7 Things to Consider Before Booking an All-Inclusive Vacation

It's Summer and Time to Plan a Vacation. Should You Go All-Inclusive?

Cocktails by the pool
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It’s summertime, the living is easy and you might be planning a getaway to enjoy the warm weather. Booking an all-inclusive vacation may seem like a good option if you don't want to spend hours researching airfare or hotel rates, or looking for activities to fill your time while you're away. All-inclusive vacation packages also have the potential to save you money on a summer trip, depending on where you book.

Before committing to an all-inclusive vacation, it's helpful to consider the costs involved and the benefits. If you're ready to get going with your summer travel plans, here are seven things to keep in mind when researching all-inclusive vacation options.

1. Decide What You Want From a Vacation

The word vacation means different things to different people. To some, it’s all about relaxation — laying at the beach or by the pool all day, having the flexibility to eat and drink as much as they want, taking in some outdoor activities by day and a little entertainment by night. For others, a vacation is all about having an adventure and enjoying new experiences.

Think about how you plan to spend your time on vacation. Are you interested in doing all the traditional touristy things or are you looking for some more unique experiences? Do you plan to spend most of your time at the hotel or go out exploring? Compare your vacation ideal to what different resorts offer to see which one might be the best fit.

2. Know What All-Inclusive Really Means

Be sure to ask a lot of questions about what all-inclusive actually entails before you book a trip. You don't want to be caught off-guard by extra fees for certain amenities or find out that the hotel doesn't even offer something you were expecting. For example, ask whether the resort offers things like water sports, meals and drinks, transportation to and from the airport. Also, ask what's not included so you know if there are any additional charges involved.

Many resorts charge a daily resort fee to cover extras such as dry cleaning, local calls and internet access. Before booking, make sure these fees are fully disclosed.

3. Consider Accommodations

Yes, that big with a room with the gorgeous view of the ocean looks amazing, but is that the room that you are going to be in? Likely no. Be sure to ask multiple questions about the room that they are going to book you in, including where it is on the hotel property, how big it is, how many beds and the size of the beds, whether or not there is a view, what floor the room is on, and if there is any construction at the hotel going on nearby your room.

You may also ask them if there is enough availability for a potential upgrade once you arrive if you are unhappy with the accommodations. One thing to keep in mind if you're focused on saving money is that some larger all-inclusive resorts may offer discounts when you book multiple rooms, which may come in handy if you're taking a large group along.

4. Weigh Perks Against Cost

 If you're choosing an all-inclusive vacation option merely because it seems like a good deal, ask yourself whether it's the best use of your money. You want to spend your money on a vacation that you know that you’ll truly enjoy and visit a place that you really want to visit. Even if the dollar savings look attractive, you don't want to end up unhappy while you're there, since the whole point of your vacation will be defeated.

5. Don't Jump on a Deal Without Doing Your Research 

Just remember that you get what you pay for. Deals are sometimes cheap for a reason, and you don’t want to spend your money or time having a bad experience.

Take time to compare pricing packages at various all-inclusive resorts to see what they're charging. Then, cross-check those numbers against your budget. And look for ways you could potentially save on your trip without having to cut corners or sacrifice any of the must-haves you're looking for in a vacation.

Check your travel rewards cards for special discounts or savings on all-inclusive vacation packages. Many cards offer upgrades and deals to cardholders in good standing.

6. Be Prepared for the Crowds

Are you someone that loves crowds or do you like a more tranquil setting? Many all-inclusive vacations are offered at heavily trafficked destinations and resorts. If the thought of possibly fighting over a lounge chair or waiting on lines to get into one of the resort restaurants doesn’t sound appealing, an all-inclusive vacation is probably not a great idea. Even if the expense is lower, it won’t be worth your happiness if you are accustomed to and enjoy a more boutique hotel experience with fewer people and waiting times. 

7. Get Recommendations From People Who Have Been to an All-Inclusive Resort

Be sure to get sound advice from someone that you trust, to be honest with you about their all-inclusive vacation experience. Ask them exactly what they liked or didn't like and what they might do differently the next time they're planning an all-inclusive trip. Don't rely on a travel agent to give you an unbiased opinion, as they may be focused on garnering a large commission for selling you an all-inclusive package.

Have you tried an all-inclusive vacation? What did you like the most? The least? Remember to weigh all your options before making any big trip decisions.