All inclusive. What does that really mean? Is EVERYTHING included? All inclusive resorts are a great travel idea for couples that don’t want to sweat all of the details. All inclusives range from your classic sun and sand resorts to all inclusive winter skiing holidays. We put together a little guide to help you ask the right questions before taking you first all inclusive adventure.
1) Getting there-Believe it or not there are some all inclusive resorts that actually include airfare to and from your home! Wow! While this is truly a rare offering, you really need to know this upfront. Travel to and from your destination is often the most expensive portion of your trip.
2) Meals-This is one of the most common offering for all inclusives. Meals are most often spelled out as breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is critical to get a clear understanding, if one of the three is not included, ask about the on and offsite resort food options. If you or your sweetheart have food concerns including: allergies, limited food likes, or have other food related medical/religious concerns its always best to call ahead before booking.
3) Meals II-Another important consideration is how good the food is. If you have pre-paid all your meals, you are “locked” into limited options. Ask questions like: how many food venues do you have on site? What different types of food do you offer: Chinese, French, fast food?
4) Booze-This is an important question. Ask if beer and wine are included only with meals, just dinner, or for a short “happy” hour after dinner. Ask if spirits and liquors are included, and if they are not, where they can be purchased.
5) Fine Dining-Are you noticing a common thread on a number of these questions? Food! Another key question to ask is about the fine dining options. When traveling, we always love to spoil ourselves a little one night. Ask the resort of they have any fine dining options included. If not, ask about restaurants in the vicinity. It just might be worth it to venture off “campus” to get some really good food. Again, know your options.
6) Fun!-Is fun included? Sure there is unlimited use of the jet skis…but…you must rent a helmet $$$. Ask about massages, spa treatments, access to swimming pools and saunas. Most include the basics and then you pay for the extras. Find out what is included before your get your final bill.
7) Kids-Some all inclusive resorts really specialize in traveling with children. Some resorts even have infant and toddler programs! For a new parent, an all inclusive is truly a relationship savior. Keep in mind, not all inclusives are family friendly. Many such resorts cater to adults. Everything from evening entertainments, libations, and even the dress code might shock you. Know before you go!
8) Sight seeing/side trips– While sitting on a white sand beach all week sounds great, you may want to see the locations further afield. Are these side trips included? Do you have to pay for the guides? Is the transportation to and from the side trip included?
9) Taxes/Fees-We saved this one for the end, we don’t want to rain on your parade, but this is a key factor in selecting the best resort for you. Many resorts advertise with a sexy “base” rate that looks too good to be true. Take the time to read the fine print. Be aware that if you are going to an offshore resort, the fees and taxes might be a true shock.
10) Tips/gratuity-this is certainly one area where you would not expect to be included in the all inclusive, but it never hurts to ask and understand what the standard practice for the resort is.
If your are looking for a vacation from your typical vacation, an all inclusive can be a great couple travel option for you. Regardless if you are seeking the beach or all inclusive winter skiing holidays, ask the questions. We just want you to enjoy your hard earned vacation by asking the right questions before you go. Have fun!
I have only stayed at one all inclusive in Mexico. It was nice because you never have to open your wallet, but I must admit I would prefer to eat at more local restaurants. I felt a bit like I was trapped in this compound.