Similar to cruises, everyone seems to have an opinion on all-inclusive resorts, regardless of whether they’ve actually experienced one. Some people love the convenience and endless supply of food and drinks, while others bemoan the lack of culture or authenticity.
But disregard for a moment the opinions of your well-meaning friends and family and listen to the advice of an expert: Mark Hennigan, destination wedding and honeymoon specialist at Dreamers Travel. He helped us break down the pros and cons of all-inclusive resorts and all-inclusive honeymoon packages so you can decide for yourself if it’s your best option.
First, what exactly does all-inclusive mean?
An all-inclusive resort generally includes all of your food, drinks and activities as part of your stay. You’ll pay a nightly rate as you would at a regular hotel but there shouldn’t be any additional costs while you’re there. However, Hennigan said to make sure that everything is included.
“Some resorts do have premium or specialty restaurants with additional fees or top shelf liquor that may be extra,” he said. There may also be certain activities (scuba diving, for example) that are extra and some resorts may suggest, or expect, you to tip.
The pros of an all-inclusive resort:
The biggest advantage of an all-inclusive resort is the lack of surprises. You’ll know exactly how much you’re spending on your honeymoon (save the odd souvenir or daytrip outside the resort) and won’t be surprised by food or drink spending.
Another plus is the simplicity of an all-inclusive honeymoon. Instead of worrying about researching different hotels and restaurants for your trip you can book one place and be done. And while you’re there you won’t have to think about where to eat dinner or what bar to hang out at, just wander your resort until you find a place that looks good.
For budget-conscious couples or those who don’t have the time or desire to plan a detailed trip, an all-inclusive resort is a quick and easy honeymoon option.
The cons of an all-inclusive resort:
While the ease of having all your activities and meals in one place can be a positive, for couples who enjoy variety and want to get out and explore their destination it can turn into a negative. Because you’ve essentially already paid for your meals at an all-inclusive you won’t want to venture out and pay more to try outside restaurants. If you’re planning to go to a destination with an appealing restaurant or bar scene you may want to re-consider an all-inclusive.
Other than that, the cons of an all-inclusive really depend on which resort you book. Many have numerous restaurants and bars serving great food and drinks and have plenty of appealing activities. However, many others serve lackluster food or lack variety, and you could find yourself stuck in a place you don’t want to be. The solution? Research the resorts you’re considering to first find out what they offer and then read up on reviews to see if they live up to their claims. Travel agents like Hennigan can also help make sure you pick an all-inclusive that’ll match your expectations and fit your budget.
And another option if you just can’t decide:
While Hennigan says most couples prefer one option or the other, you could split your honeymoon between an all-inclusive resort and a regular hotel (like this couple did during their honeymoon in Mexico) for a taste of both.
If you are going to go this route you may want to book your all-inclusive stay first. That way you can relax after the stress of your wedding and have a low-key couple of days before you move hotels and do more exploring of your destination.
Now, it’ your turn to weigh in: Are you considering an all-inclusive honeymoon package or resort? Why or why not?