By Henry Sayers
The concept of an all-inclusive vacation has gained immense popularity in recent years, offering travelers a hassle-free and immersive experience. These vacation packages cover everything from accommodations and meals to entertainment and activities, providing a comprehensive and stress-free escape. In this article we’ll explore the myriad of benefits of opting for an all-inclusive vacation and recall a worry-free spring break to Mexico that converted my family into all-inclusive enthusiasts.
Convenience of Up-Front Fees
All-inclusive vacations are budget-friendly. One of the advantages is the cost effectiveness. With all expenses bundled into a single package, travelers can plan their budget more accurately.
Before we go further, it’s important to note that all-inclusive packages do require the payment of a per-person fee directly to the resort (this is in addition to your exchange or Getaway fee). These fees are determined by each individual property and can vary greatly. They’re based on a variety of factors, such as the number of on-site restaurants and bars, what sort of food and beverages are served, and the types of activities that are available. The fee for children is generally discounted depending on their age. And please note that when booking an all-inclusive exchange or Getaway, the all-inclusive fee will be based on a 7-night stay (unless noted otherwise) and the maximum occupancy of the unit.
If you’re booking online, all-inclusive fee information will be available in the Important Advisements or Review Information section before you confirm your exchange or Getaway, respectively — or you can call your Member-Services Center for more information. (Click here for regional phone numbers.)
The All-Inclusive Appetite — Unlimited Dining
Once that fee is taken care of, though, you can put away your wallet because the vast majority of all-inclusive packages typically boast a variety of dining options and cover all on-site meals, snacks, and drinks (yes, alcohol, too), as well as a range of activities and entertainment options.
Admittedly, the endless meals and no-cash-necessary trips to the bar are all-inclusive highlights. There’s a special feeling of liberation that comes from standing up at the table after dinner and not having to sign a credit card receipt or a room charge slip. Plus, at most resorts, multiple restaurants are the norm, so there’s usually cuisine to suit everyone’s palate, whether that means pasta at an Italian trattoria, fresh sushi, a Teppanyaki-style affair, or comfort food at a steakhouse.
One night during that first all-inclusive family vacation — at a restaurant that specializes in signature Mexican flavors — I couldn’t decide between a simple shrimp cocktail or the catch-of-the-day ceviche, so guess what I did … yep, ordered both, and then still enjoyed an entree platter that consisted of a barbacoa, octopus, and steak taco for my main course.
Our daughters routinely went to the breakfast buffet for a selection of bacon and eggs, bagels, pancakes, granola, and fresh fruit, while my wife and I started the day with lighter bites and pleasing views at the little beachside cafe.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what was easily the most popular food station for our family and I’m sure many others: the chocolate and vanilla soft-serve (and self-serve) ice cream machine that as far as I could tell was running 24 hours a day.
Activities Day and Night
Today’s all-inclusive properties typically feature a wide range of amenities and activities suitable for all ages that are part of the prepaid program, so you can fill your days with as much recreation and relaxation as you’d like. Whether it’s water sports, fitness classes, or entertainment shows, all-inclusive resorts offer a wide variety of options to keep guests engaged. Families, couples, and solo travelers alike can find activities to match their interests.
For us, that meant slipping and sliding around the water park, staging family races in the small Hobie catamarans (once we all learned how to sail them), navigating the stand-up paddleboards when the water was calm in the morning, and spotting parrotfish, angelfish, and an eel while snorkeling at a nearby reef. The girls got temporary tattoos at a kid-centric “street fair” that was set up around the main pool one afternoon, and we enjoyed evening entertainment that ranged from a comedy production to a ’90s pop music extravaganza and an interactive game show (guest participation mandatory!). Other cool options at the property included yoga sessions, Spanish classes, and guided handicraft creation.
We did choose to book a guided cenote (a sinkhole with a natural pool) snorkeling tour and an afternoon of shopping in downtown Cancún. Each was an added expense, but the resort’s concierge desk handled the off-site-activity arrangements, which made the process quite convenient.
Where To Get All-Inclusive
You’ll find all-inclusive resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, but the Cancún to Riviera Maya stretch and South Baja are where you’ll see the most variety and selection in Interval’s network. Look for this symbol in the online Resort Directory, which signifies all-inclusive properties. And remember, each resort is different. Some cater to families, others are adults-only, and most fall somewhere in between. There are properties with enough restaurants for you to eat a different type of cuisine every day and some that only have a couple of bistros, but regularly rotate the menu. When you’re researching for your trip, in addition to looking at the dining options, be sure to check what activities and entertainment are included so it all matches your family’s style of fun. As far as budget is concerned, Mexico is home to everything from top-tier luxury resorts to more casual all-inclusive spaces.
All-inclusive resorts often prioritize the safety and security of their guests. With on-site security, organized excursions, and controlled access to the premises, travelers can relax and enjoy their vacation without concerns about personal safety.
All-inclusive properties are as all-encompassing as the overall experience itself, so you’ll be able to find an all-inclusive resort that suits your travel preferences. Especially if your travel preferences include worry-free vacations filled with delicious food and fun activities.
Click below to take a closer look at the all-inclusive availability in Interval’s network.
How To Go All-Inclusive
To easily search for all-inclusive properties in Interval’s network, log in to intervalworld.com and then:
- Click on the Resort Directory tab.
- Select your desired region, either in the drop-down menu or on the map.
- Choose a specific area, for example: Mexico, Riviera Maya, or Mexico, South Baja.
- On the Search Results page, filter your results by selecting All-Inclusive Resorts (keep in mind, not all areas have all-inclusive properties, so this filter option isn’t available on every Search Results page).
- Click on individual resorts for more information.
Once you’ve selected a resort, you can begin either the exchange or Getaway purchasing process to learn more about the all-inclusive details at that property.
- Click the Exchange or Getaways button and continue to fill in your vacation details until reaching the Resort Advisements page for exchanges or the Review Information page for Getaways.
- Here, you’ll find what’s included in the all-inclusive package, minimum/maximum stay and occupancy requirements, fees, when they must be paid, and who to contact in order to pay, as well as some additional details.
- Click the mandatory fees and Terms & Conditions acknowledgement statements and then the Continue button to proceed with your booking.
To do a quick search of current all-inclusive Getaways deals, log in to intervalworld.com and then:
- Click the Deals tab.
- Click on Resort Deals on the navigation bar.
- Choose an available destination.
And remember, no matter how you search, just look for the all-inclusive symbol to identify all-inclusive properties in the online Resort Directory.