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Why All-Inclusive Resorts are the Ultimate Vacation

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March 18, 2016 · 3.8k Views

all inclusive resort


Everyone has a different vision of what a perfect vacation looks like. For some, it involves backpacking up beautiful mountainsides, and for others, it’s traveling across multiple countries in Europe and sightseeing. Or, maybe the perfect vacation is spending the weekend in a cabin, skiing with friends.

The key to a successful vacation all depends on what you hope to get out of it. For me, when I think of an ideal vacation, it involves having the time to unwind and relax. In doing this, there’s no better option than an all-inclusive resort.

The typical all-inclusive resort is found in tropical locations, such as Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and other countries in the Caribbean. Some places, such as Hawaii, don’t have any all-inclusive resorts, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.

What is an all-inclusive resort?

As the name suggests, you’re paying an overall price which also includes all your meals, snacks, drinks (including most alcohol), entertainment, gratuities, among other perks. Each resort is different in the extras that they offer, which may or may not include the following:

  • Beach and pool access
  • Quantity and types of restaurants and bars
  • Sports and non-motorized water sports (such as tennis, volleyball, ping pong, billiards, bikes, snorkeling, kayaking, boogie boards, and more).
  • Daily organized activities and nightly shows
  • Wi-fi, laundry services, 24-hour room service, mini bar, top shelf liquor
  • Certain add-ons must be purchased separately, such as spa treatments and excursions

It really comes down to the resort you select, but the overall point is that you’re paying one price that encompasses everything.

So, why is an all-inclusive resort the ultimate vacation?

Budget for a Specific Amount

One of the best features of an all-inclusive vacation is that it lets you budget for a specific amount. Rather than paying for meals and drinks as you go, you pay the full price upfront and then no longer have to think about the financial aspect of your vacation. You can eat and drink as much as you want without having to worry about how to pay for it. There’s something incredibly freeing about opening up a menu and not seeing any prices, as well as not having to pay a check when you’re finished eating. All your meals also include drinks, appetizers, desserts, and plenty of snacks throughout the day.

By knowing the overall cost of your vacation ahead of time, it lets you set an accurate budget. It avoids the guesswork that comes with trying to anticipate what your food and drink expenses will be throughout your trip. This lets you set the proper amount of money aside ahead of time (I recommend automatically transferring a set amount per month into a separate online savings account, to ensure you don’t spend it elsewhere).

No more surprises of going over budget when you go home and review your bank statements, you already know the cost you’re committing to.

all inclusive resort

All in One Place

Another key aspect of going on vacation to an all-inclusive resort is that everything you need is all in one location. No getting lost, or additional traveling once you’ve reached your destination. You have access to a number of activities to participate in, and you have the option of spending your time in a more structured manner (by taking part in the resort’s scheduled activities) or by having complete flexibility with how you spend your time. No worrying about the time it takes to get to a certain site, and whether or not it will be open. This is a much more relaxing and convenient way of vacationing, and it's safer too.

Other Factors to Consider

When planning your vacation, there are some other factors to consider. For starters, an all-inclusive vacation is often not the most frugal way of traveling. This doesn’t need to be a negative, it just means you may need to start saving earlier and it’s something to be aware of during the planning stages. You don’t want to skimp out for this type of vacation, especially since you’ll be spending so much time on the resort. Your experience will largely be a result of how much you like your resort, so it’s worth it to splurge a little. For the additional money, you’re getting added value, convenience, and reduced stress. There are always good deals to be found if you plan ahead, but don’t expect the highest quality food and amenities to come at a rock bottom price.

The additional money also covers all the alcohol that you get access to. Cruises are cheaper than all-inclusive resorts most of the time, but alcohol and other specialty beverages are NOT included. This is something to be aware of if you enjoy drinks.

Additionally, some resorts are best for adults only, while others are geared towards all ages. This is an important factor to consider if you’re looking for a couples getaway or a family vacation. Adults only resorts tend to be quite a bit more expensive.

How Much Does it Cost?

To put it simply, you usually get what you pay for. As mentioned above, this isn’t the type of vacation to be cheap with, and with the additional cost comes additional value. Similar to a regular hotel, the higher the quality of the accommodations and the more amenities, the higher the price point. That being said, there are some factors to take into account that can have a huge impact on how much money you spend on your trip. These include:

  • Resort quality and location (some countries are cheaper than others)
  • Time of year (this is largely impacted by the weather and popularity)
  • Flight cost
  • Be flexible with the dates and destination you select
  • What timeframe you book
  • Adults only or All ages
  • Type of room (size, features, and view)
  • Booking flight and hotel as a package deal (most of the time is cheaper, but sometimes more expensive)
  • Find a resort that fits your needs, don’t pay for one with tons of features you won’t even use
  • Bring a friend along and split the room cost
  • Look for discounts (check sites such as Priceline, Hotwire, Expedia, CheapoAir, Southwest Vacations, Cheap Caribbean, Groupon, Living Social, United Vacations, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz)


Potential Drawbacks to Consider

While all-inclusive vacations are incredible, they aren’t for everyone. For example, when you book a vacation at an all-inclusive resort, you are committing to spending the large majority of your time at that resort. You likely won’t have as many opportunities to explore the local surroundings, and in this way you won’t be as able to fully immerse yourself in the culture of the place you’re visiting. You’ll be unable to see multiple cities or countries like you would with a backpacking trip or a cruise. Additionally, if you aren’t a heavy drinker (especially of alcohol) or don’t like to eat big meals that are often not the healthiest options, you won’t be getting the full value for your money.

If these certain instances apply to your situation, then it may be better to avoid an all-inclusive resort.

Final Thoughts

Overall, when you take into account the many positives, there’s no better way of vacationing than going to an all-inclusive resort. While there may be some additional cost upfront, you’re getting added value, peace of mind, and convenience. Everything you need is all in one place, and is included in one price. Start setting money aside now so that you can take your next island getaway at an all-inclusive resort!

Be sure to visit DealsPlus for all the best coupons and savings for your vacation packages, flights, and hotels! Also check out these related travel posts, for more tips on the best ways to vacation on a budget.

sfgiantsfan8 profile picture
A lifelong Bay Area native, Matt Spillar graduated in 2013 from Fresno State with a Sports Marketing degree. He strives to combine his passion for sports marketing along with his interests in finance and budgeting. In his spare time, he writes for his personal blog, spillsspot.com