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All-Inclusive Hotels Verses Traditional Hotels

Advantages and Disadvantages

When planning a tropical vacation to a resort in Mexico, the Caribbean or the Bahamas you must decide whether to go to an all-inclusive resort or traditional hotel. At an all-inclusive resort, accommodations, meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and activities are included in the price and paid in advance. At a traditional hotel, you pay only the room rate and taxes and everything else is an additional cost.  You must consider your lifestyle when you make the decision to go all-inclusive or traditional.  If you plan to relax on the beach, don't drink and choose simple salads for your meals then you may be overspending at an all-inclusive. Each of these options have advantages and disadvantages that are listed here.

All-Inclusive Resorts

All inclusive vacation packages are extremely popular.  This type of travel cannot be beat for convenience and options.  All-inclusive resorts give you the ability to budget in advance for your trip and the ease of mind that you will not overload your Visa while on vacation.  In addition, bundling everything together for one price is generally cheaper than buying components separately.

All-Inclusive resorts are great for families, and I speak from experience traveling with two children.  They offer plenty of planned activities for kids and adults such as exercise classes, nature walks, games, water activities and crafts.  It simplifies the vacation because your meal choices are limited to what is available at the resort.  Most resorts offer full service snack bars that are open in between meals for light snacks.   In addition, you don't have to worry about keeping cash on hand to tip the staff or pay for food.  Many times depending on your destination it is dangerous to leave the resort and you will welcome having everything on site.

A possible drawback is that since you paid in advance for all meals and drinks if you visit an off-site restaurant, you're essentially paying twice for whatever you order. Also, there are some things at all-inclusive resorts that will cost you extra money such as  spa treatments, some water activities, sometimes golf and off-site sightseeing.

As of 2009, all-inclusive resorts are only available in the following destinations: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Florida,  and Mexico.

Traditional Hotels

Traditional hotels or resorts, allow you to customize your vacation to your own preferences.  Although it harder to budget for this type of vacation you will only pay for what you use since the upfront costs only cover your lodging.  You will need to keep money in your pocket and keep an eye on the budget during this trip because you can not always anticipate what you might spend on meals and excursions

You will have more options for dining and you are not obligated to use the hotel/resort restaurants. It is a great option if you want to explore the destination and experience the local features of the area. 

 Traditional hotels and resorts can be found all over the world whereas all-inclusive resorts are limited to certain locations.