BE A WORLD TRAVELER
Updated: Apr 1, 2019
And rock the all-inclusive with a few great tips.
My most recent trip was to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico with my two adult kids. I came away with a lot of positives and a few negatives – and I would like to share them with you in the hopes that it will help you plan your next trip.
Get a GOOD travel agent
This will change the way you plan. Yes, we live in an age where we can hop online, book our tickets, find an Air B&B and away we go. But as online savvy as many of us are, clicking and booking doesn't guarantee you will get what you want for your time and your hard earned money.
When I connected with #luxurytravelbymarcie it was the first time someone asked me what my family and I liked best about our last vacation. My answer? In Italy we LOVED the people and the food! Our favorite day was spent visiting Pompeii and exploring the ruins. We especially loved not being on a schedule and getting to explore without being herded.
Given what I told her, Marcie suggested I scrap my plans to visit the Dominican Republic and instead head to Mexico. The Dominican is beautiful, but the food in Mexico is so much better and the people are super friendly, she told me. Plus the flight is short (about 4 hours and change out of Boston) and direct! A huge selling point as my son is not a happy flyer. So, off to Mexico – #PlayaDelCarmen and the Ocean Maya Royale to be exact – we went!
KNOW YOUR ALL-INCLUSIVE
Some tips about an all-inclusive resort. Mind you, this is my first, so I’m sure there may be some specific differences and more tips & tricks than I will give, but I’m sharing from our experience exclusively.
ALL-INCLUSIVE TIP #1: Don't fall for the “time share” or “travel club”presentation.
Bottom line, this is a sales pitch, unless you want to spend the first 2-4 hours (because it’s NOT the 90 minutes they claim) of your vacation in a sales pitch, skip it. They may come to you as soon as you check in and say they are your ‘concierge’, or something like that. Be brutally honest and let them know that you do not want the tour; you will come to them if you need anything. If you decide you’d like to upgrade to their “VIP” club and return to this resort or another like it, THEN go talk them. There may be a great deal to be had!
ALL-INCLUSIVE TIP #2: Use your travel company to help book your excursions.
Talk with them about what kind of day you’d like, how little or how much money you want to spend, and how much time you want to travel outside the resort. A travel professional can help coordinate your best day ever! It's so great to have the someone in the know to guide you; I thought we wanted an adrenaline spiking, ATV-powered tour, but after chatting she said, "I have a better idea…" She recommended a small tour company that works with a local Mayan group to give tours. The people taking our photos that day were trained as youngsters to take good photos, and now they work with the tour company as adults. This company allowed the families to stay in their homes and work as opposed to other groups that had planned to come in and buy the land and use it for resorts. I was beyond impressed with this entire day and will write an entire piece on it at a later date. If you’d like more information, please look up alltournative.com.
ALL-INCLUSIVE TIP #3: Bring your own Yeti or other stainless cup + straw (or 2).
This seems like a small detail, but it addresses a critical issue. First, the use of single use plastic in resorts is rampant. Second, your drinks get warm real fast in the heat.
ALL-INCLUSIVE TIP #4: Pack light.
Think carry-on. You’re going to a warm climate, so really, you need 2-3 bathing suits. 2-3 easy dresses (or shorts + golf type shirts for the men), flip-flops, a big hat (or a baseball cap), and maybe a workout outfit or two. Wear your sneakers on the plane. Wear your heavier leggings, plus a long sleeved but light top and a cardigan or sweatshirt for evenings. Don’t bother with super dress up dresses or long pants. Don’t bother with too much makeup, even if you usually wear a lot. Resorts are very go with the flow and easy and anything “done” looks totally out of place. Let it go!
ALL-INCLUSIVE TIP #5: Bring sunblock!
Ok, this is one you need to have a suitcase for – nothing over 3.4 oz. in those carryons! You will need almost an entire bottle a day, more if you’re a family, and on resort a bottle of sunblock is nearly $25! Use a mineral-based, reef-safe brand (I like SunBum) and something sweat-proof. And re-apply that shit like the sun may kill you. 'Cuz it might. You’ll notice on your first night that 99% of the people on resort are red. Might as well throw a can of bug spray in that checked bag, too... we got lucky on this trip, no big jungle excursions. But we did suffer a few bug bites and those were BRUTAL!
ALL-INCLUSIVE TIP #6: Bring Zofran if you can.
If you can get a prescription for anti-nausea medication I would highly recommend it. At the very least pack Imodium or Pepto, along with ibuprofen and Tylenol. You can get it in other countries, but you will pay a high price.
To tie this up, I would say that all-inclusive vacations are best for groups of friends or family vacationing together. We loved having days and nights just enjoying the company of my (adult) children. We opted to stay at an adult-only resort that was on the smaller side; it was a bit quieter and not as “party” oriented. But if you’re looking for an all-inclusive with a party atmosphere, you can definitely find them! Same goes for having areas for children of all ages – there are plenty of spots that cater to families with free perks, children-centric activities and more. Know your crowd and plan accordingly.