Beyond the Buffet: Tips to get the most from your All-Inclusive Vacation

An all-inclusive vacation is the ultimate way to switch off. It’s the ideal way to go on holiday without thinking about anything, because it’s all been covered. For those who have never experienced an all-inclusive break before, we’ve got a full guide—from how to choose your destination and resort, down to the fine details you’ll need to know before you head to the airport!

Pick the right all-inclusive resort for you


The most important thing is making sure the all-inclusive resort offers everything you want from a vacation. Make a list of your non-negotiables—perhaps you’re seeking peace and quiet from an adult-only resort, or on the flip side maybe the kids’ facilities take priority. Watch out for things like proximity to the airport (plane noise can be a real buzzkill for your relaxation plans), amenities on-site, and distance to nearby towns and beaches.

Use a travel agent

We recommend using a travel agent for your all-inclusive break who can give you the very best insider tips. Travel agents often have connections with trusted tour operators and resorts, who they recommend based on feedback from previous clients.

Not only this, but travel agents have the power to negotiate good deals and can often upgrade your room or flight class for a very reasonable price. Travel agents are experienced in helping people narrow down their dream vacation, so as long as you’re clear on what you want, they’ll be able to help you find your dream resort.

Finally, if there are any added extras you want to include in your trip—whether it’s a dream snorkelling trip or a day trip to check out some historical sites, your travel agent will be able to recommend the best and most affordable way to add this on.

Book a basic room and travel off-peak

The best thing about all-inclusive resorts is that they’re packed with things to do! Many have multiple pools, restaurants, and activities on offer.

It’s for this very reason that we recommend choosing a basic room. The budget rooms on offer are still designed with comfort in mind, just lacking things like more space or a balcony with a great view. However, with the amount of things an all-inclusive resort has to offer, you won’t be spending any time in your room!

Save your budget and spend it elsewhere—perhaps on a day trip or two, or upgrade your flights to business class.

Next, we recommend traveling off-peak. By going out of the main holiday season, you’ll get a lot more space for a much more affordable price. Who doesn’t love a bit of peace and quiet on holiday?

What to pack

When deciding what to pack for a trip to an all-inclusive resort, our top tip is to avoid over-packing. The great thing about a resort is you’ll likely spend the majority of your time in swimwear around the pool, so you won’t need multiple outfit changes each day.

We recommend our Carry-On Closet so you can spend less time unpacking and more time enjoying the resort amenities.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of reef-safe sunscreen, some books to read poolside, and something warm for the plane!

Tip, tip, tip

When planning your all-inclusive vacation, here are a few hacks to consider.

Firstly, consider how important the location is to you. Do you want to be a stone’s throw from a town, or do you plan to spend your whole time in the resort? A remote location benefits from peace and quiet and cheaper prices, but be aware of that if you’re someone who gets itchy feet from staying in one place for the whole trip!

Secondly, be mindful of very cheap prices and do your research–is the low price due to factors such as unpredictable weather in your chosen month, or building work happening around the site? The more you research, the more you’ll be able to get the best deal without missing a crucial detail.

Research what is included in your all-inclusive package. For example, some resorts have limits on alcohol or set meal times, while others have an open bar and food service all day long. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little more for the added extras.

When you arrive at the resort, be aware that some restaurants may require reservations, so decide where you’d like to eat in advance and book accordingly. For buffet restaurants, be mindful of what times you choose to go and eat, as peak meal times can be busy and chaotic. Try eating a little earlier or later to skip the buffet queues and get the best options available.

Bring an insulated cup

This ‘travel hack’ might seem like a bit of a strange one, but you can’t go wrong bringing an insulated cup with you on your all-inclusive vacation. Insulated cups are designed to keep drinks hot or cold for hours.

Whether it’s taking a coffee from the breakfast buffet to the pool with you, or an ice-cold cocktail down to the beach, an insulated cup will guarantee you a nice beverage on the go. It’s also far better for the environment than a disposable cup that may end up floating in the sea.

Leave the resort

Oftentimes all-inclusive resorts are located by the beach, or even near a town or city, and we can’t recommend enough that you take advantage of this!

It can be tempting to stay at the resort where everything is included, but stepping out and exploring the local area will undoubtedly add to your experience. You can dip your toe in the local culture and explore the stunning beachy landscapes or the town for some shopping or a drink.

Considering everything is included in your resort, you won’t have many outgoings on this trip, so treat yourself to a little extra.

Long story short…

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to browse for your perfect all-inclusive resort, wherever in the world your dream destination is! Have a great trip.


By Alex Callahan