All-Inclusive Vacations: To Book or Not to Book?

To book all-inclusive, or not to book all-inclusive? That is the question.

Is shelling out for an all-inclusive your best option? Do you see the price tag and shudder? Or have you piece-mealed vacation prices and scrambled your brain over numerous itineraries, and realized that all-inclusive may be the best thing since sliced bread?!

I got my taste of all-inclusive, and I’m here to help you make your decision a lot easier.

PROS to Booking All-Inclusive

  • Convenience
  • One time payment
  • You need some R&R
  • Everything you need is at your fingertips*

*Maybe not EVERYTHING, but definitely the essentials – food, drink, gym, basics.

All-inclusive holidays have a larger price sticker up front, but after you’ve broken open your piggy bank, a huge feeling of relief should overtake you. Your holiday is sorted and you can relax, and not feel inclined to have to plan a single thing.


So, what does all-inclusive mean?

All-inclusive could mean two things: 1) Your flight, transfers, accommodations, food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks), drink (water, soft drinks, select alcohol), is all taken care of; 2) Everything in 1 EXCEPT the flight and transfers – so make sure you read the fine print before booking! Sometimes you’ll see a little plane symbol included in the picture, but it doesn’t mean the flight is included, it just means flights are available!

Technically*, you could go on this holiday and not spend anything more than what you’ve paid the company you’ve booked your holiday through!

I say technically* because the only thing you should bring money for if you’ll stay at the resort the entire time is money for tipping! Before you go and change your money out for a different currency (if needed) make sure you look at the exchange rate because most of the time, if your currency is a higher value they will want your actual money instead of theirs.

Ex/ In Egypt they go by the Egyptian Pound which is a 1:23 ratio to the Pound, or 1:17 to the USD. In Egypt, they would much rather have £1 or $1 than one of their notes since it’s value will always be higher. Some people actually ASKED to be tipped in our home currency, so keep that in mind when debating whether or not to pay the exchange fee!

Best all-inclusive destinations

Anywhere with a beach. Somewhere, where you want to lounge and not explore the city. In my opinion you are putting a lot of money upfront so get your money’s worth. If you’re booking an all-inclusive it should be because you need some serious R&R, and don’t care to leave the resort walls.

Also – when you’re checking out where to go, make sure it’s the style of resort you want.

Ex/ There are some resorts which are adults only, which is fantastic for couples wanting to get away. There are also some resorts which are extra family and kid-friendly, which fit the bill for those family getaways. This is where reviews can really help you understand the atmosphere and make sure it’s in line with what you’re wanting for your vacation!

So am I stuck at the hotel?

You’re most likely at a resort, and no! They usually will have some service into the nearby town to explore but if you’ve booked a stellar property there should be more than enough to keep you busy. Usually, there are multiple a la carte restaurants, evening entertainment, clubs, bars, gym facilities, a spa, and then some extras depending on where you’re at.

Some locations/programs will have excursions, of course at an additional cost, so if you’re a fan of organized fun or they feature something you’ve been dying to kick off your bucket list (for me it was riding a camel!) then I say go for it! Usually you’ll meet some friends on these, and they’re run well.

CONS to Booking All-Inclusive

  • You want a city break, fast-paced holiday
  • If you like to drink and are NOT OK with bottom shelf liquor
  • You want to experience life like a local/want to explore the city

If you want a city break, you should probably piece meal an itinerary because you’ll want to be out and about. This means you’ll end up somewhere for lunch or dinner and you’ll be paying out of pocket for something that you’ve ALREADY paid for. It doesn’t make sense. So if you’re wanting to really get to know a city, and immerse yourself in the food, culture, etc – then customise your holiday and piece it together yourself.

It all comes down to the experience you want, and there’s a time and place for everything. I’m sure in life you’ll want a complete reset, and when that comes I say you need to do an all-inclusive. It is absolutely meant for making life easy for you, which is music to some people’s ears.

If you’re wanting to run around a city and explore, I would say all-inclusive is probably just not for you right now. (Need inspiration for city itineraries? Check out my posts on Copenhagen, Barcelona, and London!)

You’re ready to book your all-inclusive, it looks like an amazing deal BUT before you book, please do me (and yourself) a favor and check off these 4 things!

What to look for before you book:

  1. Reviews. TripAdvisor the property backwards, forwards, upside down. You want to know from real people, what the area is like. I also like using the filters on the TripAdvisor website where you can click to see what couples have said, or families, etc. That will absolutely help you determine whether that property is right for you!
  2. Cancellation policies. It’s always helpful to know how committed you are to your holiday.
  3. The Fine Print. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting, words can be very tricky and though I’d like to think everyone is honest as apple pie, everyone likes money a whole lot more. Make sure before you put your card down, you’re happy with what you’re getting in return.
  4. The Area. How long is it from the airport, the city, and how much does that matter to you?

At the end of the day…. 

I think an all-inclusive vacation can be extremely relaxing, and gives you time to really zone out, zen in, and hit the reset button. I do believe that to get the best bang for your buck, you should take advantage of the full package. Eat at the hotel, drink at the hotel, use the gym, if the pool loungers are free – grab one right by the pool! Get to know the resort staff, and they’ll take care of you.

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