Is an all
inclusive resort right for you
Author: Yuri Smolyansky
All-inclusive resorts can really help
vacationers get the most out of their travel dollars.
Today, over 400 hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico are
either all-inclusive resorts or offer all inclusive
Destinations such as Aruba, Cancun, St. Thomas, and
Bahamas have an infrastructure that is well suited to
all-inclusive and not all inclusive resorts because
there is a wide election of restaurants and amenities
for tourism. Jamaica and the Dominican Republic on the
other hand don't have the tourism infrastructure in
place and are best suited for all inclusive vacations.
You'll want to consider carefully before choosing an all
inclusive resort. Resorts do vary -- some are designed
for couples, some for singles, some for gays and some
for families. Some cater to a younger or older crowd.
There are also some that offer clothing-optional
activities. For obvious reasons, most of those don't
allow children under 18.
The resorts come in all shapes and sizes. Some include
airfare and hotel. Some include airfare, hotel,
transfers, and some meals. Others include all meals and
activities, but not airfare. Often, purchasing airfare
as part of the package can be a better deal than doing
so separately, unless you are using frequent flier
Many all inclusives have, as part of their program,
child-care facilities that are often a
resort-within-the-resort for children, a "day camp" that
is special and that kids look forward to attending. And
many all-inclusive resorts give incredible price breaks
to children (they don't drink liquor, after all,) while
some even have no charge for children up to 17 sharing
their parents' room.
What are the advantages of all-inclusive vacation
The security of knowing that one price covers
everything, with none of those nasty surprises that can
blast a hole in any family's travel budget. All meals,
entertainment, activities and sports, as well as airfare
and accommodations, are generally included in one price.
You can forget your worries about carrying lots of extra
cash for expenses, and just sit back and enjoy your
Who should check out an all inclusive?
Travelers who are: on a tight budget, traveling with the
kids, receiving the trip as a wedding gifts or getting
married on the honeymoon.
So, is an all inclusive resort right for you?
If you are the type of traveler that enjoys sampling all
of the local fare, then spending all of your time at an
all-inclusive resort is probably not for you. If you
like to go somewhere just to relax and not worry about
taking out your wallet every couple of hours to pay for
food, drinks, or activities, then there's probably an
all-inclusive resort that's just right for you.
If you like to stay up all night partying and drinking,
if you want to take advantage of all the included
watersports and activities, if you want to have food and
snacks available all day and if you don't want to have
to worry about the final bill when you check out, an
all-inclusive is definitely a viable option. Some
resorts even boast 24-hour room service.
All-inclusive resorts can be costly. On the other hand,
they can also provide great value. If you are going to a
destination where the cost of meals, snacks, liquor and
activities are expensive, and your hotel or resort is
high-quality with an expensive nightly rate, an all
inclusive might end up saving you money.
If, on the other hand, you don't drink much, you enjoy
lazing on the beach and getting an early nights sleep,
you are dieting and choose simple salads for your meals,
you would probably be overspending for an all-inclusive
resort. Bear in mind the drinks are only the cheap local
which are not very strong.
On the down side of all-inclusive vacations, some folks
get a bit weary of dining in the same restaurant night
after night. The resort rooms may be smaller than
standard hotel rooms. Some, not all of the all-inclusive
resorts provide shows. And some of them have different
show every night.
Some resorts have kids clubs for the little ones. Kids
clubs begin at any hotel at 4 years of age. Nannies or
babysitters are extra costs not included in the
all-inclusive package. Almost all the all inclusives
have activities from beach volleyball to bingo and other
It's a good idea if you want a cashless vacation in a
secured environment, if you are satisfied that the
dining options offered will be suitable for your tastes,
if you take advantage of the water sports, child-care
If you are adventurous and want to spend your days
exploring the country you are visiting and your evenings
trying in-town dining options, you would be better off
choosing a resort that offers that kind of flexibility
instead of an all inclusive.
What is usually included in all inclusive vacation
All meals and drinks, beer, wine, premium liquor and
tipping, government taxes, gratuities, entertainment,
activities and sports, as well as airfare and
accommodations, are generally included in one price.
Airfare and hotel transfers are optional when buying all
inclusive package. Tipping is not allowed. One benefit
of the all-inclusive resort is that the single up-front
price covers unlimited activities.
Phone calls and items purchased at the gift shop are
included. The more expensive all-inclusive resorts is
going to have the nice sit-down restaurants. The next
step down will have all buffet dining.
Tennis and squash courts may be free and often night-lit
courts at no charge, but bring your rackets, as you'll
probably have to pay to rent them. Most packages do not
include golfing fees. In most cases you have to rent a
golf cart, but compared to the price of play on most
courses, that cost is negligible. Sailing craft are free
as often as not. Snorkels, masks and fins are usually
free, but may have a time limit (note: bring masks from
home if you can, keeping in mind that the
one-size-fits-all variety is often useless on little
faces, leaving kids to snorkel miserably with a
face-full of salt
On-property snorkeling is free, but the most interesting
underwater sights are usually somewhere else. The latter
will cost you, if not for the snorkeling itself, then
for the transportation to get there and back. With
motorized sports costs can climb upwards of $60 an hour.
