Many people wonder if all-inclusive holidays are really worth the money. The answer is that it depends. You will need to do some research and know what things cost in order to determine if you are better off all-inclusive, or «a la carte». You will also need to watch out for any hidden fees.
It is also important to note that all-inclusive holidays vary considerably depending on type of holiday, time of year, and destination you are traveling to.
Air, Hotel and Car Rental Combinations
It can be really convenient to book all three of these with just a couple of clicks, but the price you see on the screen is not always the price you are going to pay. There can be all sorts of surcharges, airport fees, insurance on the car, gas surcharges, and more.
Price the holiday separately and together. Look at the different choices of accommodation available. You might do better with cheap airfare and an Airbnb property. Watch out for car rental versus public transportation. If the area you are going to has a good public transportation system, you probably won’t need the car. If it is more isolated, get the car.
Check the meals with the hotels. Some offer breakfast every morning, and some offer free happy hour and early bird dinners. If you like to eat early and/or have kids, the early meals can be ideal.
Coach holidays provide transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals all in one package. Someone else does the driving for you, so all you have to do is hop on and off to enjoy the various destinations and the meals provided.
The hotels and rooms can be of varying quality, as can the meals. You might do the math and decide it is better to just drive yourself. Or, you can take a bus or the train, and stop off at certain locations to enjoy the sights. Greyhound offers cheap travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and special casino excursions.
In Europe, bus and train passes are available, as well as extensive public transportation, so a coach holiday is really only worth it if you are nervous about being abroad and don’t speak the language – though these days, you can always find someone who speaks English. They are also good for those with disabilities, but do check for accessibility at the accommodations listed.
Resort holidays became popular with the advent of Club Med, but these days, all-inclusive does not mean the same as it once did. For example, the drinks might only be local rather than international brands, otherwise you have to pay a surcharge. Any extras like spa treatments can come with a hefty price tag. Therefore, it is important to read the fine print and make sure you know what extras you will need to pay for.
If the resort is very isolated, check for transport from and to the airport, and what excursions are available and included in the price. If not included, are the prices reasonable, or are there other options?
Check out the food. The buffet may sound great for the first day or two, but if you are going to be there for a week, it might start to get dull. There might be other restaurants on the property, but you might have to pay a fee for the privacy of a more intimate setting than a huge dining hall.
Check out the equipment and activities and facilities for the children. Make sure there is lots to do and watch out for hidden fees like childminding fees, lesson fees, and equipment rental.
Cruises should be all-inclusive, but watch out for port fees and taxes, service fees at bars and restaurants, excursion fees and equipment rental fees.