Read FTF's money-saving tips for choosing the right resort, planning your vacation, and booking your next all-inclusive getaway.Read FTF's money-saving tips for choosing the right resort, planning your vacation, and booking your next all-inclusive getaway.
Picture a tropical beach scene with toddlers and trained counselors shoveling sand at the edge of a calm, gentle surf; teens struggling offshore to get a windsurfer airborne; and parents reclining in shaded lounge chairs nursing a fruit punch — and it's free. Well, not exactly free, but all of these activities, kids' programs, snacks, beverages and lodging are typically included in one price paid in advance for an "all-inclusive" vacation. No matter what your interest or your appetite; the options are there for you and your family.
All-inclusive vacations are enjoyable, simple to research, easy to book, and a no-brainer for families looking for a getaway that doesn't take too much time to plan. And some even offer a Vacation Guarantee in their rates, meaning that you can return at a later date if you don't have the fun you anticipated!
Understand why all-inclusive vacations are so popular?
10 Tips for Saving on All-Inclusive Family Vacations
Here is an all-inclusive list of pointers for planning a vacation at an all-inclusive resort.
• Use a Travel Agent. Many provide seasonal discounts and a few specialize in discounting all-inclusives, or in packaging airfare with chain hotels with all-inclusive options.
• Use the Internet. The major travel sites such as Travelocity and Expedia offer specials everyday. Also, try honeymoon specialists All-Inclusive Resort Travel ( 800/536-3866; ) who book a few select family resorts; Jamaica specialists All-Inclusive Vacations ( 800/600-1025); upscale resort specialists Changes in L'Attitudes ( 800/330-8272); and the much broader-based TourScan ( 800/962-2080) who cover the Caribbean and Mexico.
• Travel Off-Season, rather than over the school holidays. If you're flexible, rates can drop 35%-60%. Also avoid the mid-summer Jamaican national holiday period, when the island is jamming!
• Request Regional Airlines, such as Mexicana or Air Jamaica, rather than American or other US carriers. Families traveling with children under 12 can save a lot because many foreign carriers still have 'kids rates."
• Read the Fine Print carefully. Some resorts charge nothing for children under 12 sharing your double room, some charge up to $75/day per child over 2!
• Bring Your Family's Essentials! Disposable diapers run US$15/pack in gift shops, and Cheetos are exorbitant.
• Ask about "Single Parent" packages, so you're not hit with double the single adult rate!
• Plan Your Own Tours. Study up on your destination and choose a few daytrips. If you go on your own in a taxi, you'll save a bundle over the resort's "Excursions" program.
• Take Advantage of Kids Progams so that you have plenty of time to relax and your kids can make new friends — often friends for life.
• Relax! Don't force everyone to try everything "because it's paid for;" they'll all end up having a miserable vacation.
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