Pros and cons of all inclusives

Man is not created equal and neither are all-inclusive resorts! The all-inclusive trend began in earnest about 15 years ago. Slowly but surely, the pre-paid holiday where all your meals, accommodations and activities are pre-arranged have become one of the top selling holiday experiences. As the market developed, we have seen the resorts themselves begin to cater to specific niche markets. There are all-inclusives for “adult only” such as Secrets and Sandals. We have multi-generational 5* resorts such as Generations and Dreams. And then we have the homogenous “cookie cutter” resorts of the RIU chain.

PRO: No Need To Worry About the Details

Generally if you’ve chosen the right resort, the all-inclusive experience is the epitome of the stress-free vacation. All the cooking, cleaning, activities, etc. have been looked after. Your resort will likely have many choices for restaurants including buffet, casual and fine dining options. Most resorts offer at least limited activities such as beach sports, snorkeling equipment and planned activities.

CON: All-Inclusive Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “ALL” inclusive!

Although most all-inclusives mean free-flowing alcohol it does not necessarily include premium brand liquors. Not all restaurants are always included as well as all items on the menu. Spa services are rarely ever included and keep in mind that the hardworking wait staff, porters and maid service do need to be tipped accordingly.


PRO: On Site Help Is Available

One great advantage to this type of travel is the local activities staff. Especially for families with young children/teens who need to be entertained and who want to learn a new sport or activity.

CON: Teenage Drinking Issues

Most all-inclusives do little to monitor the under-age drinking issue. If you are travelling with kids 14-18 years of age it will be your responsibility to watch their alcohol consumption.


PRO: Everything Is So Accessible

You can literally roll out of bed in the morning and spend the entire day at the resort. Everything you need – food, activities, amenities, medical care, even shopping is onsite and readily available. You don’t ever have to leave the resort!

CON: You Feel Like You Can’t – Or Shouldn’t – Leave!

On the flip side this can prove to be a negative. You’ve paid a good chunk of change to stay at an all-inclusive and may feel guilty if you don’t take advantage of every activity offered!

The all-inclusive experience is one that everyone can benefit from at some point in time. Their relative affordability makes them an ideal choice for a quick getaway. The general setback is that you will likely feel somewhat isolated from the local culture and stuck in the “tourist bubble”. Many resorts are built on beautiful stretches of beach but are located far from any local cities or attractions. The ideal combination is to choose the resort which offers the services and amenities that matter to you and to then use that resort as a base to then explore the local area and culture at your leisure.

More The Joy of Travel articles

About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories