01 September 2010

how to plan your all inclusive getaway

As a travel writer, people pick my brain on an almost daily basis for vacation advice.  It can be daunting to dole out advice to strangers, because everyone has a different travel style.  And when people tread on “Where do you think we should go for our honeymoon?” territory, I tend to get a little nervous.  Hello, this is one of the most important holidays of a couples’ life!  I’m happy to proffer my two cents on pretty much anything travel-related, but hope that my opinion, albeit expert and insightful, is just one piece of information in the grandmaster decision-making process.

Most of the requests I receive are for romantic getaways, adventure travel, dog-friendly destinations, and  lately, last minute all inclusive vacations that won’t break the bank. This past week alone, my inbox fielded several requests for all inclusive suggestions in both the Caribbean and Mexico.

I’ve stayed at a handful of all inclusive hotel properties and my personal experiences have run the gamut from poolside wet tee-shirt contests during spring break at Tesoro Los Cabos Lucas to a luxurious, highly personalized stay at Hacienda Tres Ríos in Riviera Maya that defied all inclusive stereotypes. In both scenarios, the resort packages provided excellent value and convenience coupled with the perfect mix of nightlife, beachfront adventures and laid back moments (the holy trinity of any successful all inclusive stay, in my opinion).

To help make any vacation a success, it's important to consider your leisure time needs when planning.  Here are a few guidelines to think about when hatching your all inclusive getaway plan:

1. Decide where you’d like to go. (Most all inclusive resorts tend to be near beaches.)

2. Decide when you’d like to go. Summer, spring break and Christmas break are peak travel times, while May through November is hurricane season in the Caribbean.

3. Figure out what your travel budget will be.

4. Ask potential resorts about specific amenities that matter to you, such as child care facilities, food and beverage options, number of pools or proximity to the beach.

5. Find out what amenities are included in the all inclusive price. Some resorts may include some activities (like canoeing), but not others (like motorized water sports), or may charge a surcharge for top shelf liquors or super fancy menu upgrades.

If you’re trying to stretch your travel dollars, now is the time to take advantage of off season all inclusive deals, and yes, even start thinking about holiday travel. Happy travels!

This post is supported by Luxury Villas Maui

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