All-Inclusive 101: One Expert’s Guide To Navigating Your First All-Inclusive Resort
I’ll never forget the experience of entering my first all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. The tropical air, palm trees, turquoise-blue sea in the distance; I could hardly contain myself. And I quickly learned (in some cases: the hard way) some valuable lessons. Your first few days of all-inclusive life can be a bit overwhelming, but as long as you are well-prepared you will have the time of your life!
Never stop drinking it! Welcome drinks are commonly the first thing to greet you upon arrival at your resort. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially after a long day of travel! If you’re traveling from a cold climate your body will likely need time to adjust to the tropical heat! You have a whole vacation ahead of you to enjoy the Rum Punch and Bahama Mamas!
- What to drink?
Many resorts will have a “drink of the day”, this is a good way to try something you may have never had before, and the bartenders will love you for ordering something they don’t have to make a bunch of dishes for since they are usually pre-made!
Side note: It’s easy to want to try everything and suddenly find yourself with a stomach ache from too many different combinations. Try to stick to one or two drink types per day and enjoy them! You will have plenty of time over your vacation to try different drinks!
- Buffet Gluttony
Beware! All-inclusive resorts do a great job to provide enough variety to accommodate every pallet. I suggest you take a lap around the entire buffet without a plate, see what is all available and make a few decisions. It is extremely easy to find yourself returning to the table with a mountain of food to eat resulting in feeling too full to show yourself around the pool. Remember, you will have plenty of opportunities to try everything!
- Know before you go
All-inclusive resorts vary greatly in the amenities that they offer. One resort may offer complimentary room service 24 hours a day, while another may not offer this service at all. It is best that you take a look at the list of included amenities before arrival so you don’t miss out on some of the awesome services your resort may offer! If your Travel Expert forgets to provide you with these details, make sure to ask them before you head out, they can even offer some tips on how to make the most out of all the amenities available to you!
- Go on an excursion!
Yes, you are there to relax, but why not take advantage of a party catamaran to a private island? Or maybe an adventure tour through the jungle?! Taking a short morning or afternoon excursion could prove to be the most memorable part of your vacation! Your resort will have representatives from different companies that offer tours and excursions, see if something sparks your interest and give it a try! Or if you’d rather plan ahead, your Travel Expert is happy to provide recommendations and even set up a tour ahead of time!
- Pack smart!
While over-packing might be a problem many of us will never get over, there are a few key items I know I will not forget the next time I’m at an all-inclusive:
- Sunscreen/Aloe: You will save a lot of money purchasing these before you get there. Most resorts do have these items available, but you’ll pay quite a bit more!
- Tumbler/Large insulated mug: You’ll save trips to the bar with a larger container, and you won’t have to worry about spilling it on the beach! Also, you can pace yourself more with an insulated container.
- Broken-in sandals/comfortable shoes: You’ll be thanking yourself when you don’t have blisters on your feet after day one!
- Don’t forget a few simple medicines! A good pain reliever for headaches or pains, cold/flu medicine, and Pepto-Bismol are good to have on hand in addition to any of your prescription medicines.
- Brush up on your language skills!
Especially if you are heading to Mexico or the Caribbean, a little Spanish goes a long way! Although English is spoken by the majority of the staff at most resorts, being able to say a few simple words in the national language can make many situations much easier while on your vacation.
- Get a few souvenirs!
It is likely that you will encounter vendors trying to sell you souvenirs. I learned very quickly that any acknowledgment, even eye contact, will immediately make you a target. These vendors are skilled salesmen and won’t quit until you have purchased something. If you are not interested, don’t feel guilty ignoring them, they won’t get mad as long as you are not rude. If you are interested, have some fun, try negotiating the price or getting a good deal! Some of the best souvenirs are the ones with a story behind them!
- Take your photos early so you can leave the camera behind.
It can be easy to miss out on the beauty of any destination by viewing it through a camera lens. I’ve found it best to take as many pictures as I can early in the trip so I enjoy the rest with my own eyes. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean sights and sounds without worrying about taking the perfect picture! Not to mention, you don’t want to damage your camera by bringing it to the beach or the pool with you.
- Relax and have a great trip!
My first time at an all-inclusive resort I was so excited to try out all of the pools, beaches, activities, restaurants, etc. that I didn’t take the time to just relax. Try to space out your activities so you can take the time to enjoy your vacation!
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