All-inclusive vacations have become a popular trend among tourists the world over. Here are some handy tips to book one for yourself.
The first resort in the world to establish the all-inclusive model was Club Méditerranée, popularly known as Club Med. It was founded in 1950 by the Belgian water polo player and entrepreneur, Gérard Blitz.
One of the major hurdles in entire vacation planning process is the options available at our disposal. Most of them are so tempting that it becomes impossible to choose the one that best suits our needs. Traditional vacationing involves long detailed planning, where you have to consider each minute aspect to ensure comfort, safety, and affordability.
Over the last few decades, the concept of an all-inclusive vacation package has come to the forefront, and more and more tourists from across the world are opting for them. The reason is simple―these packages are not only affordable, but are also convenient, in that they save you from the tedious process of planning every little aspect of your trip.
An all-inclusive vacation package will generally include all things such as accommodations, meals, and a ready-made itinerary, which leaves you with lesser things to worry about.
If you are planning to go all-inclusive this vacation, here are a few practical and handy tips to help you book your package.
Choose the Destination
◼ This is vital to determine if you really need an all-inclusive package or not.
◼ It is worth noting that some destinations across the world have been promoted as all-inclusive holiday options. These include places, such as Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, etc., which offer limited tourist infrastructure outside the all-inclusive resorts.
◼ For places like New York, London, Amsterdam, while an all-inclusive holiday can be convenient, you may have to shell out an extravagant amount that might not be worth. This is because tourist infrastructure in these cities is so up-to-date that it is not worth staying within an all-inclusive resort, when you can organize activities independently.
◼ Moreover, if you like socializing and mingling with local communities, an all-inclusive holiday will deprive you of such a chance. So, while you choose your destination, consider all these factors, and then decide whether you want to go all-inclusive or not.
Decide the Time of Travel
◼ All holiday destinations can be visited throughout the year, however, each one of them has its own peak season(s) and off-season(s).
◼ While the peak season is considered to be the best time to visit a particular place, it is also the time when most tourists prefer to travel. Owing to this huge influx of visitors, it is not only difficult to get flight bookings and accommodations during this time, but the overall prices are also very high.
◼ If you plan to travel during the peak season, you will need to book your all-inclusive holiday well in advance. It is a good idea to compare prices online so that you find the best possible deal. Try to be flexible with your travel dates as far as possible so that you can avail some of the best offers on the all-inclusive holiday packages.
◼ While you may end up paying more for your all-inclusive holiday during the peak season, look for last-minute deals. Though this sounds a bit tricky, you may actually land up on some really good deals if you are lucky.
◼ On the contrary, the off-season is the time when not many tourists opt to travel, owing to which the places are less crowded.
◼ This is a good time to travel, especially for budget travelers. The all-inclusive resorts (and other hotels) cut down their prices during this time, in order to attract more business, and also offer a number of extra amenities in the package. Plus, the airfares are also comparatively less during the off-season.
◼ So, if you are not too choosy regarding the time of your trip, book during the off-season, in order to find the best bargains.
Check What “All-inclusive” Includes
◼ Several resorts and cruise lines claim to be all-inclusive. It is vital to ensure that the “all” in the all-inclusive includes all that you need. Therefore, it is extremely essential to read between the lines and ask the concerned people if you are unsure about a certain point.
◼ Generally, an all-inclusive vacation includes charges for accommodations, breakfast, meals, drinks, fitness centers and spas, and also areas for kids to play while their parents are away. Some also include a two-way airfare; however, this needs to be clarified with the travel agent.
◼ Outdoor excursions, tips, taxes are usually not included in all-inclusive package, and have to be paid differently. Similarly, shopping in a resort/cruise boutique/souvenir shop does not form part of all-inclusive package; it is a source for resort/cruise line to make extra bucks.
◼ It is a good idea to clear out all your doubts before you make any payments, in order to ensure that you have not boarded a wrong cruise or not booked a wrong resort.
Pay Only Once
◼ You can get the best deal for an all-inclusive vacation if you book everything―flights, resorts, land transfers―together.
◼ There are several booking websites that offer great discounts for people opting for a particular combo of hotels, flights, car rentals, etc. Check if you can avail any of them.
◼ It is a good idea to consult a specialized travel agent while booking your package so that the entire process is hassle-free. Even if there is any problem, the travel agent can fix it.
◼ It is vital to check that all costs―major and minor―are included upfront. These include those for airport pickup and drop, taxes on airfares and hotel charges, and so on.
◼ It is easier if you make all the payments only once (normally in the beginning). A specialized travel agent will be able to properly guide you through the process.
Consider an Upgrade
◼ Many all-inclusive resorts offer tiered packages, which entitle you for really cheap and/or free upgrades. Go for them if the perks suit you.
◼ Some of these upgrades may avail you free Internet access, access to VIP lounge, free parking, discounts on spa treatments, and priority reservations for dinners at à la carte restaurants instead of normal buffets.
◼ If an upgrade is entitling you to such benefits at cheap prices, then there is no harm in shelling out a little more money and enjoying a lavish vacation.
Check for the Activities Offered
◼ Before you book an all-inclusive resort, check what all activities have been included into the price. If you are interested in a particular activity, check whether your resort is offering that within the package.
◼ Some all-inclusive resorts offer interesting activities for adults as well as children. These might range from volleyball and water aerobics to free cooking and scuba diving lessons.
◼ Since you will be paying for them (if they are included in the package), it is a good idea to find out what they are, and take advantage of as many of them as possible.
Go for a Niche Resort
◼ There are several all-inclusive resorts around the world, which cater to certain niches of travelers. So, choose your resort depending on the kind of traveler you are.
◼ If you are traveling with your family, make sure that your resort has the kind of facilities and activities, which you can indulge in with your kids. Similarly, if you are on your honeymoon, make sure that you are offered the right kind of ambiance and facilities.
◼ It is important to note that some resorts and hotels publicize themselves as suitable for all kinds of travelers, and they may also have amenities to suit every niche. However, such places will be crowded with tourists of varying interests.
◼ If you wish to mingle with people who share their interests with you, it is best to consult your travel agent, who will know the resorts properly. You may also take advice of your friends and relatives if they have been on a similar vacation in the past.
One of the best ways to choose an all-inclusive holiday package is to check the traveler reviews on reputed websites. These will give you good and practical information, and help you choose your package more wisely. So, what are you waiting for? Go all-inclusive this season, and avail the best possible bargains!