table for two overlooking ocean at sunset
All-inclusive resorts offer a myriad of amenities guaranteed to make your stay luxurious and fulfilling.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / courtneyk

How to Get the Most out of All-Inclusive Resorts

Create Your Perfect Trip

Regardless of whether you’ve never taken a resort vacation or are a seasoned pro, there are always ways to make your stay more memorable. The majority of resorts, especially in Mexico and the Caribbean, are all-inclusive now and offer a myriad of amenities guaranteed to make your stay luxurious and fulfilling.

Often there’s so much to see and do on the resort property there’s no need to even leave it at all. Resorts provide an opportunity to have the most enjoyable vacation experiences of your life, provided you know how to get the most out of them.

These tips for staying at all-inclusive resorts will ensure you get your money’s worth and have an enjoyable vacation.

Choose Your Priorities

Before embarking on a resort vacation, make a list of your priorities. What does your ideal vacation look like and what do you want to get out of the experience? If an all-inclusive resort with gourmet food and top shelf liquor is a must, write that down. If you like your peace and quiet, compare resorts that don’t have a huge party scene.

Do you want to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences? Then put activities at the top of your list. Knowing your preferences ahead of time will help you pick the best resort for your travel type, allowing for a pleasant stay free from last minutes surprises.

Do Your Homework

After figuring out your priorities, it’s time to do your homework on what’s offered or included during your stay. If the resort is listed as all-inclusive, find out exactly what that means.

In general, all-inclusive covers room rates, all meals, drinks (both non-alcoholic and usually alcoholic as well), in-room entertainment, water sports and social activities. Every resort is different, however, so what may be included at one, won’t necessarily be the same at another.

WiFi, for example, may be available in the lobby, but some resorts may charge extra if you want to use it in your room. Know exactly what you need to pack for an all-inclusive resort to ensure you don’t have to buy items at an over-inflated price while there.

For the most part, spa services also cost extra although there are resorts such as Body Holiday in Saint Lucia that include an hour of treatments per day in their packages.

It’s also not a bad idea to read resort reviews for several resorts to see what other visitors have experienced and enjoyed during their stay. It could also prevent you from booking your stay at an awful resort with a less than desirable reputation.

Sign up for Activities

Even if your ideal vacation consists of sitting poolside for days on end with a tropical drink in your hand, at some point you’re going to want to get up and move around. Every resort offers a variety of activities suited to the interests of their guests, so, in other words, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re a beach lover, you’ll find a number of water sport equipment rentals available to use on your own time, or organized lessons to hone your skills. Meditation, yoga and dance classes are also offered at many resorts if you need a break from the sunshine.

Choose something aligned with your interests that you may not get a chance to do everyday in order to get the most out of the experience.

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Utilize the Concierge

All-inclusive or not, utilize the resort’s concierge service and explore a bit outside the grounds. Aside from recommending things to do in the area, the concierge can also help you secure transportation via shuttle or taxi.

If you feel like doing something that’s not offered by the hotel directly, the concierge can also hook you up with tour companies to contact or may be able to book an activity for you. Additionally, if you’re not sure what services and activities are covered in your resort package, ask the concierge and they’ll set the record straight.

They may even reveal a perk you were completely unaware of!

Ask for Upgrades or Make Requests

Many luxury resorts boast custom packages tailored to your exact specifications. When booking, you can ask for a specific type of room if you have a preference, which the hotel will take into consideration when making your reservation.

Even if you don’t get the room you want right off the bat, last-minute cancellations may provide a window of opportunity to get a larger room or one with a balcony or Jacuzzi tub.

If you’re traveling with children, resorts often provide toys, games, cribs and cots for their needs as well. Dietary restriction can also be accommodated, especially when prepaying for meals.

It’s not a request per se, but sometimes if you drop hints that you’re celebrating say, an anniversary, birthday or honeymoon, the resort may provide you with a welcome gift to make a good impression.

Indulge Smartly

It’s tempting to overindulge when you’re on vacation, especially if food and beverages have been prepaid. You may think that in order to get your money’s worth, you need to eat and drink everything in sight.

Doing so, however, will only leave you feeling bloated, tired and likely hungover. It’s okay to have a drink or two more than you normally do, but do so with care. Stick to clear liquor without any sweet mixers or have a glass of wine or beer with dinner. Don’t overeat or you may end up feeling too sick to do anything for the rest of the day.

Instead, order room service to treat yourself to a snack or ask the restaurant for a to-go box so you can take your meal for a spontaneous picnic on the beach. Indulge in the experience of eating when and where you want without having to worry about how much it will cost you.

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