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All-Inclusive Vacationing: It's All About Expectations

When most people think of all-inclusive resorts, they think of the mass-market (and massive), fun-in-the-sun variety you see in television ads and full-page magazine adverts. No doubt they've grown in number and appeal, and why not? No one likes to be nickled and dimed, especially while on vacation. And if you don't mind sharing your time with 300-plus revelers, these resorts offer a large variety of dining options, albeit with an emphasis on buffets, and lots of recreational opportunities. What most of them don't offer is a sense of peace and privacy.

You can find alternatives, though. Many smaller, more private resorts also are all-inclusive to varying degrees. But understanding the differences between them and their bigger brethren, and just how all-inclusive they are, is important in setting your expectations. After all, vacation success comes from enjoying experiences that meet or exceed your expectations.

For starters, the smaller and more remote the resort, the fewer choices you probably will enjoy. Dinners may be limited to several options for each course, with the menu changing daily. But at least you know the dishes will be custom prepared and freshly served. Smaller resorts tend to focus on local fare, in many cases seafood, but with transportation being what it is in this day and age, they also bring in high-quality condiments from around the world. Also, the water sports being offered may be the non-motorized variety, with the positive here being that your siesta in a beachside hammock won't be interrupted by the noisy whine of a jet ski.

September/October 2013

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