Over the last decade, all-inclusive vacation resorts have become all the rage...and for good reason. Many of these resorts offer an affordable, relatively hassle-free way to enjoy a relaxing trip to a faraway destination. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other, or an exciting, fun-filled family vacation with the kids, finding an all-inclusive resort that fits your needs is often the simplest and best option. Whatever kind of escape you’re looking for, a trip to an all-inclusive resort can offer exactly what you need, if you know what to look for. The golden rule with any sort of trip planning is to shop around. If you have something particular in mind, most of your research can be done online, however, it often pays to call these resorts or travel agencies directly, as they will sometimes offer better deals over the phone.
Pros: Of course, the main draw for all-inclusive resorts is unlimited food and drink while you’re there. You can leave your money locked up in your room and enjoy all the food and drink you can handle at no additional cost. If you’re looking to experience the local flavor, many resorts will offer cultural foods and beverages for you to try. In addition, many of the most popular all-inclusive resorts are located near major cities and airports and are easily accessible for anyone. This also makes it easy enough to explore the local culture and restaurants while still experiencing the seclusion of a resort. In general, since these resorts cater to American and European tourists, the majority are secured by gates and provide 24 hour a day security and on premises staff. This also means that staff will always be present to answer questions and help you determine what activities are available each day and plan excursions to nearby sites. Most resorts offer many different amenities activities and each day that are included with no additional charge. These often include a lazy river with a swim-up bar, yoga classes on the beach, full spa treatment and a gym. Some even offer free daycare for the kids! (1)
Cons: While unlimited food and drink are almost always included in the base price, often it is not the highest quality of food and drink. In addition, many of the most popular additional activities will cost extra and sometimes the resort staff can be pushy in trying to get you to sign up for these activities. Be sure to find out in advance which of activities come standard with the base package and which will cost extra. As a general rule, always read the fine print! Though most resorts are built near major metropolitan areas, if you’re looking to explore local culture you often have to travel a few miles before you will see anything but other resorts. The safest way to explore is often to take a tour or shuttle provided by the resort, but if authenticity is what you’re looking for, all-inclusive resorts may not be the best option for you. There are a lot of reasons why these types of resorts are popular, and this often means large crowds. If you’re looking for privacy, you may have difficulty finding it. Don’t go expecting to be alone on the beach with your significant other. Instead, get there early and stake out your spot before the rest of the tourists wake up! (2)
While not perfect for everyone and every occasion, if you take a little time up front to do your homework and read customer reviews, all-inclusive resorts can often be your best option, especially if you’d rather not spend your time making detailed travel arrangements and planning daily activities.