Truth: All all-inclusive resorts are not created equal. What you get at one may not be what you get at another. For the most part, though, all-inclusive resorts usually offer the same basic amenities like food, on-site activities, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. However, the quality of these amenities can vary greatly from brand to brand. And, let’s face it, these resorts can be REALLY expensive. So how can you be sure that the location and resort you choose will fit your expectations? Simple! Just ask yourself these 10 questions–and be sure to answer them honestly!
1. Do you want to travel outside of the US–and do you have/plan to get a passport? There are no true all-inclusive resort options inside the US or US territories, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. So if you plan to stay close to home, know that a true all-inclusive won’t be an option.
3. What type of beach experience are you looking for? Yes, most all-inclusive resorts are located on the beach–but the locations range from rocky shores to pristine, endless stretches of pink sand. The type of beach experience you are looking for will dictate which resorts are right for you.
4. Do you plan to venture off property and see the local sights? As some resort areas are more secluded than others, decide before you book just how adventurous you want to be on your vacation.
5. Do you want unlimited food and drink options during the day? At some resorts, only 1 or 2 dining options will be open for lunch; at others, you may have 5+ to choose from. Take into consideration whether room service is important, also, as this is not included in many basic packages.
6. What type of service do you expect? Accommodations range from basic hotel room styles that demand you get your own drinks from the bar to opulent oceanfront suites complete with butler service that will ensure you want for nothing. Of course, the more you expect, the more you should expect to pay.
7. Are you comfortable with crowds? Some resorts offer smaller beach and pool areas than others do, so think about how close you want to be to others as you lounge on the beach or at the pool.
8. What type of view do you want to have? Ocean? Garden? Your own private pool? All of these are options!
9. Are you okay with a long drive from the airport to the resort? The beauty of some all-incluives is that the resorts are, well, secluded. Unfortunately, this seclusion comes with a long drive–the upside is that most all-inclusive resorts will offer complimentary transportation to and from the airport.
10. Are you a party animal? Some resorts offer clubs that go until the wee hours of the morning, while others seem to soften the atmosphere after dusk. It is up to you to decide just how much nightlife you want on your getaway.
You can have a great time at an all-inclusive resort–but you must be aware of what you are getting. Just like anything in life: Be wary of any travel deal that sounds too good to be true! All-inclusive vacations are pricey but can be cost efficient in the end if you compare them to what you would have spent on additional food and drink at an a la carte property.
Do you have a favorite all-inclusive property that you tend to revisit over and over? Tell me about it in the comments section below! And don’t forget, you can always contact me to help you plan your perfect vacation!