Parasailing is another costly venture. Divers, too,
might find an all-inclusive cost-effective. Tanks have
to be paid for separately, but diving excursions are
included in some of these resorts.
If you are not certified, most resorts
offer a "resort certification" which will allow you to
go on closely supervised guided dives. A resort
certification is a great introduction to the sport. If,
however, you are already a certified diver, some
resorts, such as Sandals, Beaches, and Gala Resorts,
offer one or two tank dives a day in their all-inclusive
Many all inclusive
resorts offer spa treatments as part of their packages,
with the option of paying for more intensive therapies.
Do not forget to budget extra cash for some excursions
that weren't included in all inclusive package. A swim
with the dolphins, for example, runs about $100 per
person -- more than small change if you're traveling
with a family of four.
Consider carefully these additional factors before
purchasing an all inclusive vacation package.
Price is often relative to quality. If it seems too good
to be true, it probably is. However, sometimes it's
possible to get an amazing and legitimate deal, as long
as you're looking in the right places - Apple Vacations,
Funjet Vacations, TNT Vacations and numerous smaller
Look for deals. Check websites for details. Check to see
what's included in the price, so you don't incur any
additional costs that you're not prepared to pay for.
Organize any visas and travel insurance policies well in
advance. Your tour operator and travel agent should
advise you on all of these but you should also contact
the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting
for information about visas.
It is important that you speak with your doctor about
the necessary immunizations for the areas you are
traveling to. When you're traveling in Mexico, you must
take extra care when it comes to drinking water, or
fresh beverages that may have tap water added to them.
Check ice also - ask if it was made with tap water - it
is unlikely that your ice will have been made with tap
water; but its worth asking in more rustic
establishments and rural areas. Salads can also be
dangerous if they have been rinsed with tap water. The
rule is - if in doubt, ask first! All main hotels and
good restaurants use purified water throughout
In order to be eligible for special honeymoon offers and
discounts, it's wise to take a copy of your marriage
certificate with you as proof that you are on honeymoon.
If you are a single parent, or if your partner will not
be traveling with you and your children for whatever
reason, you must get a notarized letter from the absent
parent, giving consent for the child or children to be
traveling with one parent absent.
If you are estranged from your partner, and you are the
legal guardian of your child / children, you can take a
copy of the court order (note: original only - no
copies!) with you and this will suffice to get your
child or children with you.
If you are a widow or widower, you will need to write a
letter to explain this and get it, and a copy of the
death certificate, notarized and carry both of these
documents with you when you travel.
If you are under 18 and want to travel without your
parents, you will need to carry with you a notarized
letter of consent signed by both parents.
If you are a lone parent or will be traveling with your
children but without your partner, or under 18 traveling
alone, get the required paperwork together before you
leave. Airlines are now refusing to board lone parents
and children and children traveling unaccompanied
without this notarized letter of consent.
Many hotels in Mexico set age restrictions during spring
break. Here's an example of many hotel Spring Break
policy: Hotel will accept individual and student group
bookings. A refundable deposit of $200 per person and
credit card are required at time of check in. Any credit
cards used must be issued in guest's name. Guests may be
required to sign an agreement/list of rules at check in.
At least one person per room must satisfy the minimum
age requirement for check in for individual student
bookings. At least one adult for every 20 students is
required for student group bookings.
If you or someone in your party is confined to a
wheelchair, you'll want to explore accessibility issues
very carefully. Ask your travel agent specific questions
that may concern you.
Always have a way out. Ask about cancellation policies,
and look into travel insurance, especially if you are
booking through an online agency. Choose wisely and make
sure the resort's amenities and programs fit your
lifestyle and character, and you'll have the time of
Here's some examples of deals: Apple Vacations "Sizzlin
and Funjet Vacations "Hot Deals" - www.funjet.com/hotdeals/
TNT Vacations "Special Deals" - ww2.tntvacations.com/SpecialDeals
More detailed information about over 400 all inclusive
hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico could be found at
This all inclusive vacations directory, which consists
of 36 main sections arranged alphabetically by
destination for quick and easy access, consolidates all
inclusive resort information not previously available
from any other single source. Researched and compiled by
a group of travel agents with experience in the Mexico
and Caribbean resorts, the directory offers a quick
shortcut to travel-related information on the Internet.
Each listing contains resort's web
address, reviews, and pictures, slide show, virtual
tour, virtual map and resort rating. For both seasoned
and inexperienced Internet all-inclusive vacation
seekers, SunVacations.org will eliminate hours of search
time. Instead of conducting key word searches, users can
simply reference destination descriptions in the
directory, and then go directly to the all inclusive
resort they want without having to sift through
information that is unrelated or unwanted.
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is a branch of the Iberostar
Group specializing in top quality holiday hotels
Iberostar.Info is the world's most comprehensive Mexico
and Caribbean Iberostar resorts photo source on the web,
containing over 1000 images. This unique Iberostar photo
collection features 11 resorts and consolidates
information not previously available from any other
single source. The same Iberostar hotels photo
collection could be also found at
http://www.sunvacations.org For more information
about other services and products choose from one of the
Yuri Smolyansky is a webmaster for
www.sunvacations.org - The most comprehensive all
inclusive resorts directory which features over 400