The "all inclusive" concept is proving to be very popular. For one established price, the guest pays for room, meals, drinks, and many activities. It certainly helps with pre holiday budgeting, but there are misconceptions as well.
One misconception is that "all inclusive" means less expensive. Not so. The truly budget conscious could spend considerably less by doing some of their own, by cooking or by making prudent restaurant decisions. There are other considerations, when selecting an all inclusive resort: Will it be the same buffet every day? How many restaurants to choose from? Any restrictions on menu selections or choice of a restaurant? One advantage of the room only "European plan" resorts is the freedom to choose an offsite restaurant.
Many consider the complimentary resort activities (entertainment, watersports, etc.) to be an important component of the "all inclusive" concept, and they are. However, such activities are often complimentary at many "European plan" beachfront resorts as well. At all inclusive resorts tours, sunset cruises, scuba diving, etc. usually require extra payment. Be sure to find out exactly what is included in the basic price and what is not.
For many people, the simplicity of the "all inclusive" will remain the major priority. It is still the best way to stay on your budget. For many of us a holiday has been spoiled by unanticipated costs along the way. Each traveler needs to decide which system is the best for them, and we hope that our "local knowledge" assists in informed decision making.
All-inclusive resorts, however, are usually preferred by families with kids. Almost all parents find it comfortable to leave their kids with professional coordinators, who will provide a child with all necessary things, amenities and activities during vacations. At the same time, parents can just relax, being assured in their child's safety.
Top features of all-inclusive vacations for families are the following. Let's start off with the built-in attractions: climate and beach; extravagant pools: top properties compete with waterslides, waterfalls, even private waterparks, beautiful surroundings: some properties have spectacular grounds; grown-up pampering: a fitness center, spa, and at least one fine-dining restaurant.
Watersports: non-motorized watersports such as kayaks; windsurfing; sunfish sailing; water-trampolines. Some resorts include snorkeling boat trips and scuba.
Kids programs: many resorts have a basic kids' club for ages from four till 12. Others go all out, with separate programs for 4 or 5 age divisions. Teens are a difficult age to please, but some properties try hard, with teen activities, and teen coordinators.
Family activities include: bingo, scavenger hunts, beach parties are popular. Most places offer nightly entertainment too, ranging from cute-but-amateurish to professional caliber. Many resorts have weekly theme nights.
Meal-time convenience: - multiple restaurants, including casual poolside snacks. Buffets feed kids quickly with no waiting; many buffets have a kids' section. Most resorts have a la carte restaurants also, sometimes adults-only.
Thus, most "all-inclusive resorts" include almost-but-not-quite-everything: that is, all meals and snacks, drinks, kids' programs, certain watersports and other activities.