• When it’s all-inclusive, make sure you get it all

    Bob Beard
    I believe there are only really two general types of vacations. The first is what I call the “good citizen” vacation. This is a vacation wherein you either plant yourself in a big city or drive around a country trying to see as much as you can in the vacation time you have allotted. It is like playing “cover the card” bingo; the winner is the person who sees the most. You have to start out in good shape for this type of vacation; you come home exhausted but worldlier than when you started.

    The second type is what I call the “R & R” vacation. This is where you start in a state of nervous exhaustion, believing that if you see one more email or participate in one more teleconference you will become physically ill. One of the best vacations you can take in this case is the “all inclusive vacation.”

    BB All InclusivesSince Club Med pioneered this type of vacation way back when I was hand-writing tickets for stage coaches, its popularity has skyrocketed. There are “all inclusive” resorts now in virtually all the typical tourist destinations you can think of and some in unlikely spots. The basics of an “all inclusive” are set up so you prepay a set amount that includes your accommodation, meals, beverages (yes, even alcoholic beverages at many), gratuities, and entertainment. You truly do not need your wallet except to pay for any extras when you check out. Some of the biggest decisions you have to make for a week are: at which of eight restaurants do you want to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; when should you start drinking; when should you stop drinking and, when should you tan your back instead of your stomach.

    Mexico has “all inclusive” resorts down to a fine science, as does the Caribbean. There are even “all inclusive” hotel resorts in Europe and Asia. But be careful; all “all inclusives” are NOT created equal.

    Here are some tips if you are considering this type of vacation:

    • Make sure you select the right type of “all inclusive” for you. There are “all inclusives” that specialize in families, honeymoons, couples, weddings, adults only, golf, spa, and ski.
    • If drinking is important to you, make sure all alcoholic beverages are included and not just soft beverages. Also, some properties use “top shelf” liquor in their drinks and others do not (so I am told).
    • Many of these resorts cover a vast amount of acreage, so make sure you request a room near where you think you will spend the most time.
    • A car is usually a waste of money if you are truly going to a resort like this to relax. And even if you get “compound fever” and want to see a little of the local color, the resort usually has a van to run you into the nearest town.
    • Do your research. Sites such as Travel Advisor usually have forums with people who have been to the resort you are considering and have lots of good advice including which of the restaurants are better than others.

    Well, my next vacation is “R&R.” What’s yours?

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