Fantasizing about a warm-weather getaway? All-inclusive resorts offer sun, surf, and savings.
If winter weather has you thinking about a tropical getaway, a resort with a flat daily rate can mean major savings. But choosing an all-inclusive resort is trickier than picking a regular hotel.
On the upside, a flat rate can save you big money over paying for all your meals and activities individually. And paying in advance means less vacation time spent planning and more time relaxing. But many “all-inclusives” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s how to make sure you don’t get nickel-and-dimed:
1. Size it up. What’s your priority? A resort with more than 200 rooms will have more amenities—and is likely to be cheaper—whereas smaller properties tend to have better service and food.
2. Mind the “extras.” Even at many all-inclusives, you may have to shell out for extras like golf, spa treatments, and off-property outings. To save up to 15%, try booking those activities in advance.
3. Comparison shop. Buying an airfare package from the resort could save you 5%, says Janet McLaughlin of Provident Travel. That said, always price flights yourself before committing.
If you’re thinking about a last-minute spring break getaway, these three all-inclusive resorts offer sand, surf, and great value.
Best for: Spa lovers
For an escape that combines healthy living with a healthy dose of pampering, try a package from the 46-cabana Maya Tulum, an hour and a half south of Cancún (from $277 per person in March, five nights minimum). The price, which includes fresh seafood meals and twice-daily yoga classes, handily beats other wellness-themed resorts in the region, says Karen Benson of Camelback Travel. The Zoëtry Villa Rolandi on Isla Mujeres, for instance, costs $340 a night. Booking a full week? The resort will throw in two spa treatments, a $160 savings.
Best for: Families
Good luck finding a resort packed with more activities than this sprawling, family-friendly Florida Club Med (from $160 per adult in March; $70 per child age 4 to 14; younger kids free). While kids paint in the art studio, swing from the flying trapeze, or hang out in the teen lounge, you can take a golf or sailing lesson. “You’re saving hundreds compared to doing these activities individually,” says Margie Hand of Andavo Travel. Sailing classes nearby on St. Lucie River, for one, are $250. For an extra $85 a day (booked in advance), the Sandpiper also offers childcare for kids as young as 4 months.
Best for: Couples
Located on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, the adults-only Chic resort (March rates from $386 for two) is the rare Punta Cana property to offer a luxury getaway at an affordable rate. To save even more, go in April, when prices drop 23%. Either way, you and your significant other can spend your visit playing tennis, lounging on the gorgeous beach, and trying out the slew of bars and restaurants. Or just opt for some alone time: 24-hour room service is included.