Jan 11, 2017

What to Know about Booking an All-Inclusive Vacation

All-inclusive vacations are gaining popularity, and it’s easy to see why; they’re effortless and affordable, packing many perks into a single vacation booking. Here’s what you need to know:

Different Types of All-Inclusive Vacations

Once you begin researching all-inclusive vacations you will discover that there are many types to choose from. Picking out which type you are interested in first will help narrow down your options and make it easier to find your own personal ideal vacation.

Adult only vacation packages include a stay at a quiet, relaxing resort that is child free. Adults can enjoy luxurious pools without youngsters squealing and splashing around them, and dinner in the onsite restaurants are often romantic affairs. You will also find they offer extras like swim up bars and spa treatments not found at family resorts.

All-inclusive family resorts offer everything a parent needs to keep their little ones happy. Pools will have slides, there are often onsite playgrounds, and they show outdoor movies in the evenings. Every member of the family will have fun without worrying that the kids are too loud. These resorts cater to Mom and Dad with onsite babysitting, organized kids’ clubs, and teen activities.

Many of the golf resort destinations now offer all-inclusive stays. Here you can enjoy all the perks of an all-inclusive resort along with golfing on championship courses. These resorts tend to have spectacular views from each suite that overlooks the greens or shoreline beaches.

If you’d rather visit a couple of destinations on your vacation, you can also try an all-inclusive cruise. Usually one to two weeks long, you can enjoy plenty of onboard entertainment while visiting different port cities and enjoying their culture. The most popular cruises are to the Caribbean or the Bahamas, but you can take a cruise almost anywhere in the world.

What to Look for Before Booking

Do not assume that by booking an all-inclusive vacation you will have every aspect of your trip paid for ahead of time. You need to do your research, and read the list of amenities offered in your package carefully.

Not every all-inclusive offer includes flights. Bundling transportation with your hotel room often results in deep discounts. Find out what it would cost you to bundle before booking to make sure you are saving money.

Book in groups when possible. If you are traveling with friends or extended family, you can often save more by booking at a group rate. Travel agents are willing to work with you. They can break the total price down so that each member of the group is responsible for their share.

Consider traveling off-season. Slower times of the year will result in a lower price and fewer crowds. The spring months such as late April, May, and June are ideal. Resorts want to fill their rooms during this lull before summer. To do so they offer excellent deals.

Once you have found an all-inclusive vacation you like, research information on the resort. Find out if they include drinks, food, activities, and entertainment in your package. Another money saving tip is to consider the resort’s tipping policy. If tips are not included in the all-inclusive price, you need to leave room in your budget for gratuities.

Common All-Inclusive Destinations

Mexico and Central America are some of the places that immediately come to mind when you think of an all-inclusive vacation. It is an ideal way to offer a relaxing trip to a remote location without any headaches. You’ll find wonderful options like Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos on the Pacific coast as well as Cozumel and Cancun on the Caribbean shores.

Europe doesn’t have the typical beach setting associated with an all-inclusive vacation, but they do offer some excellent choices. In contrast to a week on the beach, you can enjoy bicycling across France or a romantic river cruise through historical cities. Europe offers all-inclusive vacations in wonderful places like Italy, Greece, and Spain.

The Caribbean provides vacationers with water sports, beaches, diverse cultures, and beautiful natural landscapes. Popular islands such as St. Lucia, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic are home to water side resorts with onsite dining, spas, luxury pools, and other appealing amenities.

The United States has also found a way to offer exciting experiences to vacationers through all-inclusive packages. The variety of landscapes along with the changing seasons of the Northeast makes this a destination worth visiting. One can stay on a dude ranch in Montana or Wyoming to escape the city or travel to the Poconos for year-round fun. If you’re still longing for sunny beaches, try Florida. They have everything from romantic hot spots to a theme park paradise.

Where to Search and Book All-Inclusive Vacations

Once you find a resort you like, check the prices they are offering both online and by calling the resort directly. Many smaller resorts will give you a better rate over the phone than what you’ll find online. You also want to check online travel sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity that offer all-inclusive vacations in destinations around the world.

Do not rule out the second-tier travel sites. Lesser known travel companies may have a better rate available for your destination because they are trying to increase traffic to their own business. No matter where you book your vacation, you want to explore every possible option out there to get the best rate.

Watch out for extra charges before agreeing to a package. Look the list of amenities over carefully to see exactly what is included in the price you pay. Often, they will charge additional fees for things like internet service or off-site excursions. To keep your vacation under budget, book these additional activities ahead of time. You’ll get a better price online rather than waiting until you arrive at your destination.

Irina Mos / Shutterstock.com

Irina Mos / Shutterstock.com

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