Is an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation the right choice for you?
With more and more all-inclusive resorts being built or re-modeled into all-inclusives in many Caribbean destinations, we’re receiving more inquiries from our readers on whether an all-inclusive resort would be a good vacation choice for them. After all, vacation dollars are hard to come by and no matter what your vacation budget; you want to choose the best accommodation for you and your family.
We enjoy staying in all types of accommodations during our Caribbean travels, and enjoy staying in a variety of accommodations ranging from cruise ships to catamarans, high end resorts to budget resorts, villas to condos, etc., and, all-inclusive resorts. We’ve had the pleasure – mostly (with only one negative experience) of enjoying quite a few all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and even one in St. Croix. So, how do we decide whether or not to stay at an all-inclusive? What are some things to consider prior to booking?
The first thing to know right off the bat is that all all-inclusives are not equal and all-inclusives are not available everywhere. Do your research, ask your friends, look at on-line reviews, call the resort with questions and then enjoy what can be an excellent stress-free vacation! All-inclusive resorts can be an excellent value for the money and an easy way to budget vacation dollars by including all of your meals, drinks and entertainment in one price!
Here are some things to consider:
1. Are you a foodie? Be sure to look for the all-inclusives that offer a wide range of dining options, including fine dining. Some offer buffet dining only, but many offer dining at several themed and very nice restaurants on site. In addition to premium dining experiences, some resorts also offer or include premium wine & other liquor options.
2. Do you just want to relax at the resort all week? Look for a resort that offers the amenities you desire, i.e., a great beach, good swimming pools, golf, tennis, water-sports, nightly entertainment, etc.
3. Want to explore the island outside of your resort? Look for a resort that offers good excursion packages, or if you’re like us and like to see what you want without traveling in a larger group, choose a resort that is in good proximity to the sights you want to explore.
4. Want to enjoy some pampering at the spa? Many resorts offer spa services (most at an additional cost) such as a wide range of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc., and some have over-the-top spa facilities offering some of the finest pampering around.
5. Is the resort family-friendly or adult only? There are some terrific all-inclusives that cater to the young ‘uns with resort attractions (lazy rivers, waterslides, kiddie pools), entertainment and dining options. If you’re traveling without children, you may want to opt for an adult-only resorts that offer amenities, dining options and entertainment geared more for the grown-ups.
5. Pricing. There are all-inclusive resorts geared for the budget minded all the way to luxury all-inclusives, and there can be a huge difference in amenities and level of services. If you’re traveling on a budget and don’t require a lot of services or amenities, you might opt for the less expensive resorts. If you want to be completely pampered, there are resorts that can offer that to you, at a higher price, of course. Again, just do your research to make sure there are very few surprises when you arrive.
6. Transfers. Does the accommodation provide transfers to the facility? This is not a big deal in some cases, but if you will have to travel quite a distance from the airport and are not renting a car, having transfers included in your package can be a big bonus.
7. Last, but certainly not least – your room. Again, there can be a BIG difference in the rooms provided at all-inclusives – as with other resorts. What are the rooms amenities? Does it include a decent sized safe? Is there a mini-bar (usually included in the price) or refrigerator? In room hot tub? Is it located in a good area of the resort? (Check to see if there is a map of the rooms on the website) Is it size that will comfortably accommodate your party? Is the bed size guaranteed? If you can’t find this information on the website, you might try to call the resort to see.
Have you enjoyed vacationing at an all-inclusive resort? What did you like the most about it?
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