By Rosanne Coloccia
Preferred Travel Services
Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew almost to the penny what you’d spend on hotel, food, beverages and some activities BEFORE you went on vacation? If your plans include an all-inclusive resort, you’re well on your way!
I’ve sometimes heard all-inclusive resorts called “a cruise on land.” That’s certainly a colorful description, but where your ship takes you to several destinations, many all-inclusives are destinations unto themselves, making this type of vacation very relaxing. I’ve also found an all-inclusive vacation to be very budget-friendly and a terrific value.
I get questions about all-inclusive vacations all the time. Let’s take a look at a few of the more popular ones:
What’s really included in an ‘all-inclusive’?
The vast majority of all-inclusive properties will include all meals and beverages – including alcohol – in your package, along with your accommodations. Many will also include a variety of activities under the heading of “non-motorized water sports.” What does that mean? It means things like snorkeling from the beach, boogie boards, sail boards and a variety of water toys. Higher-end resorts may also include “motorized” water sports like scuba diving and water skiing. Some deluxe resorts will also include things like golf, horseback riding, and day excursions in the mix. Many even include your tips!
Won’t I get bored eating at the same place everyday?
In a word, no. Virtually all the resorts have multiple restaurants and dining options right there on property. The menus are varied each day and often the dining areas will offer theme nights, leaving you less likely to get tired of your selections. Many chains also have a “stay at one, play at all” policy where you can use the facilities of sister properties in the area. The various Sandals resorts all over the Caribbean offer this policy, while the Palace resorts, Iberostar and RIU properties in places like the Cancun/Riviera Maya also encourage you to resort hop, helping you make the most of your stay.
Where are the best all-inclusives?
Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are famous for their posh resorts, but I would add a few other islands to that list – St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos and Antigua. I’d also advise against all-inclusives in places like Grand Cayman and St. Thomas. For Grand Cayman, I don’t know if it’s because the chains that do this type of property so well are not currently operating on this lovely island, but in my opinion, the few that are here are not worth the extra money. In the case of St. Thomas, there are two very nice all-inclusives, but their locations aren’t the best - they sit up on bluffs instead of on the beach. The views are great, but you’ve got a little hike to get to the sand.
Who should consider all-inclusive resorts?
In my opinion, everyone. There are properties that cater to couples, families and singles of all ages, and in a variety of great destinations. There used to be a school of thought that if you weren’t a big consumer of alcohol, all-inclusives weren’t much of a bargain for you, but these days, that’s just not true. Non-alcoholic beverages – including smoothies and juice drinks – can be quite pricey. Not having to keep a running tab on what your family is ordering by the pool will raise your relaxation quotient considerably, as well as please your pocketbook.
While not every great vacation destination has this kind of property – Hawaii being the most glaring instance in my book – consider an all-inclusive if it does. You’ll be glad you did.
Rosanne Coloccia is a travel writer, travel lover, and travel veteran, having been a part of the industry, as both agent and explorer, for the better part of 19 years. Contact her at Preferred Travel Services, 602-603-9300, or at Rosanne@preferredtravelservices.com.
You may remember Rosanne Coloccia as "the travel lady" on KTVK's top-rated Good Morning Arizona, where she brought you travel tips and destination information for more than 14 years. She is delighted to once again be part of the travel industry that she loves, and Preferred Travel Services is more than delighted to have her on our team.