how to book a packaged vacation

All-Inclusive Tricks of the Trade

all inclusive tricks of the trade[trip style = all-inclusive]

Booking your Trip

  • Who to book with
    • Resort direct.  If you have a preferred all-inclusive, get on their newsletter list.  This way, you'll be the first to know about insider-only deals.
    • Resellers.  Here are a few of my faves:
      • Canada -,
      • USA -,
  • What to Ask for
    • Top-floor, many all-inclusives have tile floors which can be loud if you're on a bottom or middle floor
    • Quiet room away from elevators or stair wells
    • Room away from the resort's night club or cabaret
    • Some resorts have two sections: regular + enhanced.  Prior to booking, double check if your resort has this offering.  Sometimes the prices are cheaper than expected for a far superior offering.  Once when I was in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, the Resort offered us an upgrade to their premium area for only $10 extra/day. Stupidly we said no.  After being at the resort for a few days and seeing the premium area, I wish we'd said yes.
  • When to Book
    • Find most discounted prices: fall, spring, late summer.
    • With the exception of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, hurricane season hits the Caribbean from June - November with September usually being the most problematic month.  Note that most major resort chains like Superclubs and Club Med offer weather and hurricane guarantees.
  • Double Check
    • Does the resort require reservations for restaurants?
    • What's the dress code?
    • Does the resort offer premium-brand drinks?
    • Do they have a tipping policy (ie - some resorts forbid it, others unofficially encourage it)
    • Are motorized sports included?

Getting There Most resorts outsource the airport transfer, therefore, make sure you have a few extra dollars (between 2 - 5) for tipping the driver to and from the airport.

While There

  • If you go in high season and want a premium spot on the beach or at the pool, you may have to get up early to reserve your preferred spot.  This is not true for every resort.  I just stayed at the Sandals Whitehouse and always got an excellent spot on the beach between 10 - 11am.  This depends on occupancy, time of year and beach chair to guest ratio.
  • Bring an insulated travel mug to minimize trips to the bar and keep your drink cool.
  • Also make sure to pack some sort of beach bag.  When you're catchin' rays away from your room for the better part of the day, you'll want a place to store items like camera, room key, water bottle, books, mags, ipod, cover-up, etc...
  • Don't come back with bites all over your legs (don't laugh, I see it happen to guests every time I visit all-inclusives in the Caribbean).  Always bring insect repellant just in case.  The Caribbean is lush and sandy, hence noseeums, sand flies, etc...

Related Don't Judge an All-Inclusive until Day 3 :: 7 Reason to Wait to Evaluate A Redo trip :: What to do when an all-inclusive experience goes belly-up Update on my Redo Trip :: An overview of the highs and lows of the Sandals WhiteHouse