Essential Tips for Booking Your Next All-Inclusive Vacation

Posted on 02/22/2024
It's not too late to book your all-inclusive getaway this season. But all resorts are not created equal. Making the wrong choice of an all-inclusive vacation can be the difference between the relaxing… or romantic… or active… or fun-filled family holiday you were hoping for.
 
Even if you’ve had terrific holidays at certain resorts in the past, a different group of travelers might not have the great time you remember. Are you part of a couple looking to reconnect? A group of friends? A family with small children? Teens? Multi-generational family?
 
An expert travel advisor can help ensure you’re matched with your ideal all-inclusive getaway.
They know the differences between the many all-inclusive resort companies that cater to every type of all-inclusive holiday-maker to help you choose from thousands of properties in sun destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and even Europe.
 
 
There are even all-inclusive vacation options on the slopes for those who celebrate, not escape, the winter season.
 
Here are some considerations that could make or break your next all-inclusive holiday:
 
1.    Location, location, location: After you choose between a tropical or an alpine vacation, there’s still lots more to decide. Do you want to do yoga on the beach facing sunrise? Or drink wine with your sweetheart watching the sun set?
 
But there’s more to a resort than east or west-facing locations. Some destinations are simply more convenient: are there direct flights from your gateway to the nearest airport? More than one flight per week for a flexible length of stay?  
And do you hope to spend time off the resort? Does that translate to a destination with plenty of history, archaeology, adventure tourism, famous dive sites, local markets, a thriving dining or local nightlife scene to enjoy? Matching your off-resort interests – and the distance from them – can help ensure you create new memories on your holiday.
 
2.    Who’s your daddy? Are you traveling as a multi-generational family where the interests of grandparents, single aunts and uncles, child-free adults and families with teens or small children all need to be accommodated? Are you looking for an adults-only escape?
 
 
A resort with a waterpark might make all the difference to a family with kids under 12. And an intimate property with quiet garden paths, romantic restaurants and a programming just for grow-ups might be just what a couple that needs to spend time alone together needs.
 
3.    Life’s a beach: but is it the right beach for you? Some resorts have private beaches – even within a bay that creates a natural perimeter to keep your kids within eyesight - or provide privacy or intimacy that a public beach does not. But if you’re looking for a beach with lots of activities, including water sports, beach volleyball and long walks in the sand, you’re likely looking at a bigger and more public beach.  
 
4.    Size matters: How big is your ideal resort? Do you like being in a tower where you have an expansive view over the sea and lots of restaurants and amenities and activities, like tennis courts, several pools with different atmospheres (family, adults-only, even private plunge pools with your own private villa)? Or do you like to feel shut off from the world, where you have a short wander to a secluded-feeling beach?
 
5.    Included Inclusions: The attraction of an all-inclusive is paying once in your local currency before you travel and not having to take out your wallet, calculate currency conversions very often, or worry about a big bill at the end of your stay.
 
But what’s really included in your fare? Only buffet-style dining? How about specialty restaurants? Are there limitations about how many times you can dine in a specialty venue? Are there watersports or wellness programming like yoga classes included? How about kids’ programs to keep the young members of the family entertained and occupied?
 
 
6.    Available Add-ons: Even if you’re willing to pay for non-included perks and programming, what’s offered? Circus school? Mixology classes? A cigar lounge? Private, overwater bungalows? Luxury transfers? A private villa? How about a butler or dedicated concierge? And an uber-premium backbar?
 
 
Here's something to consider:
 
7.    All-inclusive, deluxe: Luxury is the newest trend in all-inclusive resorts, which used to focus on the more budget end of the market. Now, the convenience of the all-inclusive, packaged model, but delivered in true luxury style, is available more and more. And it might be right for you.
 
8.    Loving local: Another trend is towards authentic local experiences and resorts that genuinely contribute to local well-being. New resorts tout that they arepreserving or actively rehabilitating local land or seascapes; sourcing ingredients from local producers/ producing ingredients on site; implementing resort design that reflects local history and culture; and supporting local artists and craftspeople and even schools and training initiatives.
  
START YOUR ALL-INCLUSIVE TRIP!
 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, travel journalist and expert
 
Images:
  • Overwater villa: Sandals Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Aerial beach view of Sandals Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Kids' Pool: Club Med Cancun
  • Trapeze: Club Med Cancun
  • Floating tray in private plunge pool: Grand Velas Los Cabos
 
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