Kids splashing water and yelling in overcrowded swimming pools, a perky “party man” organizing conga lines and events, plain buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and boring shows at night – this is the nightmare of all inclusive vacations - one that doesn’t have to be yours!
There are many all inclusive vacations that are really amazing experiences, it’s just about finding them, and finding what works for you.
Here are my tips on how to find the best all inclusive vacations…
Step 1: Find The Popular & Awarded Resorts
One of the best ways to make sure that you get a good all inclusive vacation is to find the most popular resorts – it is true that just because they’re popular it doesn’t mean that they are the best, but it’s a good place to start.
Also make sure to see what types of resorts these are, whether they’re focused on families, singles, couples or seniors.
Step 2: Search For Photos & Reviews
After you’ve found some popular resorts, google the resort and add “review” after the name, to see what pops up.
TripAdvisor and VirtualTourist will likely have many pages of reviews from people who have taken all inclusive vacations to these resorts, so you can read about their experiences.
Then check out the photos and compare them with the “perfect ones” shown on their own website or in the brochure.
Step 3: Choose Your Destination Carefully
When looking for the best all inclusive vacations, keep in mind that most of them are beach-oriented destinations and often count on you not leaving the resort – so a beautiful area makes a big difference.
If you want to do other things than just have fun in the sun by the beach, make sure you find out where it is and how easy it is to get around.
Find out what a taxi would cost from the resort to different attractions (do this by finding out the price per kilometer in the country), and if there are any bus stops nearby.
There are of course all inclusive resorts in the cities or close to them as well, so you will definitely find something – but location is everything!
Step 4: Compare Prices
Sometimes booking with an agent can turn out cheaper, other times not – don’t go for the first place you find, but compare the prices to see which one can offer you the best value.
Last minute vacations is another good option to find cheaper deals, so sign up for news-letters and stay updated.
Things To Ask Yourself…
Will You Use What’s Included?
The meaning of “all inclusive” seems to vary between hotels, and some might include less than others and still call it “all inclusive”.
Ask yourself if you really are going to use what’s included? My sister went on an all inclusive vacation last month, and ate at other restaurants every day – not using the free food at the hotel.
Will You Want What’s Not Included?
Say you stay at an all inclusive resort in Orlando, but want to spend all day every day at Disneyland and have to pay for taxi there, entrance ticket and food there – maybe it would have been cheaper to stay in the theme park instead?
Also remember to count the flight there and back – taking all inclusive vacations from Toronto down to Brazil might look cheaper on the price of the resort than one in Florida, but the flight ticket might cost you a lot more.
Look For Your Likes
Does the resort have other things to do?
Does it offer sport facilities like tennis courts, golf course, kayaks etc?
What are some of the excursions you can take from there, and do they seem like something you would like to do?
Remember that even beach bums want a change of pace, so make sure your resort can offer something to do.
Is It Worth It?
See what really is included in the price, what kind of food is offered – if you’re not a drinker you might not find the “free alcohol” very appealing, and the days of the buffet dinners are long gone, many resorts offer better dining options today.
Also find out if you could have gotten it cheaper by arranging food and accommodation on your own for the same quality.
Do you take all inclusive vacations? If so, what’s the best all inclusive vacation you’ve taken?
(photo credit: 1)