If you’re looking for a budget-friendly resort vacation in the Caribbean or Mexico, you will do well to consider an all-inclusive resort, where you will pay one up-front fee and then can expect to pay nothing additional for accommodations, dining, drinks and even some included activities.
Price, Costs, and Value
The best value all-inclusive deals are clearly on the islands with the most resorts — competition for guests brings down the price. For example, the Dominican Republic has about 100 all-inclusive resorts in the eastern part of the country and mostly clustered around Punta Cana. Cancun/Cozumel has a comparable number of all-inclusive resorts and Jamaica has about 70 all-inclusive resorts. The savvy traveller can get amazing deals in these particular locations, even during high season.
The Benefits of an All-inclusive Vacation
The all-inclusive resort is budget-friendly and extremely convenient, since you pay one fee when booking and nothing additional for dining, drinks and activities. Most resorts offer a multiplicity of dining options at themed restaurants — you can book a reservation at a steakhouse one night, an Asian-themed venue the next and Italian the night thereafter. Keep changing it up or return to your favorite spot again and again. And the best part is the fact that there won’t be a bill at the end of the evening.
Many all-inclusive resorts cater to families with children of all ages. Look for a resort that offers a kids club, teen club & a multitude of youth activities. Oftentimes, kids up to the age of 12 stay free or for a nominal fee. Many all-inclusives offer activities such as golf, tennis, ziplines, kids’ clubs, snorkeling trips, Spanish lessons, beachfront climbing walls, kayaking, and trapeze instruction. You can oftentimes leave the kids to these activities for a few hours and get in some valuable “me time”.
Of course, if you want to avoid kids altogether, you can choose an adults-only all-inclusive!
What to check before you book
Be cognizant of the fact that “high season” runs from December through early April. “Peak season” (aka when you will pay a premium) is the last week of December and the first week of January. In May and November you might encounter “shoulder season” rates in some places. June through October is the “low season.” Also keep in mind that some of the best high season deals are available from around January 10 through the end of February too.
An Air + hotel package is often the best deal. Punta Cana is an excellent choice with flights from all major US cities and a modern airport close to the resorts. Choose a resort near a major airport for quick transfers and if you get an early flight you can hit the beach before lunch.
If you can begin your vacation mid-week, you will save money. You will certainly pay a premium to arrive on a Friday and depart on a Sunday. Choose to arrive on a Tuesday or Wednesday and you can cut the overall cost by 10%
Think about the type of accommodations you require. Must you have an ocean view room or can you settle for a garden view? Do you want to be right on the beach or do you mind a short walk to your accommodations? Is a jacuzzi suite a must or can you settle for a regular tub in your en suite bathroom? All of these perks will be reflected in your room rate. Think about the amount of time you will actually be spending in your room and the level of amenities you require before you book.
If you’d like more info on the best all-inclusive resorts, check out this article listing the best all-inclusive resorts out there.