If you’re considering an all-inclusive vacation for your next romantic getaway, you may be wondering what to expect. An all-inclusive resort can be a great option for a relaxing trip, but there are some things you should know before you book.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of what an all-inclusive resort includes, and we’ll give you a few tips on how to make the most of your stay if you choose to book at an all-inclusive resort.
What does all-inclusive usually include?
The answer to this question can vary widely depending on which resort or package you’re considering for your all-inclusive vacation. What usually comes with an all-inclusive resort is your accommodations, meals, and beverages, all for one price.
When you book an all-inclusive vacation, you can usually also expect unlimited access to the resort’s amenities. Plus, most all-inclusive resorts offer a variety of complimentary activities and entertainment options.
One of the best things about an all-inclusive resort is that it can make your vacation truly stress-free. You’ll save a ton of time in research and planning, and once you get there all you’ll need to do is relax. It can be wonderful not to have to take out your wallet every time you eat or do an activity.
An all-inclusive resort can also be a great value. When everything is included in the price, you can save money on your vacation. However, it’s important to remember that not all all-inclusive resorts are the same. Different ones offer different types of amenities and services. Those that have more amenities and services will usually be more expensive. Some all inclusives may also have higher prices because of where they’re located.
It’s important to do your research before you book so that you know what to expect. When comparing resorts, make sure you pay attention to what is included there and what’s not—a resort that offers a lower rate may also have fewer inclusions, making your total cost the same or more as a higher-priced resort with more inclusions.
As you research all-inclusive vacations, you may encounter some other types of packages, such as European plan, MAP (Modified American Plan), full board, and half board. Here is a brief description of each term so you know how to evaluate what’s being offered.
A European plan usually means that just accommodations are included in your rate, not any food or beverages. A Modified American Plan usually includes your room plus breakfast, and often a second meal. Full Board includes your room plus all three meals, which are often served buffet-style; drinks are generally only included at breakfast.
Half Board includes your room plus two meals: breakfast and dinner is most common, although some hotels will let you switch the second meal to lunch. Drinks are generally only included at breakfast in this plan as well. Therefore, the main difference between Full Board and All Inclusive is that drinks and snacks are not included in a Full Board package.
What questions should I ask at an all-inclusive resort?
Your all-inclusive vacation will only be relaxing and stress-free if you’re happy with your experience. To avoid unpleasant surprises, we recommend you ask plenty of questions up front. Here are the top questions you should ask about an all-inclusive resort.
What is not included in the all-inclusive package?
The rates at most all-inclusive resorts include your room, food, and beverages. But there can be a lot of variety in the types of food and beverages that are included. Be sure to ask if all meals and all snacks are included. There may limits on the amounts allowed per person, or a surcharge for certain restaurants or dishes like lobster. Food and drink may only be available during certain hours. Room service may be extra, and special requests like candlelight dinners on the beach are usually extra as well.
In general, all-inclusive packages include free access to resort facilities like pools and gyms. If the resort is on the beach, non-motorized watersports are usually also included, but equipment or instruction may be extra. Ask which facilities and activities are complimentary, and if there are any limits on them (i.e., only two hours of scuba diving per day).
In many places, amenities like spa treatments, and golf are extra, as are any excursions that leave the property like Catamaran cruises, adventure tours, or visits to local attractions. (However, Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, and Couples Resorts all offer complimentary greens fees at golf courses, and Couples Resorts include some excursions in their packages.)
Just because a resort advertises a service doesn’t mean it’s included in your rate! Better safe than sorry; always doublecheck beforehand if you know you want to experience something specific.
Some all-inclusive resorts, like Couples, Sandals, and Beaches, include complimentary airport transfers, but some do not. Depending on where your resort is in relation to the airport, transportation can be a real expense, so be sure to ask about that as well.
Does all-inclusive mean unlimited drinks?
At some all-inclusive resorts, like Sandals, Beaches, and Couples, the package includes unlimited drinks including nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages (and premium liquor). At other resorts, this may not be the case. There may be a limit on the number of drinks per person per day, or you may need to pay extra for anything other than well-brand liquor or the house wine.
Are tips expected at all-inclusive resorts?
Whether or not to tip depends on the resort you’re staying at, so this is definitely a question to ask before you get there. Many all-inclusive resorts expect you to tip the staff, but some (like Beaches, Sandals, and Couples Resorts) prohibit it. If you’re at a resort that allows tips, you can expect to pay between $1-$10 per tip depending on the staff person and the service they provide, so you’ll want to bring cash in small bills for that.
Are all-inclusive resorts worth it?
It can be totally worth it to stay at an all-inclusive resort, especially if you follow some tips to make the most of your time there. These resorts offer a little bit of everything, making them the perfect destination for couples who want plenty of options all in one place.
How do you take advantage of all-inclusive resorts? Here are our suggestions:
Top tips for making the most of an all-inclusive vacation
Research the resort and make sure its location, ambiance, and typical guest profile match up with what you want before you book. You should be able to get a good feel for the resort’s location, atmosphere, and amenities from its website, so you can ensure you’re staying somewhere you’ll enjoy.
It’s harder to figure out what the other guests will be like, but that can really affect how your vacation goes. If you’re looking for a luxurious romantic retreat, you don’t want to be surrounded by lots of lively children. If you seek quiet seclusion, you may not enjoy a resort that’s filled with extreme partiers. Reading reviews can give you an idea of the types of guests who frequent that resort.
Make sure you know what isn’t included at that resort, then estimate any additional costs. This way you won’t get blindsided by extra fees, and you can make sure the resort still makes financial sense. Many all-inclusive resorts charge for premium liquor or wine, certain special meals or dining options, spa treatments, activities like golf, and extras like beach cabanas or private dinners.
Learn the policies and procedures at your all-inclusive resort so you can make the most of your stay. For instance, there may be a certain procedure or time for making restaurant reservations. At resorts that offer multiple dining options, some of the more popular restaurants tend to book up quickly and you don’t want to miss out.
Also, check the hours of operation for restaurants and facilities to make sure you don’t try to go somewhere when it’s closed.
Maximize your usage of all the amenities the resort offers. Be sure to ask a staff member if you’re not sure which amenities are included—then take advantage of as many as you can!
In addition to water sports and land sports, lots of all-inclusive resorts have interesting free activities like cooking classes, dance classes, yoga, or water sports instruction. It’s a great way to try something new and bring an extra level of fun to your vacation.
Find out if you also have access to any other resorts. Many all-inclusive resorts have multiple locations in one area, and guests can enjoy the restaurants, bars, beaches, and activities at all of them (often via a free shuttle). This can double or triple your options!
If you’re looking for a relaxing romantic escape where you don’t have to worry about planning meals or activities, an all-inclusive resort can be the perfect choice. With everything taken care of for you, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your vacation. Keep these tips in mind when you’re booking your all-inclusive vacation, and you’re sure to have a great time.
Did this post help answer your questions about all-inclusive resorts? Is there anything else you want to know? Tell us in the comments below!