Making the most of your next all-inclusive vacation
Nothing beats that first sip of a frozen drink in the lobby of your all-inclusive resort. It’s the kickoff to a week of zero stress, no planning and pure unadulterated fun. But you should pack a few pointers before checking in. Here are some insider tips for all-inclusive success.
Research and booking
Ensuring you have the perfect trip begins long before you book your destination. “Establish what you want from your vacation,” advises Michala Smethurst, CAA Travel Consultant at the Brandon Store. “Are you looking for an adults’ only or something more family friendly?”
Make a list of your must-have amenities. Some considerations might be a kids’ club, quality entertainment and activities, premium alcohol, speciality restaurants, multiple pools, water toys and a dive centre.
Older travellers or those with children in strollers will want to ask about on-site accessibility. Regardless of what you’re looking for, a CAA Travel Consultant can help you find the right location.
“We know which resorts are quieter or geared more to families,” Shulman notes. And while it’s worth reading reviews of resorts you’re considering, “People rarely post a good review. So you’ve got to take them with a grain of salt,” she says.
For a more accurate picture, CAA Travel Consultant Ellyn Shulman suggests looking at reviews that coincide with the time period you’ll be travelling. Many resorts in tropical areas, for example, have reduced staff during the summer, and often do renovation and maintenance work during off-peak weeks.
You should also check on the outings and activities available in your destination. “I always research excursions and book the ones I really want to do in advance,” says the Empress-based Shulman. “Ask your travel consultant about possible upgrades or arrival gifts in your room.”
When you arrive at a resort there’s usually a one-on-one or group orientation session. “Make sure you attend that session, no matter how many resorts you’ve visited,” Shulman advises. You’ll learn about the resort’s amenities, activities, which restaurants require reservations and more. Ask for a map of the resort and an entertainment schedule.
If there are any speciality restaurants you want to try, book your time slots as soon as you arrive. Most resorts do not book reservation-required restaurants prior to arrival.
When it comes to bars and drinking, always be mindful. “Know your limits. Drinking to excess can quickly ruin your holiday,” Smethurst says. Plus, overindulging may cause issues with your travel insurance.
One last, very important piece of advice to make the most of your all-inclusive: “Be open-minded,” Shulman says.
“Enjoy the culture and leave your worries behind!”