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5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before my First All-Inclusive Resort Vacation

Secrets to an amazing tropical resort visit!

the beach at an all inclusive resort in Cancun

I visited my first all-inclusive resort in Cancun Mexico this autumn, and it was an extraordinary experience. But as a first timer, I had a few expectations that didn’t quite line up, and more than a few questions that needed answers. Here’s the questions I asked and the things I learned on my first all-inclusive resort trip!

#1 - Bring More Clothes Than You Think You Need

a traveler in a sun hat at an all inclusive resort

As a chronically light packer I struggled here. But all-inclusives tend to come with tropical climates, and tropical climates mean heat and humidity!

Be prepared to sweat through your clothes and change before dinner. And once clothing gets wet (via rain, beach waves, pool splashes…) the humidity means that nothing will dry out as quickly as you expect. So unless you’re in the mood to blow dry your linen pants, (which I did. twice.) bring extras! Have a minimum of two swimsuits in your bag, and especially bring extra tee shirts and underwears. That what you’ll sweat through first!

#2 - Drink Smart

One of the best things about all-inclusive resorts is the free drinks and the fact that you can throw a stick and hit a bar. I’m not here to give you a lecture on how much to drink while you’re at your resort. You know your limits and you are the one that gets to decide what kind of vacation you’re looking to have.

a hand holding a glass of champagne with a cherry in it

The advice I will give you is to be intentional about the types of drinks you order. My first day at the resort, I jumped chaotically between different kinds of alcohol. And while I never got truly drunk or hungover, I still ended up sleeping really restlessly, and I blame the weird mixture of liquors. Do you, but be intentional! You’ll have more fun that way.

#3 - Pack Some Small Bills

Most all-inclusive resorts will tell you that gratuities are included. And while this may be true, having a few singles in your pocket to give to the bartenders is a great way to have your drinks made better and quicker. Same goes for waiters, bellhops, and housekeeping staff. A little extra appreciation goes a long way, and it often results in even better service than usual.

#4 - DON'T Pre-Book Your Off-Resort Excursions

There’s a million options available to you for off-site excursions at these types of resorts. You’ll see info at booking. There will be people with brochures at the airport. You’ll see them literally everywhere and it will all look so exciting!

And don’t get me wrong, you’re definitely going on an excursion (swimming with turtles anyone??). But you’re going to wait until you get to the hotel to make your booking. Most resorts have a tour desk where they’ll have info on all the tour companies they regularly partner with. And by booking at the resort, you’ll be able to take advantage of any special discounts they might be offering. My group got an incredible deal on an excursion that included a snorkeling trip and a cenote swim by booking directly at the tour desk. Take advantage!

#5 - DO Pre-Book your Transfer from the Airport

When it comes to airport transfers, you absolutely do want to book in advance. Arrivals at these tropical airports are chaotic to say the least. They’re packed with shuttle and taxi companies, most of which will be legit, but they’ll also be overpriced. Booking in advance means you can make sure you’re booking with a reputable company, and that you’re getting the best rates.

Is there anything else you want to know about all-inclusive resorts?

Reach out to me and let me know! I loved my resort trip and will gladly talk about it at great length!

I hope you enjoy your tropical all-inclusive vacation! With these tips in hand, be prepared for a life-altering experience of relaxation and adventure.

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Love and Shenanigans,


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