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How to choose an all-inclusive resort...

No cooking. No cleaning. No discussions about where you are going to eat. A beautiful beach. A fun pool. Something new for you to try… Paradise? You bet!

If you are looking to unwind from all the overwhelming feelings of doing life (and really, who isn’t?) an all-inclusive resort is a great break from all the chores. It is a stress-free vacation with the power to make pretty much everyone in the family very happy.

What’s included in an all-inclusive?

Accommodation, meals, drinks, activities, daily and nightly entertainment, children’s program (above a certain age), bars, and even gratuities. What changes from one resort to the other is the quality and frequency of each of these elements.

Who would enjoy an all-inclusive resort?

  • Couples looking to have a good time and reconnect.

  • Families with young children looking for fun activities and some adult time (thank you, kids club!).

  • Families with teenagers. Engage in different activities and get them off their phones (it’s almost miraculous).

  • Multi-generational families with different needs.

  • All sorts of group travel: extended family, friends group, girls trip, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and corporate retreats.

  • Destination wedding. Bride and groom can enjoy their big day surrounded by family and friends without worry.

Are all-inclusive resorts for everyone?

No, not really. For example, if you are really big in high-end cuisine (although in recent years some resorts are offering really fine dining), don’t like to try activities, and/or like to really immerse yourself in the local culture, a regular hotel will probably be a better option.

But if you are looking for a great cost x benefit…

Then the all-inclusive is very hard to beat! When we take into consideration all the inclusions, we know we are getting a lot for the buck.

And also if you are looking for an easy, stress-free vacation…

Absolutely! An all-inclusive resort can really make everyone in the family happy because it allows each person to spend the day based on their own interests. Are you a beach lover? Great. Prefer a nice pool? Of course! Want to try all activities? Perfect! Do nothing? Sure.

It also makes for easy mealtimes (no need to discuss where to eat). You are also not worried about the added costs of a vacation.

But attention, not all all-inclusive resorts are created equal…

Resorts range from simple and moderate hotels to very luxurious properties, and everything in between. They can be really big or really intimate. They vary from traditional to modern decor. Basic rooms or true oasis. They can be very livery or be quieter with a laid-back vibe.

The price point usually dictates (with exceptions) the quality of service, type of food, entertainment, and inclusions you will find in a resort.

So how do you choose the right one?

It can get very overwhelming. Search online and you will find thousands of options and that’s the exact moment you start to feel lost.

People often overlook their needs and go for the most popular resort in the area because well, it’s more well-known. Or the one that worked for their neighbor. However, you might be missing out on something a lot better.

With limited vacation time and funds, you want to make the right choice. My suggestion here is: ask a travel professional! We live and breathe this and are a huge source of information. And some of them, like myself :), don’t charge anything for it (contact me and I can explain how it works)!

I’ve toured many resorts and if I haven’t personally been to some, I may have had clients who have. I’m connected to thousands of other agents to share references. I have a relationship with the resort managers so it’s really easy to find the needed information even if I don’t immediately have it.

What else should I know?

All-inclusive resorts have their own specific rules and way of operating restaurants (for example some require reservations, some have a dress code…), activities, inclusions, and more.

It’s also important to mention that all-inclusive resorts do exclude some things from the “inclusion” package, and offer services at an extra charge like spa treatments, romantic dinners by the beach, fancier meals (like lobster or expensive cuts of meat, although luxury resorts do include them), bottles of wine (wine by the glass is generally included with the resort brand), and more. If you have questions, just ask - we are here to help you!

When is the best time to go?

Anytime you want a fun and relaxing vacation! But here is a general guideline (again, there are exclusions, so do ask for specifics):

  • For the best prices, go in the low season. In the Caribbean, it’s from early August to early December, which also happens to be the majority of hurricane season so be sure to have good travel insurance. It also tends to have more rain, although it’s not common that you will get a full day (or days) of rain. It’s more likely to get scattered showers.

  • The high season is from the end-of-the-year Holidays to April as people are looking to get a break from the cold and also Spring Break happens. Demand jumps which make the prices go up.

  • The mid-season is May-July, the summer vacation months. Demand increases but not like early in the year.

Weather-wise, it’s really impossible to know the exact weather you are going to get but temperature-wise, it tends to be pretty similar year-round.

December to April are drier months and *this is important for beach lovers* less likely to have seaweeds in the ocean. Seaweeds are a growing issue on many Caribbean beaches due to the overall increase in the temperature of our oceans. From April to November, some beaches can be really impacted by this depending on the currents, weather, and other nature decisions. Which beaches? This can also change constantly but some are more prone to it while others are more protected.

When is the best time to book my all-inclusive vacation?

As soon as you know you want to do this. Flight rates become available around eleven months in advance. But resorts most often have their rates up sooner. It is possible that their rates will vary along the way, as it is based on demand. However, the lowest rates will 90% of the time be found far in advance.

Also, when you book your all-inclusive vacation with me, you don't have to pay everything in advance (like it's the case with sites like Expedia and Booking). You only pay a deposit, your room is booked and your pricing is secured. The final payment will be closer to your travel dates (usually between 60 and 30 days prior). You book now, pay later, and everything works perfectly.

Last but not least…

An all-inclusive resort can provide a fun and relaxing time, with included meals and drinks, and different activities to try, and can be an incredible vacation experience. There are thousands of resorts out there, and the right one should be chosen based on your preferences.

Instead of being an overwhelming process, this can be as simple as contacting us here at Happy Hour Travel! We focus on you and you focus on being really happy and enjoying your much-needed vacation time ;-)

Happy traveling!

>>> To request an all-inclusive quote (or any other vacation type), click here.

These are just a few of the many photos of my visits to incredible all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Punta Cana, Turks and Caicos, and more! Some are family resorts with tons of activities, some are adults-only resorts perfect for a romance trip (my husband does not complain when I ask him to tag along to do resorts visits with me :)


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