This time of year always has me dreaming of warm, tropical vacations. As I write this, I’m looking out at five inches of snow (and counting), a semi-rarity for North Carolina, but I’ll take this over the five feet we would get when I was growing up in New York.
For most of us, big vacations are few and far between and often require a lot of research. “How do I get the best value? Why is everything so expensive? Where do we go?” Over the last few years, I have found that the answer to most of the vacation-planning struggles I’ve had has been one thing: all-inclusives.
Whether it’s resorts or cruises, all-inclusives have been the best vacations I’ve ever been on, and here’s why:
Spend money on what you want. If you decide to go the all-inclusive route, you really only have to pay once. You have the option of buying excursions or going shopping of course, but if you’re not a big souvenir person then it’s entirely possible to have your AI rate be the only money you spend. Most cruises and AI resorts have plenty of on-site entertainment that is included in the cost of your room, but if you do decide to spend extra on off-site excursions, be sure to pick some that are unique to your location. For example, you can zipline just about anywhere these days so I wouldn’t recommend shelling out money for a zipline excursion. However, you can’t swim with sea lions everywhere, or go scuba diving with tropical fish! And contrary to popular belief, not all all-inclusives are outrageously priced. Check out any of the Riu resorts and ask about AI rates for cruises — most cruise lines offer them.
Think less. At an all-inclusive resort, there are plenty of things to walk around and see and do. The staff puts on activities, host classes and there are nightly shows. AI vacations give you more freedom to wander around and experience things, because you don’t need to worry about a schedule, you don’t need to worry about dragging your purse or wallet around with you, and you’re never too far from your room. Hang out at the bar, meet some people, always be friendly with the staff (they are always so nice and they work their butts off — be nice to them). Tips are welcome, but optional. You don’t have to think nearly as much as you would on a regimented, schedule-based vacation, which is precisely why they are the…
Most relaxing vacations I’ve ever taken. We’ve done cruises, we’ve done road trips, and all-inclusives are hands down the least stressful. You don’t have to worry about finding hotels to stay in from night to night, carrying valuables around, or trying to budget out money for drinks and food because it’s all taken care of already. As a super-introvert, all-inclusives are a dream come true for me. My husband can run off and socialize, and I can stay on the beach with a book or wander around with my camera and befriend the local cats. AI vacations give families with different wants and personalities plenty of options for activities, so there is less opportunity for arguments.
If you’ve never tried an AI and are looking for a vacation that gives you the most bang for your buck, these could be a great choice for you!