All About All-Inclusives, Part 2
Last week, I wrote about what’s included at an all-inclusive resort. This week, let’s dig a little bit deeper into this topic and talk more about this unique and popular vacation style.
What are the benefits of staying at an all-inclusive resort? The biggest benefit is that an all-inclusive tends to be a stress-free vacation. When you know what the vacation is going to cost up front—and when almost everything is included in the price—you are more likely to keep your vacation in budget. No budget stress! Another stress reducer is that everything is in the same place and easily accessible. You don’t need to drive to find activities or restaurants in an area that is new to you.
Is this a good vacation for my children/grandchildren? Yes, an inclusive can be a great multi-generational vacation! Kids love all-inclusive resorts because they generally have fantastic pools, lazy rivers, beaches, and more. Some even include special kids’ activities with staff members who specialize in keeping children entertained. One important note: all-inclusive resorts are generally sub-categorized as adults-only or family-friendly. You’ll want to make sure that you are booking a family friendly resort if you intend to bring kids. If you aren’t bringing children/grandchildren with you, you should decide if you want an adults-only environment or if you prefer a family-friendly environment.
Where can I go if I want to try an all-inclusive resort? Most all-inclusive resorts are found in the Caribbean, especially in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Because they are so popular in the Caribbean, all-inclusives are an excellent option for those seeking a tropical vacation with lots of relaxing on the beach or at the pool. In the US, there are only a couple of true all-inclusive resorts. You are more likely to find resorts where you can add on a meal plan or where you might have access to on-site included activities.
Is there a resort or a brand that you recommend? Yes, we definitely have our favorites! But before we can recommend a resort, we want to know more about what kind of vacation you want. Adults only or family friendly? Luxury or no frills? Attentive service or more independence? Lots of activities or lots of serenity? Exciting nightlife or quiet and calm? Beach or pool? Food quality or food quantity?
If you’re ready to give an all-inclusive a try, we’d be happy to recommend something that we think is the perfect fit for your preferred vacation style and destination. With so many options to choose from, there is an all-inclusive for everyone and for every budget!
All About All-Inclusives, Part 1
One of our clients’ favorite vacations is to an all-inclusive resort in a tropical destination. There are so many advantages to staying at an all-inclusive resort. We thought it would be fun to highlight some information about this popular way to travel, for those who haven’t yet tried an all-inclusive resort.
What exactly is included in “all-inclusive”? At a minimum, it includes accommodations, 3 meals a day, drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), activities, entertainment, and gratuities. Some resorts include premium activities such as golf and motorized sports, airport transfers, and private butler service. When booking an all-inclusive vacation, make sure you understand exactly what is included.
What are the accommodations like? Just as in any resort, there are a variety of room categories available, such as standard view, ocean view, ocean front, pool view, and even over-water bungalow. Amenities often vary based on the room category. For example, higher categories might come with butler service, individual plunge pools, swim-up access, or complimentary mini-bars. Accommodations are often spacious and luxurious to ensure a superb experience.
What is the dining experience like? All-inclusive resorts generally offer multiple dining options for guests. Not only are all meals included, but snacks are also available. There will often be a buffet, quick service/snack options, and at least one nice table service restaurant. There may be specialty dining options, such as a chef’s table or themed meals, which may be included or may come with a small additional charge. Most resorts cater to guests with both local dishes and international cuisine. Beverages are also one of the inclusions at an all-inclusive resort. This will include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, but know that some premium alcohol may require a surcharge.
What is there to do at an all-inclusive resort? Each resort will offer different activities, some of which are based on the resort’s location. Most resorts offer non-motorized water sports such as paddle boarding, snorkeling, and swimming. There are often cultural activities, such as cooking demonstrations and dance lessons. You’ll also often find fitness options, like classes, a gym, or organized sports. Some resorts may offer enhanced activities for an additional fee; in other resorts, these premium activities may also be included. Examples of premium activities are golf, scuba diving, motorized water sports, and local excursions.
Now that we’ve reviewed what is included in an all-inclusive, next week we’ll look at some more details about what you can expect at an all-inclusive resort so that you can determine if this might be a good vacation style for you to try.
Using Your Future Travel Credits
As 2020 travel plans have changed, many people, including a lot of our Globe Travel clients, have taken advantage of travel suppliers’ future travel vouchers. While they go by a lot of different names, the concept is the same: you leave your money for a cancelled trip with the travel supplier, instead of getting a refund, and you can apply that toward a future trip with the supplier. Suppliers often offered an incentive to travelers of 10-50% additional as part of the voucher.
As we’re starting to think about redeeming these vouchers, my biggest tip is that you read the fine print. Actually, you should have read the fine print before you accepted the voucher. Each one comes with terms and conditions.
* For cruises, sometimes the voucher can only be applied to the cruise fare but not to airfare, taxes, port fees, etc. If this is your situation, you may want to consider upgrading your cabin so that you take full advantage of the value of your voucher.
* For airlines, the voucher is often considered a “waiver.” This means that the airline will waive the change fees for you to change your air schedule. In some cases, this offer is only valid one time. If you get a second ticket using your waiver and you have to cancel that trip, you may be subject to penalties for changing the ticket a third time.
* For escorted tours, you may have the option of using the voucher or of rebooking the same trip for the price you had planned to pay in 2020. You should do the math on this one. If the tour company has increased the price on the trip in 2021, is it better financially to lock in the 2020 price or better to take the voucher with the incentive (10-25% usually) and pay the higher 2021 price?
* For trip insurance, you may be eligible for a voucher if you haven’t made a claim against the policy for a trip you didn’t take. In this situation, you may be able to get a voucher for the amount you paid that can be applied to a future trip.
In addition to understanding the details of the value and conditions of your voucher, you also need to know the timeline you have for using the voucher and whether the voucher is transferrable to someone else. If you have to use the voucher “within one year,” does that mean one year from the date you were planning to travel or one year from the date you purchased the trip? Make sure you have the documentation and understanding of all of the conditions for using your voucher.
These are just a few examples of scenarios we have come across as we’ve been working with our clients. Rest assured that when you work with a Globe Travel adviser, we will work with you to understand the conditions of the voucher and the appropriate procedures for redeeming it. We will make sure we maximize it so that you can get the most out of the vacation you lost in 2020. Just another example of the services travel professionals provide and why working with us is a great idea!
Happy Labor Day!
As we close out the last weekend of summer, all of us at Globe Travel want to wish you a Happy Labor Day. While this has been a most unusual summer for us in the travel industry, it has been our pleasure to help our clients reschedule their summer plans so that they can take their dream vacation, maybe just at a different time. We’ve spent endless hours on hold working to get every last detail of your trip straightened out—all because we care about our clients so much. It’s this personal attention to detail that sets us apart.
Have a safe and healthy Labor Day holiday, whether you are staying at home or getting away. Here’s to a better summer with more travel next year!
If you don’t already have your summer 2021 vacation planned, give us a call. But please call after Labor Day, because we’re taking a day off too!
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