Wouldn’t it be great to escape to an exotic island and enjoy everything the resort has to offer without ever taking out your wallet? For most people, the answer is ‘yes’, which is why all-inclusive resorts are so popular. But are they worth the price? We escaped to the Beaches Turks & Caicos recently and were asking that same question. Here’s our answer.
Determine your ideal vacation. The first step in planning any vacation is to determine what your ideal experience looks like. Don’t limit yourself to budget at this point, determine what will make for the best memories. Here are some additional tips on vacation planning.
Breaking down your dream vacation. Once you’ve determined your ideal vacation, now look at what is most important to you. Are you an active family that likes to be on the go trying new adventures, or would you rather just sit on the beach with a book? Are you a foodie that wants to try every hot new restaurant in town, or would you rather just find a decent place to eat. Are you a drinker? If so, do you have specific brands or can you drink anything? What about the kids? When you go on vacation, do you buy them snacks and goodies or let them choose one treat? The answers to these questions are essential to determining if an all inclusive is right for your family. Take a look at some of the questions Deal Mommy had before her trip to the Turks & Cacios and how she answered those questions.
Not all-inclusive resorts are the same. Once you have a framework for your vacation, you know what to look for in an all-inclusive resort. Beware, all-inclusive doesn’t necessarily mean EVERYTHING is included. My friend Julie from Balancing Mama wrote this wonderful article on the difference between a cruise and Beaches. Cruises are often billed as all-inclusive, but as Julie found, that’s not really the case. Make sure you have a through understanding of what all-inclusive means and ask lots of questions. For instance, think about childcare. If you want some time away from the kids, then be sure appropriate childcare is included. By appropriate, I mean that your kids might actually go without making you feel guilty about leaving them. At Beaches Turks & Caicos childcare for children newborn through teens is included. Here’s what Sara from Mom Endeavors thought about the childcare at Beaches Turks & Caicos for her children ages 7, 4 and almost 2.
Downside of an all-inclusive resort. If your goal is to hang out on a beach and play board games with the kids at night, an all-inclusive resort may not be worth the expense. In addition, if you’re paying an all-inclusive price, you want to get the most out of the resort, which can be limiting. We like to enjoy some of the local flavor of places we visit, including attractions and restaurants like Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl in the Turks & Caicos. Although you are welcome to go off property at an all inclusive, your best value is staying within the resort. Foodies may find the larger resorts lacking in fine dining. Our meals at Beaches varied from ok to very good, but I wouldn’t say any of the food was fine dining. Beringer wine and premium liquor is included at all Beaches bars, but many all-inclusives will limit either premium liquor to certain hours or bars. If this is important to you, make sure you ask specific questions.
So is an all-inclusive resort worth it? Depending on your ideal vacation, an all-inclusive resort could be a wonderful way to pay for your vacation up front and then never worry about a thing, including ever having to say ‘no’ to something. Want another frozen poolside treat? No Problem.