels that offer an All-inclusive meal plan do not offer a Full Board meal plan. They skip it entirely and the next offering is usually a Half Board meal plan.


Finally, the big kahuna, the All-inclusive meal plan. The All-inclusive meal plan is arguably the most popular meal plan in Kenya, especially on the coast so much so that there are hotels that only offer this meal plan. Baobab Beach Resort & Spa is dubbed Kenya’s best all-inclusive resort and does not even offer any other meal plan. Usually, it’s one price to cater for all your meal requirements. That and the fact that the snacks in all-inclusive meal plans are things like fries, pizza slices, burgers, etc. These are food items that would be considered a complete meal at many restaurants. Furthermore, there are selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from. Three days at an all-inclusive resort is enough to gain weight. The All-inclusive meal plan is ideal for people in full vacation mode. Such people do not want to worry about a thing for the entirety of their vacation. Their biggest headache is deciding between a pizza slice and a burger.

What meal plan suits you?


Half Board includes two meals. One of the meals is breakfast and the other meal can be either lunch or dinner. Some hotels may include afternoon tea and bitings in a Half Board meal plan

No, they are not. Drinks are usually only included in an all-inclusive meal plan. However, some hotels may include a glass of juice or soda during meals even on a Half Board meal plan.

Half Board refers to a meal plan at a hotel or resort that includes two meals, that is, breakfast and either lunch or dinner. Full Board includes breakfast, lunch & dinner.

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