Thinking about doing an all inclusive vacation? They're certainly popular and chances are at least one of your friends has done one. Are they really your best bet though? There are many pros and cons to consider as you'll see below. Any big vacation takes a lot of research (which is part of the fun!) so no matter what you decide to do, just make sure that it's a good fit financially.
1. You know what you'll be spending! This is probably the biggest selling point for anyone who books an all inclusive vacation.
2. Alcohol is covered. At many nice resorts that aren't all inclusive, you'll end up paying close to $20 for a cocktail at times. If you're getting away for a nice adults-only week somewhere tropical with your partner, you will probably want to enjoy a couple of drinks so unless you're doing one of the all inclusive Caribbean vacations such as the ones offered by Couples Resorts, you'll probably end up going broke just to have a nice night. Who wants to have to worry about not being able to afford a pina colada when they're trying to relax?
3. Food is covered. Obviously you'd be eating anyway right? This way, you know what you're spending though, and you can really enjoy yourself and not have to worry about what each meal is going to cost you.
4. If you have kids then a family all inclusive package is a great idea because you will almost definitely end up saving money. Kids meals just don't cut it for most kids over the age of 10 so all those meals add up. Also most family packages at resorts come with cool activities that the kids will love. There's a great list of some good family packages on Travel and Leisure's site, so you can see the wide range of options.
1. Choices of where to eat can be very limited. If you're a picky eater, you might not find what you want but if you're not, you should be ok. Most all inclusive packages give you a specific guideline for where you can eat.
2. If you don't drink, you're probably going to end up paying more than you would if you didn't go all inclusive. That is also true if you don't tend to eat very much as most of the prices are based on people who eat a lot and have several drinks a day. If you don't drink AND you don't even drink soda or tea you'll definitely be spending too much.
3. Not all activities are covered by all inclusive packages so you may decide to go on a side trip somewhere and find out that you're having to pay for it yourself.
4. If you've already paid for an all inclusive package but decide you don't like the food at the covered establishments you may be a bit depressed about the idea of spending even more money finding something you like, so that could end up backfiring if you're unhappy with what they give you.
Bottom line: All inclusive vacations have come a long, long way recently. The food is better for one thing, with some resorts giving you some seriously high end gourmet options. A lot of family packages are structured to give the adults some much needed alone time while the kids are supervised doing activities that are fun for them. Make sure you read the reviews of the resort though, as sometimes this will be where you'll see something that's a deal maker or breaker. Happy traveling!