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What you need to know about all-inclusive resorts!

Updated: Mar 15

Some refresher info, or first-timer pro tips

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Let’s dive into the world of all-inclusive vacations, where your every need is met with a smile and the hardest decision you might face is whether to lounge by the pool or on the beach. An all-inclusive vacation is your golden ticket to a stress-free paradise, but let's make sure you're armed with all the insider knowledge to make the most of it.

The All-Inclusive Promise: What Does It Really Mean?

An all-inclusive resort bundles up the joys of a vacation into one neat package. This typically includes your accommodation, unlimited food and drinks, activities, entertainment, and sometimes even gratuities. The appeal is clear: you can virtually leave your wallet at home. But since not all packages are created equal, here are a few extra pearls of wisdom:

Food: One of the best things about an all-inclusive resort is the range of included dining options, from buffets to à la carte restaurants. Occasionally the finest dining venues or specific dishes may cost extra, but you can always find a large range of included dishes and restaurants. Pro tip: Be sure you know the resort's dining policies before you go. Some require reservations or have a dress code. (I can help you with that info!)

Drinks: Unlimited drinks include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, but the fine print might exclude premium brands or specialty cocktails. If you’re interested in fine wines or aged spirits, check what's covered.

Activities: Water sports, fitness classes, live entertainment—so many activities are included!  However, the included watersports usually just mean the nonmotorized ones; motorized things like jet ski rentals will incur an extra charge. Usually the resort features like the gym, pool, and sports facilities are also included, although there may be premium-level exclusive rooms with their own lounge, pool, and section of the beach. Diving excursions, spa treatments, and golf are nearly always billed separately. Ask me about inclusions and fees so you can budget for any must-do experiences.


Finding the Right Resort For You

Your ideal resort is out there, but with so many options, where do you start?

Check out the scenery: Are you looking for the perfect beach? Large waves crashing so you can work on surfing or boogie boarding? A secluded jungle retreat with local flora and fauna? Location sets the stage for your vacation, so choose a backdrop that works for you.

Atmosphere: Solo adventure, romantic escape, family fun, or a wellness getaway—resorts specialize in different experiences. Decide what you’re going for, and look for one that aligns with your vacation vision.

Guest info: Reviews are helpful. They shed light on the real resort experience, beyond glossy website photos. Ask me about guest reviews, or dig into them yourself.


Booking: Securing Your Spot in Paradise

With the perfect resort in your sights, here are some savvy booking tips:

The Details: Most all-inclusives include little things like Wi-Fi and gratuities. Check to see if your resort does, so you know what to expect.

Timing: Prices can swing significantly based on the season. Traveling off-peak or during shoulder season can save you a bundle and reduce crowds. Bonus: If you’re heading to a tropical location, the weather should be fantastic year-round! Ask me if you’re wondering about alternate pricing during different dates.

Insurance: Travel insurance isn't just for show. It can cover unexpected trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and more. Consider it peace of mind in your pocket.

Making the Most of Your All-Inclusive Experience

You’ve booked! Now what? Here’s how to max out on the all-inclusive experience:

  • Explore Your Eating Options: With multiple restaurants on offer, try them all. Book those that require reservations early to avoid missing out.

  • Balance is Key: It's tempting to laze at the resort non-stop, but consider exploring the local area, too. Cultural tours or nature hikes can enrich your experience. Ask me for recommendations; I can always give you some ideas for some activities and sightseeing to try.

  • Tipping: Depending on where you’re staying, gratuities may be included with your rate. Remember though that exceptional service deserves recognition. A little extra tip can go a long way for someone who goes the extra mile.

  • Say Yes: With everything prepaid, it's the perfect opportunity to try new activities or foods. Be adventurous!

Where are all-inclusive resorts located?

There are a few all-inclusives in the U.S., Phuket, Bali, Fiji, and the Maldives, but most all-inclusive resorts are located in Mexico and the Caribbean. The best all-inclusives include some R&R, as well as activities on-site. Many of the resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean are set on large, beautiful grounds, with plenty of room for pools, beaches, evening entertainment, restaurants, and massages—all without leaving the property.



An all-inclusive vacation offers an irresistible blend of relaxation and adventure, with the added bonus of paying for everything up front. Every detail, from gourmet meals to thrilling activities, is designed for an unforgettable experience.

Be sure to research (or ask me!) the atmosphere of your resort (family-friendly, party, luxury, etc.) before you book, to make sure you’re getting what you think you are. Don’t book just on price—that too-good-to-be-true price might be because the resort hasn’t been renovated for 20 years. But with your research done, everything paid for, and  and your food, drink, and entertainment all taken care of, your biggest worry might just be choosing between the beach or the pool.


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