How to choose an all-inclusive resort

All-inclusives are a popular vacation option for everyone from honeymooners to extended families, but it pays to do a little bit of advance research (and get some advice from your travel agent) to make sure you’re choosing the right all-inclusive resort for you.

Naturally, you’ll want to choose a destination that fits your interests, and a resort that offers the amenities (and pricing) that you’re looking for, but there are some more subtle differences that you might not think to ask about. Here are some of the important nuances that can make the difference between a good vacation choice and a great one:

  • Who is the resort aimed at? Is it couples-only? Adults-only (allowing singles and couples)? Are same-sex couples welcome?  Is it family-friendly?  If it’s a resort that allows guests of all ages, is there a separate adults-only section within the resort for those that don’t want to be around children?
  • What are the dining options? Some all-inclusives have primarily buffet restaurants while others offer a variety of a la carte restaurants as well. If the resort offers a mix of both types, are guests limited to the number of times they can eat in the sit-down restaurants? And are there some menu items that involve a surcharge (i.e. lobster)?
  • What beverages are included? Is it only domestic (local) brands of alcohol? Is your favorite top-shelf brand included, or will you have to pay a surcharge for that?
  • Are dining reservations required? If so, what is the procedure – can you make all your reservations at the beginning of the week, or do you need to call each day?
  • Is there a dress code? Some require long pants, closed toe shoes, and other attire that you may not want to pack for a stay in the tropics.
  • What resort activities are included in the all-inclusive rate? Most include all the non-motorized watersports, but if you’re a snorkel or SCUBA fanatic, you might want to choose a resort that also includes these activities.
  • How far is it from the airport, and what tours/excursions are available nearby?

With some advance planning and the professional advice of a trusted travel consultant, there’s sure to be a perfect all-inclusive resort out there for you!

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)