All inclusive resort, what does it mean?

What does it REALLY mean to an “all-inclusive” resort?

You found an amazing deal on a travel website for an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, so you decide to go for it.  You get to the resort and it is as beautiful as the pictures.  After settling
into the room you decide to head down to the pool for a nice refreshing cocktail.  You order your favorite drink over the rocks and the bartender asks you if you want to charge it to the room.  With a confused look on your face, you say you have the all-inclusive package, but the bartender tells you that it doesn’t include top shelf liquor.   With the drink in your hand, you agree to charge it to the room.

You start to wonder what you booked with this deal vacation you are on.  Is it just the top shelf alcohol that is not included?  What other items, activities, food, drinks, etc will you have to pay for?  Often when someone books an all-inclusive resort, they truly believe that they are paying for everything upfront including premium alcohol, food, activities, transfers, and resort sharing to name a few. Unfortunately, the term all-inclusive can sometimes mean more exclusive.  All of this is usually explained in the fine print when booking the vacation, but when you think you are getting an amazing deal who reads the fine print!  I know I don’t. 

The truth is, if you want an all-inclusive resort then you really do want to pay for everything upfront.  You have set your budget, and you want the food, drinks, transfers, activities, and resort sharing to all be included in that cost.  You don’t want to have to pull out your credit card for any extras.  But how do you know that everything is TRULY included in the pricing?  Besides reading the fine print, look for key words when a resort is advertising.  Sometimes you will read alcohol is included but that doesn’t mean premium alcohol.  When it comes to food, the advertisement may say that the resort is a la carte, but if you wanted to eat at one of the specialty dining restaurants at the resort it may not be included in the all-inclusive pricing.  Many resorts boast about their onsite activities including water activities, but have you ever noticed that they do no specifically say “motorized” water activities or games such as bingo.  Be cautious when the wording says “some” activities “may be included.”  Many times when you book your vacation you forget that you will need transportation to and from the resort.  Transfers can be very expensive once you get to the destination, so getting them included in the package pricing upfront will help save you money. 

Trying to find the best all-inclusive resort for your next family vacation, one where you won’t have to pay more out of pocket when you get there, can become overwhelming and exhausting.  The good news is I am going to give you 4 nuggets of advice to help you make it easier:

1.      Give up on the deal.  The saying “you get what you pay for” is always TRUE and when it comes to all-inclusive resorts it holds VERY TRUE!

2.      Sit down and figure out a budget like you would for any other vacation.  When you have a budget to work with you will find many more resorts that are going to fit your needs, without having to get out the credit card on vacation.

3.      Look for key words on the resort’s website that would indicate what is NOT included in the all-inclusive pricing.  These words include: some, limited, a la carte, minimal fee, varying, typically

4.      Call a travel agent.  Why make it harder on yourself than you have to.  Pick the destination and then let a good travel agent do the research on which resorts will fit your needs. 

Don’t forget to tell your travel agent at Life is Better Traveling to give you a quote for travel protection when planning your next vacation. 


P.S. Call me this year to plan your AMAZING All-Inclusive vacation.  I guarantee we will plan the perfect vacation for you!    

When you book your vacation with a member of the Life is Better Traveling team, you are supporting local families and business.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past 4 years, we have become an AMAZING travel agency due to your support!