Want a worry-free vacation? Here’s why Zuzu & I think all-inclusive resorts are the ultimate vacation option.
Once Zuzu (aka Sandra) & I finally started traveling, we found that our most relaxing vacations are at All Inclusive resorts. While our trips to Hawaii & NYC were fantastic, we were intentionally rushing around to see as many sights as possible.
As opposed to sight seeing trips, All Inclusive resorts offer convenience and cost savings, as well as a host of other benefits.
What is an All Inclusive Resort?
If you dream about worry free vacations, All Inclusive (or A.I.) resorts are going to be a real treat.
The basic idea behind All Inclusive is in the name:
Everything’s Included! All of it!
You pay a fixed price upfront for your stay which includes meals, drinks, and activities.
How Much do All Inclusive Resorts Cost?
You’ll find a wide price range for all inclusive resorts. While there are low end resorts as cheap as $200 per night (for 2 people), Zuzu & I have mostly stayed at luxury all inclusive resorts (like the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun in the picture above).
Our favorite AI resorts have a cash price of around $1,000 per night, which we simply can’t afford.
However, we typically use Hyatt points to get our stay for free. Yes, for free!
As opposed to a normal vacation, here’s what Zuzu & I typically spend when on an All Inclusive vacation:
- Room: $0
- All Meals: $0
- Snacks & extra meals: $0
- Drinks: $0
- Beach with Chairs & Shade: $0
- Kayak (& other non-motorized equipment) rental: $0
- Daily/Nightly Entertainment: $0
- Taxes: $0
- Resort Fees: $0
Like I said, if you’re NOT traveling for free on points like we do, we’ve seen prices of $200-2000 per night for all inclusive resorts.
Everything you need for a great vacation is included in the base price. Some people spend extra money on optional items like off-resort excursions or spa treatments, but you don’t have to spend extra.
When we’re at an All Inclusive resort, the only money that we plan to spend would be for tips.
Tipping at All Inclusive Resorts
Although some AI resorts insist that you’re not required to tip, Zuzu & I do usually tip for service.
There are many opinions on how to tip at All Inclusives so do whatever you’re comfortable doing. Our typical tip budget is $15-50 per day when we’re at an AI resort.
There are people who find that outrageously high or low. Do whatever works for you.
Want to tip $100 on a free meal? Have at it! Don’t want to tip at all because you’ve already paid so much? The trolls might judge you but we won’t.
Most all inclusive resorts offer a lot of free amenities and activities. Swimming pools, fitness centers, sports facilities, beach access, entertainment, and kids’ clubs are the most common things your find at an AI. Every resort is different & these can vary by location & the resort’s target demographic.
Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons that Zuzu & I love all inclusive resorts. We think they could be a great fit for your next vacation!
One of the biggest and most attractive benefits of all-inclusive resorts is the convenience they provide. Zuzu & I love that we don’t have to worry about where to stay, what to eat, or what to do during our vacation.
From the delicious food & drinks on our trip to Secrets Impression Moxche, to fun activities and entertainment like we had at Zilara Rose Hall in Jamaica, all-inclusive resorts have it all!
But I think the main reason that we love all inclusive resorts is that we don’t have to think about money at all inclusives. There are no extra costs because it’s all included in the package.
If you have to spend hours planning your trip, and you’re going to worry about how much that next cocktail is gonna add to your bill, can you really relax?
Budget & Cost Savings
For most people, All-inclusive resorts are a great way to save money on a vacation. We love that everything is included so we can put our money towards special things like excursions.
With one flat rate, you get access to everything the resort has to offer — food, lodging, activities, and entertainment. Plus, you’re also likely to get discounts on spa services and other amenities. This means you can enjoy a luxurious vacation without the hefty price tag.
For Zuzu & me, it’s even better because we travel for free on points!
Even Better Deal on Points
For our all inclusive stay at the luxurious Secrets Impression Moxche, here’s the total for 5 nights if we had paid cash: $7,176!
$7,000 is a LOT of money. But guests do get ALOT for that price.
For $7,000, the Secrets Impression Moxche pampers guests in an exclusive resort with your own butler. All inclusive means unlimited gourmet food at 7 restaurants and includes unlimited top shelf drinks at 9 bars. Free pool service and beach service.
Your butler will even clean and fold your laundry for free!
But wait! Here’s where our approach to all inclusive resorts is next level.
We got the same rock star treatment for $ZERO since we used our Hyatt Points to pay for the entire experience!
What did 5 nights at this ultra luxurious, all inclusive resort actually cost? Here’s our resort confirmation:
Instead of $7,176, we paid with 125k Hyatt points and NO CASH!
Extra Perks for Free
Even if you’re not booking with points like we do, most all-inclusive resorts offer extra perks that can make your vacation even more enjoyable than usual.
Several of the resorts we’ve visited include free daily activities such as yoga classes or cooking lessons, discounts on spa services, free Wi-Fi in public areas, and complimentary shuttle service to nearby attractions.
At the Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar in Dominican Republic, there were free wine tastings and a free class on Mama Juana!
Zuzu was the star student of the “Learn to make Mama Juana” class at this Punta Cana all inclusive resort!
When we stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica, the shuttle to and from the Montego Bay airport was a free perk that saved us about $100.
If you happen to have elite status with a hotel’s loyalty program, there might be even more free perks. For example, top level Globalists usually get free room upgrades at Hyatt All Inclusive resorts!
