All-inclusive holidays are commonly perceived to be bargains – but research has revealed that families may end up spending up to 85 per cent more than those on bed and breakfast deals in the same resort, new research has found.
This is because over four in five pay out for extras averaging over £407, which inflates the cost of their all-inclusive package.
The study projected this overspend pattern onto 10 European resorts and found that in Sliema, Malta, the all-inclusive holiday total would be a whopping £1,859.50 more than the B&B total for a family of four, assuming the latter eats out at local restaurants.
According to research an all-inclusive break in Sliema, Malta, may end up being £1,859.50 more expensive than a B&B deal
It put the all-inclusive total for Sliema at £4,045.83 compared with a B&B cost of £2,186.33.
The figures are based on a Populus poll for Post Office Travel Money, which interviewed 713 people who had taken an all-inclusive holiday in the past five years.
It found that holidaymakers are shelling out extra money on bottled water, branded drinks and a la carte dining in hotels as well as for drinks and food in local restaurants and bars.
The Turkish resort of Marmaris was also used to illustrate how all-inclusive breaks can be more expensive if families splash out on extras.
A week’s B&B there cost £1,462.67 compared with £2,679.43 for all-inclusive, making the all-inclusive option 83 per cent more expensive.
The study projected the all-inclusive overspend pattern it discovered in its poll onto 10 European resorts
There were big savings in two of the leading family favourites as well.
In the Costa del Sol, going B&B saved £341 or 17 per cent, while B&B in the Algarve saved £665, slashing a third (33 per cent) off the all-inclusive holiday cost.
The smallest gain was in Majorca, where B&B cut just 1.9 per cent (£43) off the cost of an all-inclusive holiday.
Based on its consumer research and pricing comparisons, Post Office Travel Money says the only way to make a saving on an all-inclusive holiday is to stick strictly to the package and avoid all extra spending.
When the Post Office compared the cost of an all-inclusive package without any additional spending with B&B including resort restaurant meals, it found that prices for all-inclusive trips were one to 16 per cent cheaper in six of 10 destinations.
Thrifty all-inclusive holidaymakers could save £365 (16 per cent) if they spent nothing at all on top of their paid-for-package in Majorca. The savings were smaller in Cyprus (six per cent, £148), Crete (five per cent, £108), Costa del Sol (three per cent, £66), Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (three per cent, £49) and Costa Blanca (one per cent, £24).
Despite the high levels of overspending, the Post Office research found that most all-inclusive holidaymakers like the experience.
Only five per cent said they would not go again and 44 per cent did not dislike anything about their all-inclusive holiday.
But just why are holidaymakers spending more on extras in all-inclusive resorts?
MailOnline Travel put that question to two psychologists.
Dr Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, Reader in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, said that some are adopting a ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ attitude.
She said: ‘Even though there will undoubtedly be many treats included in their all-inclusive package they will not necessarily perceive them as such as all people on the holiday are having the same thing. Thus they will go in search of additional items that they can consume to make them feel as if they are having something special, such as a nice meal that is not included or a meal in a restaurant that only serves paying customers.
An all-inclusive seven day break in the Turkish resort of Marmaris, pictured, for a family of four costs £2,679.43 in total. Going B&B and eating out at local restaurants in the same resort is 83 per cent cheaper at £1,462.67, according to the Post Office Travel Money study
‘Purchasing additional items can also make consumers feel a little “superior” to the other people on holiday. It makes them feel special as they socially compare themselves – something humans do all the time – to the others on holiday. When you can engage in what is known as downward social comparison – when people are perceived as inferior to you – it boosts your self-esteem.’
Dr. Paul Marsden, a consumer psychologist at University of the Arts London, said a ‘seize the day’ mentally is also at work.
He said: ‘It’s something I call the “carpe diem effect”. When we’re on holiday we tend to live in the moment and this “present bias” can make us more impulsive in what we do and how we spend. Specifically, our “seize the day” holiday mind-set biases us towards immediate rewards and can blind us to money that we may have already spent when booking the holiday back home. All we see is the immediate upgrade or “extras” cost and because that doesn’t look particularly expensive in isolation, we end up willingly spending the extra money.
Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, said: ‘Since over four-in-five families paid for extras while on an all-inclusive holiday, the best advice is not to get caught without the cash to cover these additional costs. On average most of these families will pay well over £400 extra during their holiday so they should budget carefully in advance of travel and be prepared.’