What Is an All-Inclusive Vacation?

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An all-inclusive vacation has different meanings depending on which cruise line or resort you talk to, but the term can often loosely applies, depending on your vacation destination. Just what is an all-inclusive vacation and the different types?

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A Vacation for One Flat Rate

An all-inclusive vacation has your expenses bundled into one flat price. You pay the fixed amount in advance. With an all-inclusive vacation, you don't have to keep pulling out your wallet. Airport transfers, food, hotel, some activities and alcoholic beverages are often covered in that one price. These vacations are usually available at a resort or on a cruise ship.

The theory behind an all-inclusive vacation is that since all your expenses are paid upfront, you won't need to spend out-of-pocket cash. But that's not always the case.

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What an All-Inclusive Vacation Doesn’t Include

Although the basics for your trip are included in your advanced payment, there are some expenses that you should plan for that may not be included.

Usually, the plane ticket to the resort or cruise is not part of the bundled rate. Instead, you'll need to set transportation up and pay for it separately. But most of the time, an all-inclusive resort will cover airport transfers as part of the overall rate.

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Excursions or sightseeing may be excluded. Keep your credit card handy. If you want to do anything outside the confines of the resort or cruise ship, there may be an extra charge.

Some all-inclusive resorts or cruises cover gratuities and will frown upon tipping. But others don't include tips in the price. The biggest extra that an all-inclusive price doesn't cover is taxes.

Is an All-Inclusive Vacation Convenient?

There's a lot to cover when planning a vacation. Once you've decided on your vacation spot, the details must be worked out and a budget planned. Some of the items you'll need to check off the list include:

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  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment

You might choose to spend the time piecemealing this together. But you'll have to take the time to research every aspect of lodging, activities and meals. Some of that research includes hotel pricing. According to USA Today, hotel pricing is at a record high; this could greatly influence your vacation decisions.

But if you don't want to worry about those details and just want to kick back, then an all-inclusive vacation may be for you. With an all-inclusive vacation, it's all planned for you. The room is provided and there are usually several restaurants to choose from. There's no worry that you'll be late for a reservation; you just walk in and eat. Planned activities on-site are available that you or the family can enjoy.

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An all-inclusive vacation is pretty much turnkey. For one flat fee, you'll have nearly everything planned out and taken care of. That makes an all-inclusive vacation convenient.

An All-Inclusive Cruise Vacation

The first type of all-inclusive vacation that most people are familiar with is a cruise. They're not only popular, but they're also easy. Accommodations, meals, beverages and most entertainment options are part of the flat fee. Childcare is also a possible benefit. Alcoholic beverages are not included, and you'll also have gratuities to pay.

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Although you can add them on for a price, many excursions off the ship are not part of your cruise package. And finally, you might have the option to combine your airline ticket with the cruise price, but usually, transfers are separate. Some popular cruise lines include Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises and Norwegian.

Resorts Offer Tropical All-Inclusive Vacations

Another type of all-inclusive vacation is at a resort. This is usually on an exotic beach, but it also could be located inland. For one flat price, most all-inclusive resorts offer lodging, choices of on-site gourmet dining, unlimited alcoholic drinks, pool, beach, on-site activities and gratuities.

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Airfare to the resort is typically not included, and excursions off the resort are extra. The Caribbean is famous for both luxurious and kid-friendly all-inclusive resorts. Depending on the location, prices range from high dollar to budget-friendly.

All-Inclusive Means a Turnkey Vacation

Paying a flat rate upfront for a dream vacation that provides all your wants and needs is not only convenient but economical. There's no planning. Just show up with your swimming suit and enjoy.

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