All inclusive vacations have risen in popularity in recent years due to their convenience and affordability. Clearly people like to know what the total cost of their trip is going to be when they book, and with all meals, drinks and activities included in the price, you don’t have to worry about going over budget while you’re away. Is an all inclusive holiday cheaper than doing it yourself?
Though many travelers are horrified by the very thought. Vehemently against the words “all inclusive”, some even claim that you aren’t really a traveler if you stay in an all-inclusive resort where everything is done for you. These travelers prefer to explore a destination thoroughly, go sightseeing every day, eat street food, meet locals, and discover locations off the beaten path which put them well away from their resort or hotel. And if you’re a regular reader of our blog, this is probably you. What does an all inclusive holiday include?
The argument is that an all inclusive vacation is destructive to local communities as it encourages travelers to stay in their hotels and not support the local economy. After all, who wants to pay for things twice?
But when it comes down to it, there is no right or wrong way to travel, and an all inclusive holiday could genuinely be for you.
When sponsored by DoubleTree by Hilton in 2014 we were honestly quite dubious at first when presented with the concept of being put up in an all inclusive resort. Surely this would have hurt my travel rep as an adventure traveler. However my stereotypes were quickly smashed, and there turned out to be some definite perks of this kind of a stay. Pros and cons of all inclusive
So before you turn your nose up at the notion of booking an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or Jamaica or the Bahamas, here are the pros and cons of going on an all inclusive holiday, plus some tips you should seriously consider to decide if this is the right kind of holiday for you.
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All inclusive packages are cheap. Everything is produced in mass, from the tours and entertainment to the food, and this keeps prices low. Discounts and deals are common as tour operators don’t want empty seats on planes, and kids will often go free which really helps families achieve an affordable vacation during expensive times of year. Advantages of an all inclusive holiday
Brilliant for keeping to a budget. All expenses are paid up front, and the price of all inclusive will often include travel, accommodation, food and drink. This means that unless you go nuts with side trips and souvenirs, you don’t have to worry about overspending. You know exactly what to expect and you can choose your accommodation based on the restaurants and bars it offers as well as its facilities. How much does an all inclusive resort cost?
These packages are therefore particularly good for families and people who have a specific budget. There’s no need to deal with lots of foreign currency and you can completely relax and switch off, knowing that everyone is well catered for. Is an all inclusive holiday cheaper than doing it yourself?
These kind of holidays are convenient. With everything having been taken care of for you, all you have to worry about is relaxing and enjoying your holiday. All expenses have been paid, and it’s all very easy to arrange.
You can eat whenever you want. It’s always mealtime somewhere on an all inclusive resort; breakfast rolls into lunch, lunch rolls into dinner, and then there are also likely to be snack bars dotted throughout for the in-between.
This is particularly beneficial for families if children may need to eat outside of standard restaurant hours, and also for those who may have come back late off a delayed day tour or excursion.
You’re not a prisoner at the resort. The reality is that you can get away anytime you want, and day trips and excursions are incredibly easy to book, with a number of resorts now supporting tours offered by local outfitters.
Tour operators in the lobby will be happy to whisk you to famous dive sites, ancient ruins, a rainforest, perhaps a volcano, and whether you leave on quad bike or the back of a horse, they’re not going to stop you from venturing out. These packages usually make sure that you are collected and dropped back at your hotel too.
Adults only. Sure, all inclusive resorts are a fantastic option for family travel, however if you need to escape other people’s kids for a week, there are adult only all inclusive resorts for you. It’s the promise of “serenity, romance and flirty fun.” What is included at an all inclusive resort?
Entertainment is also covered in the price. You don’t need to pay extra for entertainment – all inclusive resorts offer plenty of options for recreation, and organized activities run throughout the day for all ages.
Children are well catered for with kids clubs, child only swimming pools and high ropes courses, and teens and adults have age appropriate activities set up just for them. For instance archery or joining in the organised pool activities such as aqua-aerobics, water polo or walking on water inside giant, inflated balls. Are flights included in an all inclusive holiday?
As some people do travel to spend their whole vacation at the resort, the activities schedules on offer are incredibly varied and there is always plenty to do. Facilities often include games rooms, swimming pools, tennis courts, crazy golf and a variety of local acts putting on a show for guests each night.
Opportunity to meet new people. Where-ever you are in the world, an all inclusive vacation means you will meet people from all over the place, as the increasing popularity of these packages draws people from every corner of the globe. What isn’t included in an all inclusive holiday?
As we discovered in Costa Rica, all inclusive resorts are often an extremely popular choice of holiday among locals too, so chances are you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with locals who are also holidaying at the resort.
All inclusive doesn’t always mean all inclusive. While a lot of things will be covered by your package, it’s likely a lot of things will also be left out. Once you arrive in your destination you may find yourself having to pay extra for childcare services or internet, or for internationally branded drinks.
Further, most people are restricted to their all-inclusive hotels, since they do not want to spend more. As a result, they rarely explore their locality or go for excursions, which may diminish the holiday excitement. This is particularly relevant for resorts that are located far from any attractions.
Your money may not support the local economy. You could end up supporting international hotel chains and not boosting the local economy. This is especially true if you stay in a global international hotel chain.
Eating virtually all your meals in the hotel. This can be either a pro or a con depending on how you view it, however the buffets can become repetitive after a few days, and many resorts lack the option of providing an a la carte menu.
If the quality of the food and drink is poor then you’re stuck with it for the duration of your stay.
You feel guilty leaving the resort. Nothing is stopping your escape, though it can be mentally challenging to leave the confines of an all-inclusive hotel. With so much entertainment and recreation on offer at the resort, only around only 15 per cent of guests sign up for excursions, meaning they miss the hidden treasures of a place.
Being less likely to explore the surrounding region means you don’t learn much about the local culture, its traditions and even what the landscape looks like.
Deciding if All Inclusive is Right For You
There are definite advantages of booking an all-inclusive vacation, however you should first consider both the pros and cons, as well as the following advice, to decide if this type of vacation is right for you.
Firstly, you should know exactly what is included in your package so you’re not surprised by any additional extras once you arrive. Each resort will have detailed descriptions of their packages on their website, and if you’re unsure, you can email or call. Is an all inclusive hotel worth it?
For instance find out what food and drink is included. If it’s only meals in the main buffet room, you may be severely bored of the food after a week. Some resorts offer a variety of specialty restaurants with diverse menus in addition to their buffet. What kind of food is served at an all inclusive hotel?
Check if your resorts offers “24-hour all-inclusive”, meaning access to unlimited food and drink 24 hours a day. Some resorts are not open day and night and will usually specify meal times for you to follow. And, check if all alcohol is included. Sometimes international brands are charged at a premium cost.
Know which activities are included – non-motorised water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding are usually included, though motorised water sports like jet skiing may not be. Tours and excursions and trips to the spa are normally extra.
Check out the costs of non-inclusive packages in similar hotels in the same location. In so doing, you can determine if the all inclusive package is good value for money. You can use online calculators to compare the costs of all inclusive v self catered to find out for yourself whether all-inclusive is the best option for you.
Consider the location of the property as many all-inclusive hotels are isolated, adding to the separation from local life.
Check their website or call for further information as to the tour operators they recommend. Finding a resort which supports local businesses can really enhance a holiday.
Video of My All Inclusive Experience
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