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What exactly does "half board" mean.

British Columbia...
Level Contributor
269 posts
27 reviews
41 helpful votes
What exactly does "half board" mean.

Not entirely familiar with the half board concept but may have to decide whether to choose it or not. The price offered looks appealing, depending what is included.

I understand it includes room, breakfast and dinner. But are dinner drinks (i.e wine) included?. And is it usually at a fixed time? Will there be some menu choices or is it fully fixed? Or fully "a la carte"? Can one opt for "half board" for only part of the stay?

Visiting 8 days in September


Lytham St Anne's...
Destination Expert
for Malta
Level Contributor
14,770 posts
28 reviews
42 helpful votes
1. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

You are correct in saying that half board means Bed , Breakfast and Evening meal.

There will be tea or coffee with breakfast but not drinks with dinner.

It is not usually an exact fixed time but usually between certain hours ie 7.30 to 9.30 for breakfast and maybe 19.00 hrs to 21.00 for dinner.

Some smaller hotels may have more restricted times.

As for menu , there is always a choice of dishes.

Again at some smaller places they sometimes have an arrangment where there is a dinner menu at your breakfast table and a pencil for you to tick what you want that evening.


New South Wales...
Destination Expert
for Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples
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9,794 posts
170 reviews
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2. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

I just don't get why anyone would opt for this. I mean it's Italy - the best cuisine in the world - and people choose to eat at the same place every night. A bit of internet research, use these forums and some guide books and plenty of cheap and wonderful options turn up out there. (This is not directed at you, love-da-sea OP - just my general musings).

Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
37,631 posts
3 reviews
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3. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

As for "Can one opt for "half board" for only part of the stay?", normally this would require booking 2 separate stays: 1 at the half-board rate and 1 without (breakfast only or maybe without breakfast, it depends on the rates you are being asked to select from). The whole point for the hotel is to know in advance how many people they will definitely have for dinner, several days in advance.

I can see the point for remote places where there aren't many dining options, and for groups: but if you book half-board and then find you don't want what is offered at your particular hotel, you'll end up paying again to eat dinner elsewhere.

Incidentally, I have known half-board arrangements which do NOT offer a choice of menu. Check the hotel's website or e-mail them if you need to know.

Edited: 7:24 pm, August 10, 2013
British Columbia...
Level Contributor
269 posts
27 reviews
41 helpful votes
4. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

Thanks to both of you. Graham, you answered my question very well. And Kathy: I am conscious of the fact that Italian cuisine is great. But sometimes we may have to make choices from an affordability aspect. I.e. Our trip to the Bay of Naples (I recognize you from the Naples Forum) is an add-on to a family wedding visit to northern Europe. My wife especially always expressed a desire to see Italy. Our main focus will be to take in some of the magnificent history there. Yet, we do like to keep the cost under control. And one way of doing so could be by compromising on the food. Our hotel offers Half board for an extra 35 Euros a day for the two of us. I don't think that 17,5 Euros a person will stretch far in local restaurants.

If this were the only trip of our life, I'd probably go to the bank and borrow the money. But there are so many other places in the world to see yet. Need to keep some cash for the next trip. I guess that's why some people go half board. :)

British Columbia...
Level Contributor
269 posts
27 reviews
41 helpful votes
5. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

Qaminari: Our posts crossed. Thanks for the extra info.

I think I will email the hotel with my specific questions. They have been quite responsive to earlier inquiries.

Level Contributor
4,107 posts
105 reviews
96 helpful votes
6. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

Thanks for the clarification, at first I thought the answer was - "What you are when you are about halfway through the Vatican Museum" OK, a bad joke and spelling

London, England
Level Contributor
10,824 posts
77 reviews
64 helpful votes
7. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

Kathy W

The reason people opt for HB is because it is normally very economical as already explained. It is something advantageous in expensive countries like UK, Scandinavia, Israel etc where to eat lur every night will seriously make a hole in your budget.

I agree that there are some very nice places to eat in Italy and I have visited hundreds of times, but not everybody wants the hassle of having to go out to a restaurant after a long, tiring day sightseeing.

8. Re: What exactly does "half board" mean.

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