This Is When It’s Worth It to Book an All-Inclusive Vacation
If you love to DIY your travel plans, you might not have ever considered taking an all-inclusive trip. And you know what? We don’t blame you. Hacking your flights, settling into a unique base at your dream destination, touring with locals, seeking out Insta-worthy spots, and eating your way through a place that’s totally new to you at your own pace is a personalized thrill. On the other hand, though, taking a preplanned (and prepaid) trip where you’re taken care of from start to finish can feel utterly luxurious. And if you feel like all-inclusive trips, such as cruises, are for people who don’t like to stray off the well-beaten tourist path, think again: These days, they include sailing expeditions, chic resort vacations, outdoor adventures, wellness-focused getaways, and so much more. Read on for five times it’s worth it to enjoy an all-in-one adventure instead of striking out on your own.
1. When You’ll Save Time: An all-inclusive trip might not always cost less on paper after crunching the numbers, but the time you’ll save could be worth the difference. Consider the hours needed to research a destination, search for well-priced flights and airport transfers, and find and coordinate activities. If you’re really looking to relax, paying a little more to save yourself time before and during your trip can be a game-changer. Samantha Brown, former Travel Channel host and the current host of PBS’s Places to Love, agrees. “In my professional travel life, what I do is the exact opposite of all-inclusive; I like to curate experiences and put them together in ways that focus on place, people, and culture. But when I vacation with my family, I’m all about the all-inclusive — this is the way to go when planning a trip with many friends or with multiple generations of family. Have you ever tried to travel with eight people and make dinner reservations five nights in a row? Not having to plan anyone’s time is a complete luxury for me.”
2. When You’ll Spend Less: There are definitely instances where opting for an all-inclusive getaway will save you money. For example, most hotels offer lower room rates for all-inclusive experiences than they do for independent bookings. Other companies, like cruise lines, arrange special airfare pricing for their customers. Travel writer and photographer Susan Portnoy tells us that she’s found the feeling of saving money to be especially awesome on two types of trips: safaris and small boat cruises. “There’s nothing better than putting your wallet away and not having to worry once you arrive,” she swears. “I was recently on an UnCruise in the Sea of Cortez, and I loved the fact that snorkeling, hikes, and other activities were part of a guest’s overall rate — along with the gear the crew loaned me!” Portnoy does caution that this applies to genuinely comprehensive packages: “Companies that offer pseudo ‘all-inclusive’ where drinks, the best activities, or other aspects of the trip cost extra make me feel nickel-and-dimed.”
3. When It Includes Extras You Truly Love: Modern all-inclusive vacations aren’t just resorts or cruises that present you with nothing but the same bland buffet over and over. These days, many all-inclusive adventures offer classes, tours, and top-notch dining experiences you can’t easily get anywhere else. Some resorts even partner up with top-flight brands to offer exclusive menus, services, and offerings to guests who opt in to their all-inclusive packages. If you’ll love to try an on-site wine tasting, mixology class, celebrity cooking event, or sunrise yoga session, these exclusive inclusions could be perfect for you.
4. When You’ll Get Some Stress Relief: As one happy all-inclusive vacationer put it, “no shoes, no shirt, no keys, no cash, no problem” is the real deal when it comes to saving stress with an all-inclusive vacation. This benefit can be especially helpful for first-time travelers, nervous solo travelers, and families, especially when airfare is included. “All-inclusive vacations often take a lot of worries away for us,” shares Lisa Lightner, who runs the blog A Day in Our Shoes about sensory and disability travel. “We don’t have to search for restaurants and hope that they can accommodate our kids. We likely won’t spend a lot (if any) time in the car and trying to acclimate our kids to a new hotel or new setting. We can stay put in one predictable setting for the duration of our vacation, which makes things so much easier for us. It’s worth it for the peace of mind.”
5. When It Has Plush Perks You’d Never Treat Yourself To: If you’re looking to splurge but have trouble loosening up the purse strings, the perks that come with an all-inclusive getaway might be just the thing to inspire you to finally treat yourself. Look for extras like personal waitstaff, in-room culinary experiences rather than standard room service, or access to exclusive cabanas. Some all-inclusive resorts also give guests the opportunity to upgrade a room for less or add additional experiences to your vacation at a deeply discounted rate.
What’s convinced you to book an all-inclusive vacation, or what would convince you to take one? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)