2005-05-26 / Travel

All Inclusive Resorts Make For Complete Summer Vacation

All inclusive resorts are a great vacation option for families and multi-generational groups. Many resorts are at beach locations offering water activities like sailing, snorkeling or relaxing walks along the shoreline. 
(Photo courtesy of Club Med.)  
All inclusive resorts are a great vacation option for families and multi-generational groups. Many resorts are at beach locations offering water activities like sailing, snorkeling or relaxing walks along the shoreline. (Photo courtesy of Club Med.) Planning a vacation can be an intimidating, time-consuming experience. Even after the vacation’s begun, it can be daunting to find activities, navigate roads in an unfamiliar place and keep everyone happy.

It’s no wonder vacationers choose all-inclusive resorts as one-stop shopping for their next trip.

“Value and convenience are the reasons more and more travelers are turning to all-inclusive resorts,” said Mag-gie Rivera, director of public relations and sales promotions for Sandals and Beaches Resorts. “Time-crunched folks appreciate the convenience of making one call that offers all the elements of a fabulous vacation from accommodations and dining to off-site excursions, tennis, water sports, golf and more.”

Vacations at all-inclusive resorts can vary widely. Each resort has its own personality, with most catering either to couples or families. Resorts for couples offer a romantic atmosphere, while family resorts offer plenty of activities to keep the kids busy. For couples or families, an all-inclusive vacation can be either laid-back or activity-packed.

Kathy Sudeikis is president of the American Society of Travel Agents and vice president of corporate relations at All About Travel in Mission, Kansas. “Generally,” she said, “all-inclusive va-cations include accommodations, meals, drinks, transfers to and from the airport, non-motorized sports, gratuities and taxes.”

Overall, all-inclusive resorts are a terrific value, she said. “They’re great for anyone who wants all food and activities included in a vacation,” she said. “You don’t feel nickel-and-dimed to death during the vacation.”

Probably the biggest advantage is knowing what the vacation will cost up front, without being hit with a huge bill when leaving the resort. For example, taxes in Mexico can be 20 to 30 percent, which can add up to an un-pleasant surprise at the end of the trip. An all-inclusive resort generally would have included taxes in the price quoted in advance. 

Smart travelers realize the benefit of being able to budget the vacation in advance.

It is realistic to spend an entire week at the resort and have no need for cash. Of course, anything off-site will cost money, and some excursions and alcoholic drinks may not be included. A travel agent or resort staff member can explain those exclusions before booking the vacation.

Most all-inclusive resorts offer traditional vacation fun such as swimming, lounging and golf, and many offer much more. Activities can be as out of the ordinary as circus classes and perks as nontraditional as cigars.

A vacationer might expect fitness classes and tennis, but what about softball and soccer, even archery? Many all-inclusive resorts are at beach locations, so water activities such as sailing, snorkeling and kayaking are popular.

Some even have special areas for children and teens that include all kinds of activities, from arts and crafts to games and sports. Older children are offered activities catered to their age group, while activities or child care is available (sometimes at an extra charge) for young children.

Although sports and entertainment are usually available all day, every day, some vacationers choose to skip the activities and just relax.

One frequent selling point in all-inclusive vacations is that all meals are included. Sudeikis offered a couple tips on choosing a resort with the best dining options.

She suggested that travelers check to see if meals are at sit-down restaurants or buffet only. Buffet dining can sometimes be difficult and vacationers may tire of buffet-only eating. Also, check to see if dining reservations can be made in advance. Sometimes getting in line to make dinner reservations each morning can be a distraction from a relaxing vacation.

Sudeikis said that an unbiased third party is a necessity in determining what’s right for each family. “Even when you do your own research on the Internet, you may not know the resort’s personality,” she said. “A travel agent can tell you what you can’t learn by searching the Internet.”

She suggested travelers consider more than just price when choosing a resort. The vacation will be miserable if eating and sleeping conditions are not up to the standard that is expected.

“They truly are wonderful vacations,” she said. But an essential piece of the vacation comes beforehand, if travelers do their homework and ensure they are choosing a resort that is right for them.

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