All inclusive hotels are a popular way to travel for business and for pleasure. The big upside of it all is that for a one time fee you get all the main amenities such as meals, housekeeping and entertainment. This gives you the opportunity to stay relaxed on your vacation or keep a cool head in preparation for that big business meeting.
The value that you get for your money might vary from resort to resort, but there are some sure-fire ways to get the most out of your all inclusive experience. Here are our top 10 all inclusive vacation tips:
1. Pick the right all inclusive resort for your needs
There are different types of hotels to suit different groups of people. Look at the people you are travelling with and consider what type of attractions and entertainment would be best. If you are travelling with your partner for a romantic getaway then an adult only resort with a spa, honeymoon suite and candle lit dinners might be best. If you are bringing your kids then you might look for a hotel with a water park, sports, day cares and ice cream bars. Some resorts even allow kids to stay free. Also be sure to find out if they have air conditioning, TV, hot water, telephone, WiFi, hair dryer and other basic amenities so you know what to expect. Reviews left by past visitors are a good way to help you make a decision.
2. How all inclusive is “all inclusive”?
The term all inclusive is surprisingly flexible. When looking at your options be sure to find out what exactly is included and what you might have to pay for once you get there. All inclusive usually means food and non-alcoholic beverages provided but many hotels here in Jamaica include alcoholic beverages, room service, shuttle service and recreational activities in that bracket. So make note of this when searching for the right hotel.
3. Search for Flight + Hotel Bundles
Whether it is here in Jamaica, or Cancun, Mexico, if you are visiting from abroad be sure to check for flight and hotel deals. Sometimes booking these together as a bundle can yield great discounts. Great sites to compare prices include hotels.com and bookit.com. You are more likely to find good deals here than on the website of the hotels themselves.
4. Pick the best travel time
All inclusive hotels have higher prices and more crowds close to or during holiday seasons. Unless you MUST go a certain time then you might want to look into booking during the quiet season. All inclusive resorts are way cheaper, sometimes by hundreds of dollars at select times of the year. Especially the spring months after spring break and before the summer kicks off (April, May and early June). Book like this and you’ll be enjoying quiet beaches with no crowds and any seat you want at dinner.
5. Order room service
If the all inclusive resort you picked offers room service in their package then you definitely should treat yourself. After a long day of dancing, snorkeling and trying delicious cuisines, you can indulge some more. Whether it is work or vacation there is no crime in having some cheesecake or even a steak delivered to your room at 11 pm. You don’t want to leave your room for breakfast the next morning? Ask the kitchen to send up some pancakes.
6. Reserve a seat for dinner at Specialty Restaurants
Maybe it is hidden like Shake Shack’s secret menu item, the Peanut Butter and Bacon Shack Burger. A lot of times when booking a hotel we don’t make note that some of the best restaurants at a resort is reservation only. That fancy sushi restaurant is probably included in your all inclusive package, but hard to get into if you don’t reserve ahead. Don’t wait until you get to the hotel to secure your dinner at the higher end restaurants. Do it before you get there. This will ensure you don’t get stuck eating hot dogs at the beach grill.
7. Ask for Anything
Some persons might be nervous to ask for things. Especially if they are not sure if it is available or if it is rude to ask. But remember, a lot of these hotels want to prove their inclusiveness. So feel free to ask for whatever you like. Maybe you want something specific at dinner that’s not at the menu or you need an extra pillow for your room. No matter what, it’s worth asking for. The worst that could happen is that they don’t have it available.
8. Bring Resort food on tours or excursions
If you are leaving the main grounds of the hotel for a tour or any type of activity. Don’t spend unnecessarily on food. Take advantage of the unlimited food provided by your hotel. Pack containers or wrap in napkins easy to carry food from the buffet or grill that can go a while without being in the fridge. This way, you truly get the most for your money. You can be in Kingston for a one day trip and enjoying a hamburger from your resort in Negril.
9. Find the “Top Shelf” bar
Just like those high end booked out restaurants, every hotel has that one bar that is made almost to feel exclusive for certain guests. It usually has beverages of a higher quality selection than the poolside bar. Sometimes it is in the lobby or other indoor areas. Very unlikely to be outdoors. Here you can trade in your Jim Beam scotch for some Johnny Walker. If you enjoy drinking, hunt this bar down no matter what hotel you book.
10. Check out WiFi services
Let’s face it. These days we CANNOT do without the internet. If your trip is for vacation or business you probably need to stay connected either way. Unfortunately, even in these modern times, some resorts in the Caribbean do not provide Wi-Fi in their all inclusive package or they do but the service is really poor. Consider this when making your plans as you might have to get a data plan for your phone. Be sure to read more about staying connected while in Jamaica on our blog.