Pick a favorite tropical destination, and you'll likely find all-inclusive options that focus on the fun without compromising on variety. A close look at a resort's fine print can shave hundreds off an itinerary -- without losing that luxury travel feel. Here are five tips to make your all-inclusive experience as memorable as it is affordable.
Look for package deals
Package offers (an all-inclusive favorite) can save hundreds by booking flights and hotel nights at the same time. For example, going with a package offer can save around 39% at the Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos All Inclusive Golf & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Booking value packages at the SeaGarden Beach Resort All Inclusive in Montego Bay, Jamaica, can mean savings of several hundred dollars on your trip.
Hungry? Pick for variety
While many all-inclusive resorts feature multiple restaurants, choosing one with an especially wide range of options can lead to major savings on food. With a half-dozen or more restaurants to choose from, it's easier to resist the temptation of tourist-trap restaurants down the road. Iberostar resorts like the Iberostar Bavaro All Inclusive in Punta Cana are known for a range of food options that embrace local tastes. Vacationers can take their pick of six restaurants that run the gamut of Dominican, Cajun, French, and even Japanese cuisine without paying top dollar prices. At Breezes Resort Bahamas All Inclusive, diners can choose from tropical, Italian, and Asian fusion fare, or opt for the traditional buffet.
Pick your crowd to slash activity costs
Family-friendly, adults only, or themed: The type of resort determines the crowd and extras included in a stay, which can save hundreds on activity costs. An adults-only resort like Riu Palace Aruba All Inclusive covers nightlife ranging from romantic beach dinners to free nightly shows and admission to the dance club, with casino games and a 24-hour ice cream shop to cool down after a hot streak. At a family-friendly resort like the Sunset Beach Resort Spa and Waterpark All Inclusive in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Pirate's Paradise Waterpark can keep everyone busy with 240-foot water slides, a lazy river, and a separate kids camp and teen center. On land, there's mini-golf, basketball, and tennis for more family games -- all included with the price of your stay.
Beware of extra fees
When looking for a package that's on budget, it helps to know what comes with the room and what might cause extra charges on the bill. At Riu Negril All Inclusive, the sauna and all-day babysitting are free, but Wi-Fi and the Renova Spa cost an additional charge. At Royal Service at Paradisus Cancun, the Wi-Fi is free -- as are newspapers, laundry service, and valet parking. Pick your priorities, and choose a resort that has a friendlier policy for them.
Save on the view
A little flexibility on a view can mean big savings. Resorts have different terms for their views, so learn how they value each room and plan accordingly. At the Riu Palace Antillas, a large resort with nearly 500 rooms, an ocean view comes cheaper than a room right on the oceanfront itself. At a resort like Discovery Bay by Rex Resorts All Inclusive in Barbados, a smaller resort with under 100 rooms, a garden view can cost hundreds less than a view of the sea. Consider how much that perfect view is worth -- the beach is always waiting, no matter where you sleep.