Woman relaxing in tropical climate

Has it just felt too long since your last vacation? Are you peeking around the corner to plan your perfect getaway? If so, then planning far in advance can help get you one step closer to sipping that Mai Tai on the beach for a fraction of the price. However, it can be challenging to know which avenue to take between the romanticized all-inclusive vacations or scouting it out on your own. It can be especially more difficult when your dream vacation is limited to a tight budget. You don’t want to end up eating more costs than planned.

All-inclusives seem like a great idea if you want to know the exact costs before leaving. However, the biggest risk with them are the hidden costs, so be informed to make the best decision for your budget. We have considered the potential hidden costs of all-inclusives, so you are able to make an informed decision that works for you!


This might seem like a no-brainer, but most all-inclusive resorts will require a flight. If you are leaning towards a cruise, you will have travel time to the port, but from there will be reliant on the ship to get you to your many destinations. Any travel beyond will require an additional expense. Is your parking included once you arrive? The owners will pride their resorts as a place you will never want to leave, so additional travel should be minimal. However, if you prefer more spur of the moment adventures, this may not be for you.

Food & Drink

If a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Remember that discounts may be there for a reason. You will not be happy to find out upon arrival that half of the resort is under construction, so ask questions. At an all-inclusive resort, the idea is that you don’t have to carry around cash or card once you get there. All of the drinks and meals should be 100 percent covered….within the limits of your packaged deal. However, you run the risk of having average food, with repetitive meals. Want that fresh lobster? There may be an additional price. For specialty restaurants that are included in the costs, you may have to make a reservation which can be difficult to do in advance. Drinks beyond coffee, juice and tea may come at another expense, so be prepared to pay for alcohol.


You are going to want to read the fine print of what activities are included in the price. Things like massages, scuba diving and boat rides are most likely going to cost you extra. If you are fine with soaking up your time relaxing on the beach and enjoying the nightly provided entertainment, this won’t be an issue!


All-inclusives are not meant for the traveler who likes being exposed to other cultures. You are primarily going to be spending your time with others similar to you. The places your cruise ship ports at are often times large operations that do not always benefit the local economy. If you are a traveler who prefers to enjoy your time away without the stress of adapting to a different culture, all-inclusives might be for you. You won’t have to worry about scouting for transportation, getting lost or language barriers.

It’s important to realize that all-inclusives may not be cheaper than a non-inclusive vacation. However, they may save you the time and energy it takes to plan out every detail of a trip. The potential savings from a DIY method may not be worth the energy to some. The most crucial part to making sure your money is well spent is to read the fine print of every purchase agreement you make for your vacation. Tipping, Wifi and a resort fee may be added onto your bill at the end of your stay and we want to help you avoid that!  In this way, you can have a blast on your trip, and NOT your wallet!