Hidden Costs of All-Inclusive Vacations

The appeal of an all-inclusive vacation is, you pay upfront and then put the credit card away while you enjoy the surf, the scenery and delicious food and drink. But before you decide if this is the vacay for you, here are some things you need to know before you book.

  • You may be tempted by a package that includes airfare, but be wary – you’ll often have long or multiple layovers, very early flights, and the actual price may not even be that great of a deal. Do some research and you’ll probably be able to find a better deal booking the flight separately.
  • An all-inclusive resort tends to include more perks than an all-inclusive cruise. Since you’ll want to spend the bulk of your time enjoying the ship amenities anyway, you can book an interior room which will be less than an ocean view room.
  • An “all-inclusive” cruise can be misleading, be sure to read the fine print as extras can add up. Alcohol and even soda can cost you, so set a beverage budget before the trip. Some resorts only charge for top-shelf liquor—ask which brands (if any) are included with your package. Spas, on-ship casinos and excursions are a few potential money pits to beware of.
  • Know the gratuity policy. Many places automatically bill you $10 to $20 per person, per day at the end of your trip. For a family of four on a 7-day vacation that could be as much as $560.
  • Know where you want to go and do your research. There are adult-only resorts like Sandals – save now – which are perfect for a romantic getaway, and there are family-friendly destinations like Club Med or Disney Vacations. Look online for reviews from past guests.

Final Word: There are great deals, fantastic vacations, and tons of fun to be had at all-inclusive resorts, but like with any major purchase, do your homework first. Read reviews, look for coupon codes, pay attention to the fine print, and you’ll be well on your way to the sunny adventure you deserve.