All-inclusive means good travel
What are people talking about?
Maybe you have heard a friend, co-worker or family member mention a great all-inclusive trip to Mexico they had but you aren't sure what they were talking about. You certainly aren't alone! Hopefully the information below will cover what you need to know for a good traveling experience
Whether it's a honeymoon, family get away, looking to party or quiet retreat, there is an all-inclusive resort just right for you.
See why an all-inclusive concept is superior to the pay as you go option, and see the difference between the inclusions of a cruise versus an all-inclusive resort.
Going hungry....not possible!
A bountiful variety at a lunch buffet
An Elegant dining experience
No pulling out your wallet, just say thank you!
The first time I stayed at an all-inclusive property, it felt very odd at first. My husband and I had gone to Jamaica and stayed at Couples Swept Away which is in Negril.
After checking into our room, the first thing we did was make reservations at one of the nicer restaurants on the property. Reservations are required usually for the gourmet and specialty restaurants so make sure you are aware so you don't miss out on a great dining experience, (they typically have limited seating and book up quickly). Most all-inclusive properties have a minimum of four restaurants and some, like Sandals for instance, allow you to eat at one of their other properties as well, which can bring your restaurant options up to ten or more to choose from!
When we were seated that evening at the restaurant the waiter (in white gloves) handed us a menu which had a wide variety of appetizers, soups, salads, main entrees and deserts to choose from. It was just amazing to order each course along with a bottle of wine to enjoy with our dinner and know there would be no bill delivered when we were finished. The atmosphere was upscale and elegant, a true feeling of pampering. After a wonderfully satisfying meal we thanked our waiter and off we went.
The next morning we ate at a huge breakfast buffet (although we also had a choice of an a la carte breakfast at another restaurant which we ate at the following day).
All properties have a bar grill or snack area where you can get nachos, burgers, etc most of the day.
As each day went by we tried another place to have lunch and dinner. It's fun to experience the different cuisine each property offers. They always have a restaurant with local fare such as in Jamaica you will find a restaurant specializing in Jamaican or Rastafarians foods like jerk chicken, Ackee and Salt fish, Jamaican patties etc. They also all have a buffet for breakfast, lunch and usually even dinner as well as several more choices like Italian, Mexican and Chinese to name a few.
No claustrophobic safety drills
Standing room only in a cruise ship pool
Instead swim up to the bar for a cocktail..free
Room service...yes, but on your large resort balcony on in a small cabin?
A cruise versus all inclusive
There are people who love to cruise and that's fine. They love the open seas and moving from place to place. In areas of the world where all-inclusive packages are not an option then cruising could be a good choice. Personally though, I feel cruises are too restrictive. The rooms are small (restrictive), the pool is small, drinks are limited, (a charge for alcoholic beverages and cola drinks go on your room account, or you can pre-pay for a cola package on some cruise lines). Meal times, although getting better on some cruise lines, are time restrictive by having to choose between an early or late seating which you then are locked into. There are additional taxes not included in the advertized cruise price as well as expected tips to pay on the last day. Although you do travel to different destinations on each cruise itinerary, the time spent at port is so limited you often are rushed to accomplish one excursion before you have be on board the ship again, (and go through security each time). It takes more then a few hours to get a good feel of the area or the people.
Although the basic cruise price can be quite alluring, the bill on the last day can be quite a shocker...... "No way did I have that many cocktails, not to mention the four pictures the photographer took around the ship plus the three excursions, and, ah crumb.....now I have tips to pay as well!"
What an all-inclusive has over a cruise:
- Larger rooms, most with balconies
- Much larger bathrooms
- All drinks including alcohol and colas
- Tips and taxes
- Meals any time you choose with many options for dining
- Non-motorized water sports like canoes, hobby cats, snorkeling gear (each property has different options, but all include some. See below for more info.
- Land activities such as tennis, and racquet ball
- No sea sickness
- Beautiful, manicured grounds
- No crowded feeling
- Time for more exploring and getting to know the culture better
- No security checks before or after a tour excursion
What water activities are offered?
Do you like to golf?
Don't worry about a thing
One day we took a Catamaran cruise, another day went golfing...everything included! Couples Resorts in Jamaica have a lot of extra types of excursions included that you don't usually get at most all-inclusive resorts, but sometimes a wholesaler such as GOGO Worldwide Vacations will add in specials exclusively when booking through their company. As an example GOGO has what's called "My Time" which, when certain all-inclusive's are booked, additional inclusions such as golf at the Majestic Colonial in Dominican Republic are included. Each property offered in the "My Time" package has it's own unique "My Time" inclusions. GOGO only works with travel agents though so call your local travel agent or you can check out my article on traveling which not only gives you tips on traveling, but also has a link to two great experienced agents ready to help you.
I wish this type of vacation was an option everywhere, alas, the all-inclusive concept works best only in certain parts of the world. The lion share of all-inclusive properties are in the Caribbean and Mexico. Although a few properties have tried it in the Hawaiian Islands, it has not proven cost effective.
When you talk to your travel agent she/he can find the one right for you and your budget. You will definitely want to package your trip with airfare as well as transfers (transportation to and from the airport). Be sure to set your transfers when booking your trip. This way, not only will that wallet stay put when you get there, but there will be no confusion when you leave the airport baggage area as there are many pushy vendors that will otherwise try to sell you transfers and more! Just know the name of the transfer company you are looking for as there always are representatives with signs or booths to take care of you.
Tailor made vacation
Decide on which suits your tastes better, a tropical Caribbean getaway or maybe a Mexican destination rich in historic Mayan ruins like Cancun. Choose what you'd like included. Did you want to golf or have scuba diving included? If a particular excursion is not available as part of the all-inclusive price, the tour can be pre-paid before you go if you'd prefer. What price are you looking at spending? When you have an idea then call your travel agent. They have the resources to give you a tailor made trip of a lifetime, an all-inclusive means good, no, great travel!