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.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.