You probably have a picture in your head of what a typical all-inclusive resort looks like.
Tons of screaming kids, a mediocre buffet, and lots of cheap booze.
And while those types of resorts do exist, most all-inclusive resorts have a wide variety of fun activities to enjoy during your stay.
Are all-inclusive resorts boring?
All-inclusive resorts offer basically everything a person could need for a fun vacation, but they aren’t for everyone. If you like the convenience of not having to plan to do, then you might enjoy an all-inclusive resort. Keep in mind, though, that no two resorts are exactly the same.
There are pros and cons to staying at an all-inclusive resort. Consider the following factors before deciding if an all-inclusive retreat is best for you.
What can I do at an all-inclusive resort?
The activities offered at your resort will likely depend on where its located and who is the target demographic.
Therefore, you can expect a wide range of outdoor activities like snorkeling, kayaking, volleyball, yoga, etc.
But if you’d rather spend your days lounging in the sun, then you can do that too.
Although there is round-the-clock entertainment, these resorts do place a big importance on relaxation.
So you’ll find many guests simply hanging out by the pool, reading a book, or drinking a pina colada.
Staying at a family-friendly resort? Then there will be plenty of fun activities for the kiddos, like scavenger hunts, arcades, or even a full waterpark.
Adult-only resorts are generally quieter and more laid-back, with higher quality restaurants and a strong focus on relaxation and nightlife.
Other activities may include:
- Land and water sports
- Fitness center and classes
- Nightly entertainment (music, comedians, karaoke)
- Pools, hot tubs, water parks, lazy rivers
- Pool games
- Cultural events (handicraft market, festive dinners)
Advantages of an all-inclusive resort
Staying at an all-inclusive resort has its perks, especially if you’re in the mood to unwind and relax.
If you’re on the fence about booking a trip, consider the following benefits of an all-inclusive vacation.
One of the biggest advantages of staying at an all-inclusive resort is the convenience.
You don’t have to spend time deciding where to eat, what to do, or which sites to see.
Nor do you have to whip out your credit card each time you want to get a drink or snack.
This takes the stress out of planning and budgeting.
Everything is included, making it easy for you to enjoy a stress-free vacation.
Entertainment is included
Most all-inclusive resorts plan a schedule of programs and events throughout the day.
Think mid-morning water aerobics, afternoon snorkel tours, and after-dinner live music and dancing.
Activities are different each day, so don’t worry about getting bored doing the same thing during your stay.
If you’re staying at a family-friendly resort, you can also expect a range of activities just for kids.
While some resorts have specific children/teen centers, others organized group games or activities to keep your little ones occupied throughout the day.
Food and drinks are included
Many people choose to stay at an all-inclusive resort because they can eat and drink as much as they want.
With most resorts, everything is included – breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, sodas, alcohol, etc.
And in some cases, you’ll also get free 24/7 room service!
And you won’t have to eat at the same buffet each time.
Most all-inclusive resorts have dozens of restaurants, from upscale Italian to Japanese hibachi.
You’ll also have more causal options, like a sports bar or pool grill.
Even if you stay for an entire week, it’s unlikely you’ll get bored with your dining choices.
You know the expected cost
Budgeting for a vacation can be challenging.
Not only do you have to consider the cost of hotels, but you’ll also have to account for meals, drinks, activities, entertainment, and transportation.
But when you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you’ll generally pay one flat fee upfront for your room, meals, and entertainment.
Therefore, you’ll have a good idea of exactly how much your vacation will cost.
Some activities or restaurants can cost extra, but they are completely optional.
all-inclusive guests have the option to do more during their stay.
Everything is already paid for, so go ahead and indulge!
They’re safe and secure
If you’re traveling outside the US, then you might be worried about your safety abroad.
This is especially true if you’re visiting a country with a high risk of crime or violence.
However, all-inclusive resorts are usually very secure.
They have on-site security, and most of them are also located away from the big cities where crime is most prevalent.
Disadvantages of an all-inclusive resort
As we said, all-inclusive resorts aren’t for everyone.
Some travelers may find it boring, especially if they have the itch to sightsee and explore.
Here are a few disadvantages of staying at an all-inclusive resort.
You won’t experience the culture
Spending all your time in the hotel means you won’t get to experience the true culture of the country.
Of course, you’re not confined to the resort, so you may leave anytime you like if you want to sightsee.
However, many resorts are located far from the cities or main attractions, making it difficult to explore at your free will.
If you want to explore sites, interact with locals, and get off the beaten track, then an all-inclusive resort is probably not for you.
Food is not authentic
Part of traveling is getting to taste the local cuisine.
However, most resorts cater to international tourists who come for the “all-you-can-eat” experience.
That means the quality might not be as high as you would find if you were to dine outside of the hotel.
While you’ll have lots of choices and a never-ending supply of food, don’t expect to enjoy too many authentic meals.
Not everything is included
Specialty restaurants, top-shelf liquor, motorized sports, and spa services are generally not included in the cost.
This isn’t a deal-breaker for most travelers, considering a number of activities and services are included.
However, if you do want to indulge in anything extra, you can expect to pay a lot (even more than you would back at home).
Is an all-inclusive resort right for me?
There are pros and cons to staying in an all-inclusive resort, so it’s hard to say point-blank if they are worth it.
Although you won’t necessarily be able to explore the local culture or food scene, you probably won’t be bored during your stay.
All-inclusives have a lot to offer – especially if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning activities and excursions.
So, if you’re looking for a relaxing environment with fun games and activities, then spend a few nights an at all-inclusive resort and see for yourself!