To All-Inclusive or Not?
By Kim Goldstein with Journeys Inc.
When planning your honeymoon, there are some important questions that you want to discuss with your fiancé or fiancée such as: what’s important to you for your trip, where do you want to go, where do you NOT want to go, but most importantly, do you want to do an all-inclusive resort?
All-inclusive resorts vary greatly in levels of service and luxury. Many well-known resort brands are tapping into this fast-growing industry, and some destinations have shifted their focus primarily on their all-inclusive resorts.
Most of the all-inclusive properties are in Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and St Lucia. Sure, there are all-inclusive resorts elsewhere, but they typically fail to compare to the destinations that make these amenities their main aspect. There are also a few resorts that offer an “all-inclusive add-on,” but once you receive your final bill, these might not be as cost-effective.
So, what do you get with most all-inclusive destinations? The standard inclusions are food, drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic), and activities. Activities vary with each location. While some resorts include all water sports, others don’t. Sandals Resorts, an increasingly popular honeymoon destination, has an extensive water sports package that includes kayaks, standup paddleboards (SUP), snorkels, and scuba gear if the couple is certified. For a couple looking to be active on their honeymoon, a package like this one can help cut the cost of your post-nuptial vacation.
Looking for a different type of rest and relaxation? Some resort chains like Hard Rock and Palace Resorts include resort credits that can be used for services like spas and scenic tours, only incurring a nominal service fee/ tax. For example, Único in Mexico includes both spa and tours directly in the pricing, resulting in huge savings. While you won’t be able to participate in as many watersports, activities like tours allow you to see first-hand the beautiful scenery of the destination you’re visiting.
What about price? One common misconception with all-inclusive resorts is that they are more expensive than a “regular” resort. But, after factoring what you would have to pay out of pocket at a traditional resort, an “everything included” regime is much more cost-effective. They’re even a good value for those who don’t drink alcoholic beverages because again, everything is included. If you’re staying at a resort that isn’t all-inclusive, the restaurants on property tend to be pretty expensive because they have a “captive audience.” Many travelers find that they need to eat off property at restaurants in order not to break the bank. While they may be saving money on the dining, one has to factor in the money spent on transportation, not to mention the hassle of going off property all the time just to eat.
If you’re planning on spending more time on the property relaxing and enjoying resort activities, then the resort selection is really more important than the actual destination. If you find that you don’t like to stay on property at a resort and you’d rather be gone all day touring, then an all-inclusive may not be the best value for you. An important thing to consider, many honeymooners love to explore their destination, but they will only go off property one or two days, not every day, making the rest of their time at the resort worth the all-inclusive aspect.
Many all-inclusive properties are adults only, but only a few are couples only. The difference is at a couples only resort, everything is made for couples. The beds are kings, the hammocks are made for two and it’s a more romantic atmosphere, perfect for a pair of honeymooners. At an adults-only resort, there is a completely different kind of atmosphere. Some rooms, instead of the private, roomy king size bed, will have two double beds, designed for groups of friends traveling together.
Your honeymoon is the time to enjoy each other’s company for the first time as a married couple, so it’s important that you consider these factors when deciding on your resort. Many travel agents specialize in honeymoons and can assist you in selecting the perfect resort for you at no additional charge.
Kim Goldstein is a certified destination wedding & honeymoon specialist at Journeys Inc. To learn more about how she can help plan your dream honeymoon or destination wedding, please visit www.kimgoldstein.com.