Choosing between an all-inclusive resort and one where you pay for everything separate can actually make a big difference in your pocketbook if you aren’t careful. Our honeymoon was spent on the beautiful beaches of Exuma Bahamas at an all-inclusive resort. Our eyes lit up at the price that included food, entertainment, rooms, and many activities. We thought all we needed to pay for was the hefty flight, any activities away from the resort and the small cost of souvenirs. We were wrong about some things and right about others! Here’s a few pros and cons of making this big decision for your honeymoon.
Food and Drink
The Pros: Most all-inclusive resorts offer every kind of food you can imagine for each meal. You can go super fancy one night eating a gourmet European meal or you can dial it down and have a buffet along the beach. You can choose from numerous types of fun desserts, and even eat as much sugar as you want at the end of every meal. There’s usually not a cap on your meal so if you want to eat two entrees, go for it. Alcohol is flowing freely from the poolside bar to the dinner table. It’s all on the house so have six margaritas if you can handle it. Your happy bartender usually has a specialty and can make crazy drinks you’ve never heard of and will yearn for once you return home. On our honeymoon, we even went to a dessert party one night with hundreds of different little dessert plates covering the tables. You can eat all day and night without a care about a bill at the end of the meal.
The Cons: There may be every food imaginable sitting right in front of you, but that doesn’t mean it always meet your taste buds’ requirements. The quality and taste of the food isn’t always top notch either. One thing that drove my husband was crazy was the portion of each meal. We get a bit spoiled in America with huge portions that could feed entire families. Most of these portions are smaller so he would often go to a different restaurant after finishing his entree just to gobble up another small portion of food. The buffets are different in that you can fill your plate to the brim and return ten times, but you may never find something on the plate that fulfills you. Some places may offer their own spin on food that you aren’t accustomed to at home. I was very confused when I asked for queso in Mexico and they brought me a big hunk of hard melted mozzarella. I didn’t understand they didn’t know about the runny Velveeta we use for Tex Mex.
The Pros: You don’t usually have an excuse to be bored at an all-inclusive resort. It even rained an entire day on our honeymoon and we were still able to play board games, go dancing inside, and attend a cool yoga class. Most places offer extraordinary classes, watersport rentals, horseback riding, and even snorkeling. Every night offers a dance party, live concerts, parades, and karaoke. Beach parties and dance clubs are common at the resort. The one night we decided to stay in when it was raining, we entertained ourselves with a movie night complete with free room service.
The Cons: The worst thing about the best activities is the price. We decided to hit the spa for a couples massage, but it wasn’t included in our package. You’re stuck at the resort, so they can charge what they want. The price for that little massage was outstanding. The resort usually pushes you to do outside tours or activities not included in the main fee. We wanted to swim with the pigs in the Bahamas, but couldn’t fathom paying over $300 for this little excursion. Many of the free activities get crowded quickly so if you want to join that yoga class, get there early. It’s hard to find a place to chill out when everyone is at the same activity all the time.
The Pros: Honeymoons usually mean hundreds of pictures of the scenery and selfies, but only a few pictures of the actual couple. It can be daunting to ask random people to stop their life to snap your photo. This is why many resorts offer a photographer that can follow you around snapping photos throughout your trip. At the end of your vacation they offer you all of these photos as if you’ve been models your entire honeymoon. They offered us an extra photoshoot at sunset where we would get dozens of snaps of just the two of us. At the end of our trip we had already forgotten the fun snaps they took of us the first few days. They’ll even put it to music on a slideshow for you.
The Cons: Surprise, the photographer isn’t usually included in the all-inclusive price. All of those beautiful, perfect pictures they snapped during your trip cost a few dollars each even if you buy them in bulk. Those photoshoots they offer for “free” are usually so hard to turn down because the pictures are amazing. How do you say no to perfection even if they are expensive?
The Pros: Most packages at all-inclusive resorts truly do include almost everything you really need for a good time. You won’t be shelling out any extra on your room, food, or most activities. Some resorts even offer discounts on airfare travel. If you went to a place to pay for everything extra you could be paying thousands of extra dollars as every meal and night of fun adds up. If you were to hit a Las Vegas nightclub, you pay minimal $18 for a simple beer. Think about how this adds up over an entire honeymoon.
The Cons: There might be hidden fees in your fine print. Think about your cell phone. Can you even be away from social media on your honeymoon? Many times these resorts do not include wifi or cell service so you’re forced to actually hang out without posting your every move. We ran out of sunscreen on our trip so we innocently went to the resort’s store. We paid a small fee of $35 for a tiny bottle of sunscreen. The resorts “get you” with those souvenirs and any extras that you need.