10 tips to making the most out of your stay at an all-inclusive resort

If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean at an all-inclusive resort:

MAKE A LIST! We have an all-inclusive list prepared so we don’t have to think twice every time we plan one.  Here are some tips we picked up:

(1) Pick a resort that suits your needs & budget. Everyone has different preferences. Some enjoy lots of outdoor activities, others prefer the calmness of the beach and taking up a good book. Focus on finding a resort that has the best of all worlds (so to speak). Set a budget in mind and plan accordingly.

(2) Read reviews (ex. TripAdvisor) for that time of year. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to know how others perceive the resort(s) of your choice. The best tip we can give you is to look at reviews during a specific time period. For instance, if you want to travel in December, see how the resort has been rated in December. Remember, seasons change, as does the service, activities and experience! Plan accordingly!

(3) Come prepared – snacks from home. While you gorge on beautiful fruits, and a variety of pastries and snacks, sometimes it is nice to have a few snacks from home…especially if you need time to adjust to the food. Keep in mind that buying a small bag of chips, for instance, could cost you 3x more. Avoid overspending (especially if you have kids) and pack those necessities.

(4) Donations & such. Growing up with more than we could wish for, it is always important to also give back to those less fortunate. Rather than sending money through charities, this is a chance to give first hand. Pack toiletries for women or shoes/clothes for men and a couple of light toys/electronics for kids. Even candy goes a long way when you’re walking through the streets. The small amount we spend on everyday necessities is worth a lot more to those who can’t afford them on a yearly basis.

(5) Bring a water bottle. No, not for water – but for beer or your favorite mixed drink. Resorts usually give you small cups, but if you want to lay on the beach for an hour, you’re not going to want to get back up! Not everyone can afford butler services at resorts. Bring a water bottle or a large jug and ask the bartender to fill it, and don’t be afraid to ask for more of your favorite alcohol if it’s too watered down for you. As for brands, see what brands they have, they will usually give you the local brands, but if they have something behind the table (i.e. Havana club, Brugal, etc.) ask for it by name. It’s (generally) included and if not, send some tips their way and you’ll be amazed at the service they’ll provide you.

(6) Travel must-haves: meds / bug spray / sunscreen. Although you thought of everything from a swimsuit to formal attire for “A la carte” dinners, make sure that must-haves are also packed. Take the time to include these in your list. Best be well-prepared than suffer the consequences (and shell out $10 for a small bottle of sunscreen at the resort shop).

(7) First day must-dos: dinner reservations / activities / tours. As excited as you may be to start off your day, take the time to get everything in order from DAY 1. You’ll have plenty of time to relax. Set up your “A la carte” dinners, attend group tour workshops and book your tours ahead of time.

(8) Get to know the personnel. Respect and courtesy go a long way. Lend a hand, smile and wave, take the time to know the personnel and the locals. When the time comes, you’ll be amazed to see how grateful they are that you’ve treated them as people, not staff.

(9) Don’t forget to tip. I’m not saying break the bank, but leave something for the bartender that pours your drinks or the waitress that brings them. If someone stands out at a restaurant/buffet bar, learn their names and try to be seated in their section to provide them with their well-deserved tips.

(10) Leave a present for the housekeeper on the *FIRST DAY*, not the last. I know many people who leave the housekeeper a gift on the last day, but I always do it on the first day – why? The room always seems to be cleaner and look nicer. Just a few things from home…a small body wash gift set, clothes, or other things that locals cannot either get easily, or have to pay premium for. It goes a long way, and they will be very appreciative of it. This will also come in handy, especially during busy seasons, when towels or other basic items will be prioritized by the staff.

In the end, enjoy yourself and make the most out of your week off. Exchange contacts, buy souvenirs and bring back lasting memories!

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