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The Pros and Cons of All-Inclusive Resorts

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You’ve worked hard all year, whether at school or on the job, and you’re finally in the process of planning a much-deserved vacation. If your idea of a good time involves sun and sand, figuring out where to go is easier said than done.

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You’ve worked hard all year, whether at school or on the job, and you’re finally in the process of planning a much-deserved vacation. If your idea of a good time involves sun and sand, figuring out where to go is easier said than done. With all the resort options out there, pinpointing your ideal vacation spot can be dizzying. So before you start browsing through online brochures, you may want to ask yourself whether you’ll be looking at an all-inclusive resort versus the type where you pay as you go along.All-inclusive resorts definitely have their appeal, so much so that in recent years, the number of U.S. travelers who have stayed at an all-inclusive resort has increased. Not sure if an all-inclusive is right for you? Consider the pros and cons.

The Pros

You won’t have to worry about going over budget. When you stay at an all-inclusive, you pay a single price up front for your room, food, drinks and activities. This means that as long as you’ve saved enough to cover the base rate, there’s no need to keep a mental calculation of what you’re spending as you go along. Instead, you can sit back and relax knowing that there’s no way you’ll be exceeding your budget.

You won’t feel guilty for indulging or trying new things. If your food and beverages aren’t included in your base rate, you may feel compelled to skip that appetizer or sip water over soda in order to save some money. On the other hand, if your meals and beverages are already paid for, you won’t have to think twice about ordering that extra iced tea or treating yourself to a more elaborate entrée.

You won’t have to deal with gratuities. Many all-inclusive resorts have a no-tipping policy, which means you won’t have to worry about having cash on hand or remembering to add a gratuity each time a waiter brings you a beverage.

The Cons

You might pay more than what you would’ve spent otherwise. There’s a reason why all-inclusive resorts are able to offer so many amenities. Most charge a premium for unlimited access to food and fun, and depending on where you stay and what your dining habits are, you could end up paying more for an all-inclusive than you would’ve paid a la carte. This especially holds true if you’re not a particularly big eater or prefer to sit on the beach rather than participate in different activities.

You’re limited to the resort itself. When you stay at a traditional resort, you can explore the neighboring town and dine at its local restaurants. With an all-inclusive, you’re stuck where you are unless you’re willing to pay extra on top of the premium you’ve already paid.

“All-inclusive” may not actually include everything. It’s counterintuitive, right? You’d think an all-inclusive rate would cover every amenity and activity offered at a given resort, but that’s not always the case. If you’re an adventure junkie, be warned that activities like hang-gliding or parasailing often cost extra. The same goes for massages and spa services.

Weighing Your Options

When deciding whether to stay at an all-inclusive resort, think about what’s most important to you. Do you want the freedom to indulge in fine food? Or is it enough to simply stay in a comfortable room with easy access to the beach? An all-inclusive isn’t for everyone, and if your tastes are simpler, you may be better off sticking to the traditional pay-as-you-go model. On the other hand, if you can swing an all-inclusive, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a little taste of the good life.

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