How to Make the Most of An All-Inclusive Vacation.
All-inclusive resorts have become a popular way to travel to tropical places like the Caribbean and Mexico over the years because everything from the meals to entertainment are taken care of. While some prefer to forego the all-inclusive rates, these types of resorts can be a great option for others. Unlimited food and drink can be very tempting, am I right? Also, how great is it to not have to think about your itinerary? Zero planning can sometimes be the best type of planning.
Today, I'm sharing a bit about my experience with all-inclusive resorts and tips for making the most of one. With winter getaways coming up, these are the pro tips and tricks you'll need for making the most of your next all-inclusive vacation!
Decide what kind of vacation you want to have.
Are you looking to sip margaritas out of a pineapple while laying on the beach? What about a romantic getaway with your significant other? Maybe a family reunion with everyone and their mom? Keep the crowd you're looking for in mind when you're in the planning stages.
Select the time of year to travel carefully.
May and June are usually great times to travel to an all-inclusive because spring break is over for college co-eds. However, keep in mind that hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from May to October. Traveling off-peak often means the pools will be less crowded and that you'll have a better chance of booking at the hot restaurants, but the weather may not be as nice as you were hoping for.
Bundle your flight and hotel.
Bundling the two will often mean an additional discount, especially if you're traveling with a group. Score!
Research the resort beforehand.
Before booking, figure out what entertainment and activities are included in the all-inclusive rate. Outline the activities that you're interested in and seek out all-inclusive resorts that offer them. For example, certain resorts have hang-gliding on the premises and others feature killer restaurants with everything from hibachi to fresh barbeque. If you are interested in a specific experience, book accordingly.
A big pitfall can be not figuring out whether or not transportation from the airport is included to the resort. If not, make sure the transportation is arranged well in advance. I booked an all-inclusive stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic with a friend and the booking company led us to believe that it was a short trip from the airport to the resort that would only cost $25 per person. It was actually almost two hours away with an estimated cost of $150 total. For the sake of your wallet, figure out those details beforehand and call the resort to ask what transportation they would recommend.
DURING YOUR TRIP
Lock away your valuables.
Put your passport and travel documents into the in-room safe so you don't have to worry about them for the remainder of your trip. Some in-room safes will not be wide enough for a full laptop, so call ahead to confirm the size if this may be a concern for you.
While there is almost always a buffet available, the specialty restaurants on the resort often require reservations. Reservations are first-come, first-serve at all-inclusives, so ask the concierge about what is available. The same goes for activities like hang-gliding and snorkeling.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SWIM-UP BAR.
Do I really have to say more?
OPT FOR THE A LA CARTE FOOD OPTIONS.
The quality can really vary when it comes to buffets, so the made-to-order stations are typically a much safer bet. I tend to gravitate to the omelette stations and smoothie bars during breakfast time and often will ask for grilled chicken or fresh salmon during lunch. Pro tip: If you're around the islands, make sure to try the seafood as it will likely be fresh and delicious.
take advantage of events and activities.
Enjoy the morning aerobics in the pool or a walk on the beach every morning. Go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding after lunch. Non-motorized sports are typically included in the all-inclusive rate, even if it's not actively advertised by the resort. Also, you won't want to miss the resort nightlife whether it's karaoke or a Michael Jackson impersonator show. This is a fun way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people while at the resort.
Enjoy the room service.
It's included, so why not? This is your official permission slip to lay in bed all morning long.
FIGURE OUT THE TIPPING POLICY.
Some all-inclusive resorts do not allow staff to accept tips, while others do. Bring small bills with you so you can easily tip if it's allowed.
Unlimited food and drinks make it easy to overindulge. Make sure you're staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.
What tips would you recommend? Are there any questions you would like answered for an upcoming trip? Leave them below!