Nothing makes me crave a tropical vacation more than sitting at my desk with wet socks from a cold commute. All inclusive resorts sound like a great idea – just sit back and let someone else take care of all the details. But is it a value or are you paying for services you don’t use? Let’s take a look.
What’s Included in All Inclusive Resorts
1. Travel to and from the airport
Most all inclusive resorts will include shuttle or car service from the airport to the resort. That saves a ton of money on cabs or rental cars, the latter of which can be difficult to secure if you’re living the debit-only life.
Lunch. Breakfast. Second breakfast. Many resorts include the cost of food in their price, and some have multiple restaurants with a large variety of food. You know how your teenaged son eats your groceries before you even unpack them at home? An all inclusive resort could be a bargain for this reason alone.
If your tropical vacation isn’t complete without a mai tai, you’re in luck, because they’re often included. But make sure to enjoy responsibly – overindulging is a surefire way to ruin a vacation fast.
From live music to lessons or crafts for the kids, lots of resorts have everything you need to keep the whole family active and occupied.
What’s Not Included
The prices on some of these packages may sound too good to be true, but keep in mind that those numbers don’t include the cost of getting to the resort. Adding in airfare may take the price much higher than you’re willing or able to pay.
The servers and bartenders at these resorts work just as hard as folks in regular restaurants do, but without a bill to pay every time you eat or drink, you may not remember to tip them the same way you would a server at home. Some resorts pay their service employees a small salary and cover the assumed cost of tip in the overall cost of the vacation, but be sure to read the fine print.
3. Special Requests
You may not consider a vegetarian entree option at dinner a special request in this day and age, but an all inclusive resort might. Because they provide it all, they also get to set the limits and conditions of what they provide. Some may only provide two or three free meals within their restaurants, and not all day service. Snacks or alternative options may cost extra.
4. A La Carte Pricing
If your toddler is going through a phase where he’s only eating watermelon and cereal (I speak from personal experience here) you’re still going to pay for full meals. If you don’t drink daiquiris, the cost of your vacation includes them anyway. Remember when you cut cable because you didn’t want to pay for channels you didn’t watch? Exactly.
Is It a Bargain?
Well, that depends on what kind of vacationer you are. If you enjoy lots of activities and are looking to spend time with your family or friends in a controlled environment with every need met, you’ll get a big bang for your buck with an all inclusive resort. If, however, you love exploring new places and seeking out the same restaurants and entertainment that local residents enjoy, you’ll end up paying for things at an all inclusive resort that you’ll never use.
Have you vacationed at all inclusive resorts? Share your tips to make it great in the comments!