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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Understanding Half Board: The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Board Packages

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When planning a trip, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make is where to stay. But it’s not just about picking a hotel; it’s also about choosing the right board package. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer, understanding the difference between half board and other board options can significantly impact your travel experience.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore what half board means, the benefits of booking a half board package, and how it compares to full board and all-inclusive options. So, if you’re looking to save money without compromising on quality or if you want the freedom to explore local cuisine without being tied to your hotel during the day, this article is for you.

What Exactly is Half Board?

When it comes to hotel stays, half board is a term you’ll often encounter. But what does it mean? Simply put, a half board package includes two meals a day, usually breakfast and dinner. This allows you the freedom to explore or work during the day without worrying about rushing back to the hotel for lunch.

In contrast, a full board includes all three main meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then there’s the all-inclusive package, which covers not just meals but also snacks and often drinks and other amenities. 

Benefits of Booking Half Board

Choosing a half board package comes with several advantages:

  • Convenience: Your breakfast and dinner are taken care of.
  • Affordability: It’s often cheaper than going a la carte for every meal.
  • Flexibility: You’re free to explore local eateries for your remaining meal.


Imagine not having to scour Yelp or TripAdvisor every morning and evening to find a place to eat. With half board, you start and end your day with a guaranteed meal, allowing you to focus on your daytime adventures.


If you’re travelling on a budget, half board can be a cost-effective option. You’ll have two meals covered, which often ends up being cheaper than if you were to dine a la carte for every meal.


Half board strikes a balance, offering you two meals at the hotel while leaving you the freedom to explore local cuisine for the remaining meal. It’s the best of both worlds!

Half Board vs Full Board: The Key Differences

CriteriaHalf BoardFull Board
Meals IncludedBreakfast and DinnerBreakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Price: Half board is generally more affordable, but you’ll have to sort out one meal yourself, which could either save you money or end up being an additional cost, depending on where you choose to eat.

Flexibility: Half board offers more freedom, allowing you to try local cuisine without being tied to the hotel for all meals. Full board is more restrictive but can be convenient for those who prefer to stay in the same place.

For a more detailed comparison, check out this comprehensive guide.

How to Book a Half Board Package

Booking a half board package is usually straightforward, but there are some things you should consider to ensure you’re making the most of your stay.

Steps to Book

  1. Search for Hotels: Use a reliable hotel booking website and filter options by ‘Half Board’.
  2. Read Reviews: Check out guest reviews focusing on the quality of meals and service.
  3. Check Meal Times: Some hotels have fixed meal times, so make sure they align with your schedule.
  4. Make the Booking: Once satisfied, proceed to book your half board package.

Things to Consider

  • Dining Options: Does the hotel offer a buffet or a la carte options?
  • Meal Swaps: Some hotels allow you to swap dinner for lunch.
  • Special Requirements: If you have dietary restrictions, check if the hotel can accommodate them.

Board and All Inclusive: What’s the Difference?

While half board includes two meals, all-inclusive packages go the extra mile. They include all meals, snacks, and often even drinks and activities. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Meals: All-inclusive covers all meals, while half board includes just breakfast and dinner.
  • Snacks and Drinks: Included in all-inclusive, not in half board.
  • Activities: Often included in all-inclusive packages.

For travelers who want a completely hassle-free vacation, all-inclusive might be the way to go. However, if you like exploring and trying local delicacies, half board gives you that freedom.

Additional Board Packages You Should Know

Besides half board and full board, there are other board options you might encounter:

  • Bed and Breakfast: Only breakfast is included.
  • Room-only: No meals are included.
  • Self-catering: No meals, but kitchen facilities are provided.

Each of these options has its own set of pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your travel needs and preferences.

Tips for Maximizing Your Half Board Experience

To make the most of your half board booking, consider the following tips:

  • Check Meal Times: Some hotels have strict meal times. Make sure they align with your plans.
  • Local Cuisine: Use your free meal time to explore local eateries.
  • Special Requests: Don’t hesitate to make special meal requests at the hotel; most are happy to accommodate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Half Board

Does half board include drinks?

No, the half board typically includes only breakfast and dinner. Drinks are usually not included and come at an additional cost unless specified otherwise by the hotel.

Can I switch dinner for lunch in a half board package?

This varies from hotel to hotel. Some establishments allow you to swap dinner for lunch, but it’s best to check with the hotel in advance to confirm their policy.

What does HB mean in hotel booking?

HB stands for Half Board. When you see this term in hotel booking, it indicates that the package includes two meals—usually breakfast and dinner.

Is it cheaper to book half board in advance or at the hotel?

Booking half board in advance is generally cheaper and more convenient, as it guarantees your meals for the duration of your stay. However, some hotels may offer last-minute deals, so it’s worth checking both options.

What’s the difference between half board and ‘bed and breakfast’?

Bed and breakfast includes only the first meal of the day—breakfast. Half board includes two meals, usually breakfast and dinner, offering a more comprehensive dining experience.

Are special dietary requirements accommodated in half board packages?

Most hotels are willing to accommodate special dietary requirements, but it’s advisable to inform the hotel in advance to ensure they can meet your needs.

Can I upgrade from half board to full board during my stay?

Yes, many hotels allow you to upgrade your board package, but this will come at an additional cost and is subject to availability.

Do children get a discount on half board packages?

Many hotels offer discounted rates for children, but the age requirements and discount percentages vary. It’s best to check with the hotel for specific details.


Choosing a half board package can offer a balanced mix of convenience and freedom, making it an excellent value for money. Whether you’re a foodie who loves to explore local cuisine or someone looking to save money without skimping on quality, half board could be your ideal choice.

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Ready to book your next half board holiday? Don’t wait! And if you found this guide helpful, feel free to share it or leave a comment below.

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