Are you looking at booking an all-inclusive vacation, maybe even for the first time? You’ve come to the right place. Max and I are HUGE fans of the all-inclusive experience, but not every hotel is created equal. It’s really important to have the right expectations and pick the right hotel to ensure a smooth and luxurious vacation. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten things that will absolutely ruin your all-inclusive vacation so you can make the right decision for your dream destination.

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One of the most important aspects of any all-inclusive luxury vacation is the food and dining experience. Something many travelers overlook is exactly what is available at that hotel for your room type/dates/package. You may be surprised to find out that there are a lot of hotels that limit their a la carte options to a certain type of room or number of nights. For example, let’s say you are booked at All-Inclusive A for 5 nights and according to the website, they have 3 a la carte restaurants so you are looking forward to trying them all. Only, upon check in you learn that those a la carte restaurants are only open to club level guests staying for more than 7 nights. Or let’s say you book All-Inclusive B and you find out upon check-in that their a la carte options charge a surcharge for non-suite level guests.

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Want to learn everything you need to know before you book your trip? Check out this guide.

The term “all-inclusive” most commonly refers to food and beverage, and not everything on property. Very few hotels include activities and excursions in the price, beyond non-motorized water sports like paddle boarding or kayaking. Sandals is an exception to this rule. Sandals includes scuba diving and other sports, but know that this is very rare. Typically, you’ll find options to rent snorkel gear for free and those non-motorized water sports I mentioned, but anything resource intensive or activities that require humans or associated costs like gas, will cost extra. Our recommendation here is to review the hotel’s website carefully as they often list their activities they offer. Many will have asterisks next to non-included items:

There are lots of things that can ruin your trip, but there are also lots of ways to avoid that disappointment. Picking the right hotel, particularly when it’s all-inclusive, is critical. Let us know if the comments if you’ve had any of these experiences or if there are other handy tips for travelers to avoid! As always, reach out to us on instagram or email if you need some help picking hotels- it’s what we love to do and we’re always happy to connect with you :).

Jump to what you’re looking for:

00:00 – Intro

00:52 – 1. Overlooking restaurant options

02:14 – 2. Paying 3-star prices and expecting 5-star service

04:38 – 3. Not knowing what activities are included

05:25 – 4. Not anticipating the price of activities

06:47 – 5. Not budgeting for add-ons

08:08 – 6. Alcohol isn’t included

09:21 – 7. Not expecting to tip

11:25 – 8. Setting the wrong expectations for butler service

13:12 – 9. Assuming transfers are included

14:41 – 10. Booking the wrong all-inclusive for your needs

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