Last Updated on: 14th June 2024, 12:58 am

Half board is a popular meal plan featured by many hotels and other accommodation establishments. This plan typically includes two meals per day—breakfast and either lunch or dinner—offering travelers flexibility and convenience. The term “board” has historical roots, referring to the physical board used as a table in old European inns where both lodging and meals were provided. Today, half board catering continues this tradition, adapting to meet the preferences and needs of modern travelers.

Key Takeaways

  • Half board meal plans usually include two meals: breakfast and dinner or lunch.
  • This option is ideal for guests who spend most of their day exploring the destination.
  • “Board” originates from historical European inns providing tables for meals.
  • Today’s hotels offer a variety of meal plans, including half board, based on guests’ needs.
  • Half board packages can help hotels drive additional revenue, especially during holidays.1

Understanding Half Board: An Overview

The half board definition typically includes two meals per day, with breakfast being a common component1. This structure is appealing for guests who plan to spend most of their day exploring and then return to their accommodation for a relaxing dinner1. Historically, meal plans have been an integral part of European inns, where providing lodging with meals was standard practice.

Definition of Half Board

A half board package generally includes two meals per day, often breakfast and dinner, but some hotels offer flexibility to swap dinner for lunch upon the guest’s request2. This meal plan offers an affordable choice for budget-conscious travelers who prefer a structured dining option without the cost of a la carte meals2.

Why Hotels Offer Half Board

Offering a half board vacation package allows hotels to cater to various guest preferences while managing operational costs effectively. Hotels can drive additional revenue by providing flexible dining options and beverage packages, especially during peak seasons like Christmas or Valentine’s Day weekends1. This setup also works well for business travelers attending multi-day events1. Moreover, dine-in options such as snack menus can enhance the guest experience, leading to higher satisfaction and potential upselling opportunities.

What Does Half Board Mean?

benefits of half board accommodation

A half board accommodation plan is a popular option for travelers seeking convenience and flexibility in their dining choices. This plan generally includes two meals per day: breakfast and either lunch or dinner. Dinner is more commonly offered as the second meal, giving guests the chance to explore local eateries during the day while still benefiting from a substantial evening meal at the hotel23.

Meals Included in Half Board

Most half board accommodations present breakfast and dinner to their guests, with many hotels opting for a buffet-style setup. This format allows for a variety of food choices, catering to diverse dietary needs and preferences4. Breakfast typically includes a range of drinks like coffee, tea, and juice, which are included in the plan3. Opting for a buffet also means guests have the opportunity to try different cuisines and dishes throughout their stay, enhancing the overall dining experience.

What is Typically Excluded

While breakfast beverages are usually included in the half board meal plan, drinks with the other meal, whether lunch or dinner, often require an additional payment or may come under separate drink packages. This enables guests to customize their dining experience according to their preferences and budget2. Extra services such as snacks and room service are not typically covered under a half board package, offering guests the flexibility to indulge in these extras when desired, often for an additional cost. Understanding these exclusions helps travelers better plan their budget and manage expectations during their stay.

Half Board vs Full Board: Key Differences

half board vs full board

The primary distinction between half board and full board lies in the number of meals provided each day. Half board typically includes two meals: breakfast and dinner, making it a popular choice for those who wish to explore the destination during the day and return for an evening meal12. Conversely, full board covers all three main meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner, catering to those who prefer to stay within the hotel’s premises throughout the day12.

Hotels often offer a variety of board packages, including beverage packages or the option to take meals to go, to cater to different guest preferences and enhance their experience1. Both half board and full board have their unique advantages and cater to different types of travelers’ needs.

Number of Meals Provided

In a half board plan, guests enjoy two meals per day, which are usually breakfast and dinner, often served buffet-style2. This meal plan is perfect for individuals who plan to spend their days outside the hotel, exploring local attractions and coming back only for breakfast and dinner. On the other hand, a full board plan includes three meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—offering a more convenient option for those who prefer staying within the hotel and minimizing travel outside12.

Benefits for Different Types of Travelers

Each board plan has its own set of benefits tailored to different traveler needs. The half board benefits cater to those budget-conscious travelers who prefer to spend their day exploring and only need meals to start and end their day2. It is typically more affordable than ordering meals a la carte from the hotel, offering substantial value2. In contrast, full board offers three meals, providing a hassle-free experience for those who want to relax at the hotel without worrying about meal arrangements throughout the day12.

