So you’ve decided you want the ultimate relaxing, indulging and FUN beach vacation at an all-inclusive resort. You’ve made a great decision!
As a travel agent that specializes in all-inclusive resorts, I’ve had my share of incredible and not-so-incredible experiences at these resorts. Along the way, I’ve compiled a list of mistakes I see people making.
So if you want to get the most out of your next all-inclusive resort vacation in Mexico or the Caribbean, then keep reading!
Mistake #1: Not Checking the Dress Code
A lot of all-inclusive resorts have dress codes, especially at dinner time. Many require men to wear long pants, collared shirts and/or close-toed shoes. Without the proper attire you may be stuck eating at the buffet every night. You can usually find the resort’s dress code on their website, so be sure to check that before you pack!
Mistake #2: Not Asking For a Specific Brand When Ordering Drinks
Just because your resort includes premium alcohol with their all-inclusive plan, it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically give you the good stuff. Always be specific about what brand of booze you want when ordering drinks. Otherwise it’s well city for you!
Mistake #3: Not Bringing Enough Sunscreen
We all know how important sunscreen is, especially when you’re spending hours soaking up rays on the beach or chilling at the swim-up bar. If you forget to pack sunscreen you can buy it at the resort gift shop….at a ridiculous markup. Sunscreen will usually run you about $40/bottle if you have to buy it there. Same goes for things like pain relievers and toiletries.
Mistake #4: Not Taking Advantage of Bellhop Services
You don’t have to drag your luggage across the resort in the blaring sun. Use the included bellhop services. When you’re getting ready to check out, just give them a call and they’ll come pick up your bags. Just be sure to tip them for their hard work. And that brings me to my next mistake…
Mistake #5: Not Bringing Small Bills For Tips
With a few exceptions (like Sandals or Couples resorts), most guests tip at all-inclusive resorts. You’ll want to reward your favorite bartenders and servers who go above and beyond to make your vacation great. I always travel with a stack of 1 and 5 dollar bills to dole out each day. US Dollars are widely accepted throughout Mexico and the Caribbean and a small, thoughtful tip can go a long way in making a difference in someone’s life.
Mistake #6: Thinking Everything is Truly Included
Hey, I get it. The resort said it was all-inclusive. So you shouldn’t have to pay for anything once you get there, right? Wrong. Every resort is different, but they’ve all created additional revenue streams. Examples include: Pool or beach cabana rentals, upgraded wine and spirit lists, motorized excursions, spa treatments, golf packages and more. Don’t be alarmed that not everything is free. Check your resort’s website for a list of included amenities & paid amenities.
Mistake #7: Falling For the Timeshare Pitch
While we’re talking about additional revenue streams…the vacation club (aka timeshare) pitch is the worst offender. The resorts can be very sneaky about getting you to attend their timeshare pitch meeting. They may disguise it as a ‘welcome orientation’ or ‘VIP presentation.’ They may hound you every day. Don’t get sucked in. This “90 minute meeting” turns into about 3 hours of your day and a hard sales pitch. Don’t spend your vacation in a meeting room. Just.Say.No.
Mistake #8: Overdoing It
Not that I speak from experience or anything <ahem>, but it’s really easy to overdo it at an all-inclusive resort. When you don’t have to worry about paying the bill at the end of the night you may tend to go a little overboard. You don’t have to drink ALL the drinks or eat ALL the food. Let’s just say you may be spending the next entire day in your room paying for it!
Mistake #9: Not Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
This is your opportunity to try new things. Order that drink that sounds super weird or that menu item that kind of scares you. Worst case scenario, you don’t like it and you order something else. But more likely, you’ll discover a new fave!
Mistake #10: Booking The Wrong Resort or Plan
This is a biggie. Do your research before choosing your resort. (Or enlist the services of a travel agent that really knows their stuff when it comes to all-inclusive resorts….I just happen to know a great one. Wink wink). If you’re celebrating your honeymoon then you probably don’t want a resort that’s crawling with screaming kids. If you have teenagers then you probably want a resort with lots of activities geared towards them. If you’re a beach lover then you don’t want to book a resort on an ugly beach. Some resorts offer both European Plans and All-Inclusive Plans. The European Plan likely only includes breakfast. Don’t accidentally book that rate thinking you found an amazing deal! The resort restaurants and bars usually charge hefty amounts, so you’ll end up paying way more than if you’d just booked all-inclusive to begin with.
RELATED: Don’t make the mistake of going to the WRONG island! Check out our free all-inclusive resort destination guide.
And that’s my list of 10 mistakes all-inclusive guests make. I hope this helps you to enjoy your next all-inclusive resort vacation to the fullest! Got any additional mistakes to add to the list? Let’s hear them!
And if you’re looking for help planning your next all-inclusive resort vacation then I’d love to chat with you! Schedule your free planning call and let’s get this party started!