The exact amenities vary from resort to resort, so be sure to check before booking!
Variety of Activities
Another benefit of an all-inclusive resort is the variety of activities they offer.
From family-friendly activities like swimming and tennis to more adult pursuits like a swim-up bar and adults-only bars, you’re sure to find something that appeals to everyone in the family.
And with different packages, there’s something for every budget.
On an anniversary trip to Jamaica, Zuzu & I took a kayak out for a short trip along the coast. The kayak and other water sports were included in the price at Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall.
While a short kayak rental at a regular resort isn’t a huge expense (maybe only $20-50), if we had to pay, we might have skipped this fun experience.
Family Friendly Atmosphere
All-inclusive resorts are also known for their family friendly atmosphere.
With plenty of fun activities for both adults and kids alike, families can spend quality time together without having to worry about finding something to do or spending extra money.
Adults Only Resorts
All-inclusive resorts aren’t just for families — there are plenty of adults-only options too.
Some resorts offer a more relaxed atmosphere where couples and single adults can enjoy the same amenities as a regular all-inclusive resort, but without children around. These resorts can be a great option when you need a relaxing vacation or a romantic getaway.
On the other end of the spectrum, some adults only all inclusives cater to the party crowd in a way that would NOT be family friendly.
For example, the nightly entertainment at the Bahia Principe in Punta Cana was definitely aimed at an Adults Only crowd.
Whether you’re looking for an activity-filled family vacation or an intimate escape with your special someone, an all-inclusive resort is sure to have something that fits your needs and budget.
When you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you can also be sure that your safety is a top priority. Most resorts employ staff who are trained in safety protocols and can help keep your family safe during your stay. Whether it’s the pool or the beach, there will always be someone on hand to make sure everyone is having fun and staying safe.
When we flew to Jamaica for our 28th anniversary, we made friends with a native Jamaican. He gave us a 1st hand perspective on the question: Is it safe to travel to Jamaica?
The short version of his answer is yes, tourists are safe in Jamaica but there are bad actors in every country. If you’re concerned about safety, a gated, all inclusive resort is one of the best ways to make sure you’re insulated and protected from any crime that might be going on in a particular country.
Peace of Mind
Finally, all-inclusive resorts offer peace of mind when it comes to planning your vacation. With so many details taken care of — from lodging to meals and activities — you can relax and enjoy your vacation without any extra stress. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that everything is taken care of and that you’re getting the best value for your money.
Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, we’ve found that all-inclusive resorts are the best options for a worry-free vacation.
For us, the convenience, cost savings, and variety of activities that come with AI resorts always make for a memorable vacation.
Questions about All Inclusives
We often hear many of the same questions about AI resorts. Here are a few questions that a first time visitor to an all inclusive resort might have.
All Inclusive means that all vacation essentials are included in the quoted price for a vacation resort. While All Inclusive usually means that your room, food, drinks and entertainment are included, it’s typical that All Inclusive resorts offer upgrades or additional items for an extra charge. Zuzu & I rarely pay for any extra when we’re on an All Inclusive vacation.
Yes, all-inclusive packages usually include unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Some resorts may have restrictions or additional charges for premium or imported brands.
Depending on the size of the resort, you’ll probably have 3-10 restaurant options. We commonly see a buffet plus restaurants specializing in Mexican, Italian and Asian food. If you have dietary restrictions, the resort can usually accommodate your requests.
At the All Inclusive resorts that we’ve visited, there have been no limits to how many meals you can have. In fact, servers have even encouraged us to get more than one entre per person.
Most family friendly all inclusive resorts offer some type of kids club where parents can leave their children for a few hours at a time.
How To Choose an All Inclusive Resort
Zuzu & I know that choosing the perfect all-inclusive resort for your vacation can be a bit intimidating, but don’t worry – we’re here to help. We’ve been through the same process ourselves and want to share our insights on how to choose the right all inclusive resort for you!
Here are the main aspects that we consider when looking for a worry free vacation at an All Inclusive:
- Location: What’s your dream vacation spot? Is the beach your favorite (that’s us!), nestled in the mountains (like a dude ranch), or immersed in a bustling city (like the Hotel Zone in Cancun). We also consider the distance to local attractions and the airport.
- Budget: If you’re paying with cash, establishing a budget is crucial. Compare various resort packages to find the best value for our money. Keep in mind that the least expensive option might not always be the best choice!
- Points: Since we (almost) always travel for free on points, we check to see what AI resorts have free rooms available. If we don’t have enough points, we make a plan to earn Hyatt points to cover the free trip.
- Accommodations & Amenities: Search for a resort that offers comfortable, clean accommodations and a range of amenities that cater to your needs and preferences.
- Food Choices: As foodies, we want a resort that has plenty of restaurants & bars. Find a Facebook Group for a resort as that can be a great place to get opinions on a resort’s F&B offerings.
Besides these factors, we also read alot of reviews from guests. How are most guests treated? More importantly, how are guests treated when there’s a problem?
If all these “How To Choose an All Inclusive Resort” tips are a little too much, check out our guide to the Best Hyatt All Inclusive Resorts. We’ve already done alot of the legwork on 150+ all inclusive resorts!
Become an All Inclusive Expert!
Think an all inclusive might be right for you? Here are some of the best resources to learn how we travel alot on a budget that’s close to $ZERO!