How to decide which package is right for your clan
Sometimes it’s nice just to relax in a beautiful, exotic place where you don’t have to worry about anything. All inclusive vacations are gaining popularity with families, because they offer convenience and remove the stress out of the holiday experience — especially for adults.
All-inclusive package holidays generally include airfare, accommodations, transfers to and from the resort, meals, all domestic brand drinks, access to recreational facilities, and organized activities. Most of the expense of this type of vacation is paid for upfront and the only additional expenses may be tips, local tours, or souvenirs.
Perhaps the most difficult part of an all-inclusive vacation is deciding on the resort and destination you want to visit.
For most people, the problem comes when they open up a travel brochure and look at the photographs. If you only look at pictures, one resort looks just as good as the next and it is difficult to tell the difference between them. But those who have visited an all-inclusive resort can attest to the fact that there are good resorts and mediocre resorts and choosing the right all-inclusive resort makes all the difference to your vacation experience. Below are a few tips for selecting the all-inclusive vacation that is right for you and your family.
• Decide on a destination first, and then look at the resorts offered in that destination.
• Make sure the resort’s amenities and programs fit your lifestyle and character. For example, some resorts are designed for couples, some for singles, and some for families. Some resorts cater specifically to a younger or older crowd.
• Look at the location of the resort. Is it on the beach or a few blocks from the beach? Is it in the heart of the action or is it situated along an isolated strip of coastline? An isolated location away from other resorts and towns may not be the best choice for a person who is eager to experience local nightlife, but an isolated location would be ideal for someone seeking solitude, relaxation and a quiet, restful escape.
• Look at the list of resort amenities and see what is included and what costs extra. A resort may have many amenities or just a few. Many all-inclusive resorts include a free scuba lesson in the pool, but charge extra for ocean discovery dives. A few resorts offer free ocean diving as part of the all-inclusive plan, for example.
• Check for the number of restaurants located at the resort. If there is only one restaurant, you might grow tired of the food after a few days. Does the resort offer a la carte dining where you can order from a menu or is it always buffet-style? Does the resort limit you’re a la carte dining? Nicer resorts will generally have more a la carte restaurants and more opportunities to enjoy them.
• If travelling with children, check to see if the resort offers a kids’ club, supervised children’s activities, babysitting, playground facilities, or a wading pool or waterslide.
You should also make sure there are amenities for grown-up pampering like a fitness area, spa or golf course if that is what you enjoy.
• Check the layout of the accommodations. Some resorts only offer twin beds, while others offer a choice between twins or queen-sized beds. Make sure to request the bedding of your choice.
• Check the star rating in the brochure. While this rating is not uniform from one company to the next, it can serve as a guide when selecting accommodations. If you are reserving a two-star resort, expect it to be clean and comfortable, but potentially dated and lacking in amenities. A three to four star resort is considered moderate, while a five star resort should be top notch in terms of comfort and amenities.
• Narrow down your choices and then consult with friends who have been where you are going, a travel professional, and the Internet to see what other visitors to the resort have to say about it.
It’s also a good idea to check out the resort’s website. Spending extra time making the right choice on where to stay will make all the difference in your vacation experience.
Debbie Olsen is an Alberta-based freelance writer and the mother of four children.