Just like nearly everything in life, All Inclusive Resorts have pros & cons. Some people love all inclusive vacations while others seem to detest them and yet another group, possibly the larger percentage, of people fall somewhere in the middle between these two positions.
We thought we’d list all the ones we could think of so you can decide whether an all inclusive resort vacation is right for you. If you have other pros or cons you’d like to suggest, please respond in the comments area at the bottom of the page.
Pros of All Inclusive Resorts / Vacations:
You know how much it will cost for the entire vacation before you even book your trip.
Leave if you want to
You still have the ability to leave the resort whenever you want to for other activities, sightseeing or dining.
Drink as much as you want
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are usually included, without limits, at most resorts. Some resorts also include alcohol in your room.
Cheaper than paying for your own drinks
When you go out to eat or party, drinks are usually the most expensive part. If you like to drink heavily while on vacation, having all the drinks included alone can pay for the difference between all inclusive and non-inclusive hotel rooms.
You don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. Many all inclusive resorts have everything you need for your entire vacation and you can just stay at the resort unless you want to leave. Some even have nightclubs so you can party from morning to well past sunset and stumble back to your room.
In some areas, traveling outside the resort area can be questionable, and at least not feel safe for some travelers. When you’re on vacation, feeling unsafe can ruin the entire trip. Staying at the resort can actually be safer in some occasions, or at least feel more safe leading to a more pleasant experience.
No need to pack a cooler, beach chairs, umbrellas or other items that you may need if staying at a budget hotel.
Spend less on “things”
If you don’t go shopping and just stay at the resort, chances are you won’t pick up nick-knacks you will later loose or throw away.
No cooking or grocery store trips
If you’re not making any of your own food, there’s no need to cook or make runs to the grocery in order to save money vs going to restaurants.
Eat as much as you want
Most, if not all resorts include all you can eat food. Larger or more luxurious resorts may have more than one restaurant where the food is really good.
Do anything you want at any time of day. You don’t have to rush to get cleaned up and head out and catch the tail end of happy hour to save a couple dollars.
Activities are included
Many resorts include activities that you’d normally have to pay for. Boogie boards, kayaks, bicycles, and other similar things can be included.
Transportation from the airport
Increasingly more and more resorts include pick-up and drop-off shuttle services. This can save you a few dollars, and also provide increased safety and convenience when traveling in unfamiliar or less safe destinations.
Safe & convenient for travelers with children
Family friendly all inclusive resorts usually have activities and day-care for kids where you can check your kid in and out any time during the day allowing you to safely leave your child to play with other children and know they will be supervised and in a safe area.
Cons of All Inclusive Resorts / Vacations:
Limited food selection
You are limited to the food provided at the resort unless you want to leave. If the resort doesn’t have good food, this can be miserable.
Feeling stuck at the resort
Some people feel they paid extra for all inclusive, so they feel like they can’t leave the resort because they want to maximize the value of what they paid for.
Missing out on a full experience
For those who want to explore or get a feel for what life in the destination could be like, you will miss out on this if you never leave the resort.
Everything is not actually included
Many resorts have additional features or activities that are not included, such as jet ski rentals, jeep tours, spa treatments.
Limited times or selection for meals and drinks
Some resorts only include meals at the buffet, or meals during specific times. Others may only include happy hour drinks. Rules like these may mean your schedule revolves around that of the resort’s.
Limited alcohol selection
Some resorts may only include certain alcoholic drinks, or not have a full bar in the all-inclusive area. It can be common to only have low-end alcohol available for drinks since they are focused on quenching the thirst of masses instead of the alcohol connoisseurs.
Not getting your money’s worth
If you don’t drink alcohol, drink very little, eat very little, or don’t like any of the activities included, you may be able to get a better deal by not going with all inclusive.
It costs more
All inclusive pricing is based on the total cost of accommodation plus average cost of food and drink consumption for the resort guests. Depending on your drinking and eating habits, activities you like to do, and desire to explore the area and eat where the locals do, it may be cheaper to purchase everything separately.
What About You?
What do you feel are some of the Pros & Cons of All Inclusive Resorts or Vacations?