All Inclusive Holidays
All-inclusive holidays have seen a vast increase in popularity in recent years. In fact, the demand has grown to such an extent that some holiday companies now offer their entire selection of hotels and resorts on an all-inclusive basis. But what does all-inclusive actually mean?
When looking at holidays, there is usually a decision to be made about what board basis to choose, and the choice can range from room-only, through bed-and-breakfast, half board and full board, right through to all inclusive. The all-inclusive deal is the one where not only all meals, but additional items like snacks and drinks, and often activities as well, are included in the price you pay up front. It differs from full board, where breakfast, lunch and evening meal are covered, but everything else is pay-as-you-go.
Why All Inclusive?
Many of us work hard all year, and count on our annual holiday as our one chance for real relaxation. However, it often doesn't work out like that. Many factors can contribute to unexpected stress, one of the worst being the discovery that incidental expenses like meals and drinks are amounting to much more than we had bargained for -- so we start to worry about running out of money.
All inclusive holidays are one way in which holiday companies aim to eliminate the stress factor from your time away. On these holidays, not only your meals but your snacks and drinks are already paid for, so most of the time you can leave your wallet in the hotel safe. Often, the only time you will need it is when shopping for souvenirs and gifts.
Benefits of All Inclusive
So why would you choose an all-inclusive holiday? One of the biggest benefits is that it takes all the uncertainty out of the planning. You work out your budget before you even set off on holiday, and this will be the total of your holiday cost, apart from your personal shopping. No wondering, no worrying.
A side benefit of this, of course, is that it greatly reduces the amount of cash you need to take with you. The more cash you have, obviously, the higher the risk of loss or theft. Meals, drinks and snacks are the number 1 reason for carrying cash around on holiday, so not having to pay for these relieves you of this burden. Depending on the holiday, you may even be able to dispense with cash completely.
All inclusive holidays are an especially good idea for families with children, as children's needs are often the most unpredictable factor on holiday. You never quite know when the children are going to be hungry or thirsty, or demand a snack or an ice-cream. In an all-inclusive resort, you have everything you need right there, often including kids' activities or entertainment as well.
Surprisingly, you will often find that the overall cost of an all inclusive holiday is very competitive when compared with a traditional holiday. This may be because you can benefit from economies of scale when paying for food and drink at home in your local currency. You could even find this puts some far-flung destinations, which you had thought unaffordable, within your budget.
What do All Inclusives Actually Include?
The important thing to bear in mind is that all-inclusive deals are not all the same, so before booking it's important to be clear exactly what's included and what isn't. Some all-inclusive brands just cover non-alcoholic beverages, others include local alcoholic drinks but not premium brands. Likewise with meals -- some all-inclusive resorts feature mostly buffet-style dining, so if you fancy fine dining with a choice of speciality restaurants, you will have to choose your resort carefully.
Included activities also vary -- non-motorised water sports like kayaking are often included, whereas motorised sports like jet-skiing may not be, and neither usually are spa services. However, there are some notable exceptions, one of which is the Body Holiday, on the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean. Here the all-inclusive rates embrace not only a range of holistic and sporting activities, including group golf and tennis lessons, but a daily 50-minute luxury spa treatment.
The fact is that anyone can benefit from all inclusive holidays. As well as families, they work well for romantic breaks and adults-only holidays too -- in fact these are where you often find the most luxurious deals. For sheer value for money, most of the time all-inclusives just can't be beaten.