  • Half Board vs Full Board: Two meals (half board) vs. three meals (full board)
  • Half Board Benefits: Ideal for explorers, cost-effective
  • Full Board Benefits: Perfect for on-site relaxation, all-inclusive meal arrangements

In summary, choosing between half board vs. full board depends on individual preferences and travel plans. Guests who enjoy venturing out during the day might prefer the flexibility of half board, while those looking for a more relaxed, all-inclusive experience may lean towards full board. Hotels’ wide range of board packages ensures that there is something suitable for every type of traveler, enhancing overall guest satisfaction and experience.

Feature Half Board Full Board
Meals Included Breakfast, Dinner Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cost More Affordable Higher
Ideal For Explorers Relaxers
Meal Flexibility Less Flexible More Flexible

Half Board Meal Options

half board meal options

The variety of meal offerings with a half board plan can significantly enhance your stay by meeting different dietary needs and preferences. Typically, a half board menu includes two meals per day, generally breakfast and dinner, providing a balanced option without overwhelming guests with constant meal service2. This is perfect for travelers who prefer to explore their destination during lunch hours.

Guests can usually expect buffet-style meals for both breakfast and dinner, allowing for a broader range of food choices. However, many establishments also offer set menu options, providing more tailored dishes. Flexibility is a key feature of half board packages, with some hotels permitting a swap from dinner to lunch, extending the convenience for those with varying daily schedules.

“The wide array of half board menu options can cater to diverse culinary tastes. From continental breakfasts to multi-course dinners, there’s something for everyone.”

Beyond the standard meals, some hotels accommodate special dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options. This adaptability makes half board a popular choice among diverse groups of travelers. The flexibility in half board menu options means that even those with strict dietary needs can find suitable meals without compromising their preferences.

Another significant aspect is the relative affordability of half board packages. Generally, these options are cheaper than full board plans, which cover all three meals, yet still provide substantial value2.

The Benefits of Choosing Half Board

When selecting accommodation for your vacation, half board offers substantial advantages in terms of convenience and affordability. This popular meal plan includes two meals per day, typically breakfast and either lunch or dinner. Whether you’re exploring new destinations or enjoying hotel amenities, having two main meals covered simplifies meal planning and lets you focus more on enjoying your trip1.


One of the key benefits of opting for a half board plan is the convenience it provides. Often, these meals are served as buffets or set menus with multiple course options, allowing guests to have a variety of choices1. This flexibility makes it easier to manage your daily itinerary without stressing about finding places to eat. For many travelers, the predictability of knowing two meals are sorted offers peace of mind.


Half board packages are also highly flexible, accommodating different travel styles and preferences. For those who want to immerse themselves in local culinary experiences, half board allows the freedom to dine out for one meal, while benefiting from the convenience of in-hotel dining for the others1. This arrangement caters to budget-conscious travelers, often costing less than full board while still offering considerable value1.

Overall, the advantages of half board, combined with its flexibility, make it an appealing choice for both adventurous travelers and those seeking a relaxed, well-planned vacation. Explore further details on how half board compares to other meal plans in this helpful overview on half board vs full board.


What does half board mean?

Half board is a meal plan offered by accommodations that includes two meals per day, usually breakfast and either lunch or dinner.

What meals are included in a half board meal plan?

A half board meal plan typically includes breakfast and either dinner or lunch, with dinner being the more common offering.

What is excluded from a half board meal plan?

Drinks are generally only included at breakfast. For the other meal, beverages are usually not included and may require additional payment.

What is the definition of half board?

The term half board refers to a meal plan that includes two meals per day—breakfast and either lunch or dinner.

Why do hotels offer half board?

Hotels offer half board to cater to various guest needs, provide convenience, and manage operational costs effectively.

What is the difference between half board and full board?

Half board includes two meals per day (usually breakfast and dinner), while full board includes all three main meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How does half board benefit different types of travelers?

Half board is great for travelers who want the flexibility to explore local dining options or spend more time outside the hotel, while full board suits those who prefer to stay at the hotel and not worry about meal planning.

What meal options are available with half board?

Typically, hotels offer buffet-style meals for breakfast and dinner but can also provide set menu options and allow switching dinner for lunch.

What are the primary benefits of choosing half board?

The main benefits include convenience and affordability. Without the need to plan for two meals a day, guests can enjoy peace of mind and flexibility in their daily activities.

How does half board offer flexibility to travelers?

Half board gives travelers the freedom to experience local cuisines for one main meal while ensuring the predictability and convenience of hotel dining for the other.

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