Family Vacation Tips

Family Friendly All Inclusive Resorts

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 17, 2012 10:10:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Family Friendly All Inclusive Resorts

Undated July 2019

Family friendly all inclusive resorts are found on some of the most beautiful tropical beaches of the world, especially in Caribbean and Mexico. At an all inclusive resort, all of your meals, snacks, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), activities, entertainment, tips and taxes are ALL INCLUDED in the price of your hotel room. Airport transportation can also included in your vacation package price. As far as activities and entertainment, family friendly all inclusive resorts offer day long activities like sports, games, non-motorized water sports, specialized kids clubs and nightly entertainment.

Non-motorized water sports often confuses people. Non-motorized water sports includes activities like snorkeling, small sailboats, kayaks, boogie boards...water activities that do not have a motor. Some resorts do require a refundable deposit to insure that borrowed equipment is returned properly. All you have to do is walk up to the water sports center, ask for your equipment and off you go. There would be extra charges for activities like jet-skiing, water skiing, and diving because these activities include equipment or boats that have motors.

Now for a bit of travel industry jargon... family friendly all inclusive resorts can be booked as an all inclusive VACATION PACKAGE, which includes airfare for your family. For families who want to make their own airline reservations or have plenty of frequent flyer miles, all inclusive resorts can also be booked as a LAND ONLY package. A land only package would mean your airport transportation and all inclusive hotel stay would be included in the price.

All inclusive vacation allow you to really relax and not have to worry about whipping out your wallet every five minutes. No worries about who to tip and how much to give. Want to try some local flavors but not sure if you'll like the taste?...give it a try and if you don't like it, order something else, it's all included. When trying to budget for a vacation, many people tend to underestimate exactly how much things like food, local transportation and activities really cost.

One of the best features of an family friendly all inclusive resort vacation is the price. All inclusive resorts are surprisingly affordable without any left over surprises. Parents know exactly what the total cost of their family's vacation will be up front before they leave home. The only extras will be souvenirs, items of a personal nature or perhaps a bit of sightseeing.

By comparison, cruise vacations often appear to price out far cheaper on paper. People often forget to calculate in extra charges port fees and taxes, soda cards or bar tabs, at least $15 per person/per day daily for tips and gratuities, ship board activities and port excursions. In the end, parents can be shocked by their credit card bill when they check out at the purser's office.

Parents can also have sticker shock when it comes to food bills in and around theme park locations. Families often think renting a vacation home at the beach or in the mountains will make for an affordable vacation. Factor in the price of gasoline and food in resort areas, not to mention the time and aggravation of prepping, cooking and cleaning. Food always costs more in and around vacation destinations. Mom and Dad end up doing all the chores, babysitting and entertaining. What began as a cheap vacation, ends up not being a vacation at all for the folks who usually needed a vacation the most. In the end, even with airfare calculated in, family all inclusive resort vacations tend to be cheaper with much less aggravation in the long run.

One question we're often asked is, "Why aren't there more family all inclusive resorts located within the United States?". Honestly it's a matter of economics. The cost of labor and supplies in the Caribbean and Mexico make it cost effective and profitable for hotels to operate all inclusive programs there. These costs in the United States would make all inclusive resorts way too expensive for most families to afford.

There are plenty of hotels and resorts located in the U.S. as well as Caribbean and Mexico that are listed as EP or European Plan hotels. EP means either no meals are included or perhaps a continental breakfast MAY be included. Many EP hotels do offer meal plans or other amenities that can be added for an additional fee. Again, in the brochures it will usually read MP for Meal plan Offered. Be sure to read all the fine print because each hotel has different rules about what is or is not included in their meal plans. Sometimes, resorts and hotels will offer promotional a family week, which usually will include specific activities or limited food. Every hotel and program is different so again... read all fine print. Recently we priced a spring break vacation for a family of four to fly from Charlotte, NC and stay in an all inclusive resort in Cancun...Total price was $4,800. Then they heard that Amelia Island resort in Florida offered an add on all inclusive program. The cost was $6,600 and this did NOT include airfare so they would have needed to drive from North Carolina to Mexico WITH FLIGHTS turned out to be a much better value for this family.

Just like people have different personalities, so do  all inclusive resorts. Some resort are for adults only and do not allow children under the age of 18 as guests. Other resorts offer separate areas for adults only and families which is great for extended families who want some togetherness and some alone time. Some of the family friendly all inclusive resorts offer condo style accommodations and floor plans with multiple bedrooms.  These are perfect for larger families or parents who prefer a bit of privacy for a little romance on their vacation. Still other resorts cater to families with individualized infant care or teen programs. 

More often than not, parents search the internet and get totally overwhelmed with the amount of vacation choices out there. One of the favorite questions we're asked time and again...."Which is THE best family all inclusive resort?" The true answer is, there really isn't ONE best family all inclusive resort. The correct answer is "The one that is best for your family!"

 Some families prefer to stay  active and love to be on the go. Others want to kick back and just spend time together. Families have different life stages too. The perfect resort for a family with a 2 year old might be a nightmare vacation for a family with a 15 year old. Just as families change, so do resorts. Management and refurbishments change the vibe at a property. This is why our staff frequently visit the resorts that we recommend to our parents. Our first hand experience helps us to keep up with all the latest and greatest changes. It's our job to play matchmaker...finding the best family all inclusive resort that perfectly fits the needs, wish list and personality of your family.


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Topics: family resorts

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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