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All Inclusive Resorts: An Easy Way to Budget for Travel

staying on travel budget at all inclusives
One of the best ways not to over spend on vacation is to pay for as much as possible before the trip. It’s pretty easy to take care of transportation and hotels in advance, but food, drinks, and activities can be real travel budget killers.

We’ve had plans fall apart after we couldn’t find a restaurant that fit our budget or because we decided to do a last minute activity. Vacations shouldn’t be spent stressing over the price of dinner. That’s why all inclusive resorts are an easy way to budget for travel.

What’s Does All Inclusive Really Include?

Each resort has its own list of amenities that are included in the price. For the most part, all inclusives include the following.

  • Accommodations
  • Meals and snacks
  • Basic alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and a few types of mixed drinks
  • Nightly entertainment
  • Gym and sauna entrance
  • A full list of activities for all ages such as kayaking, tennis, crafts, and games for kids

Things that cost extra might include premium alcoholic beverages, babysitting, spa treatments, laundry, and excursions like shopping trips, horseback rides, or motorized water sports.

Some resorts offer packages that combine airfare and transports into one price, but it makes sense to see if purchasing transportation separately might be better, especially if redeeming points and miles for airfare.

Less Stress

How people view resorts depends on their travel personality. If you are someone who likes to immerse themselves in local culture and cook meals from food purchased at the village market, all inclusives might not be for you.

If you are a traveler who likes to relax, lay on the beach, and not have to think about searching for a restaurant that fits your budget, a resort with one fee for everything might be the ticket. What I like about staying at an all inclusive is that you can slow down and not worry about finding that one activity or restaurant the whole family will enjoy. From fancy, candlelit dinners to nachos and hamburgers; everyone can have their choice.

Many times on vacation, travelers have to choose one activity or excursion due to budget constraints. When experiences are included in the accommodation cost, it’s easy to try several new and different things. I know when Jim and I went to Jamaica, we went kayaking, snorkeling, and golfing because it was included in the price of the resort. I’m sure we would have only chosen one or maybe none of those activities if we had to pay out of pocket.

All inclusive resorts offer many options, yet they make it easy to enjoy all that is offered. You can also soak up the sun and do nothing if that’s what you’re looking for. In that sense, I think they can certainly be less stressful than traditional vacations.

Fun For All Ages

Another nice thing about staying at a resort is that there are many options that cater to every type of traveler. Some resorts are for couples only. Some have kid friendly food and games. Others cater to the party crowd, while many are dedicated to spa time and relaxation.

An all inclusive resort might be the best way to take multi-generational trips. It’s sometimes hard to satisfy young kids, parents, and even grandparents who like to travel together. Having everything available in one location without having to drive or walk very far makes for a worry-free trip instead of feeling like a drill sergeant when trying to round everyone up for dinner or an activity.

I wouldn’t want to go this route for every vacation, but sometimes it’s nice to travel low-maintenance without the need to spend money after arrival. We have a fall trip planned to an all inclusive in Mexico, and I can’t wait to hit the beach and not worry about anything other than sunscreen and which restaurant is within walking distance for dinner.

Have you been to an all inclusive resort? What was your favorite part?



About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. We went to Sandals for our honeymoon and it was incredible. I remember almost never being truly hungry the whole trip, and the coffee/ice cream/cafe that was open virtually 24 hours a day was our favorite place to stop in between meals. I would definitely go back.

  2. I had no idea activities were included in some of the resorts prices. I’ve always been reluctant to go on an all-inclusive vacation because just laying on the beach drinking for a week doesn’t sound like fun to me.

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