Travel tips and advice to help you decide if all-inclusive resorts are right for you

People are very divided on the subject of all-inclusive resorts. I believe they have a time and a place, depending on what you are looking for in your vacation. Let’s dive into whether or not all-inclusive resorts are worth it, whether or not you drink alcohol.

First off, I want to note that staying at an all-inclusive resort by no means implies that you will do nothing other than chill by the pool for a week consuming buffet food and frozen beverages. Of course, you could, and if you do, that’s fine. But all-inclusive resorts can be worth it even if you don’t drink.

However, you certainly don’t have to feel stuck at the resort doing nothing but eating, drinking and lying by the pool. I feel this is one of the greatest misnomers about all-inclusive resorts.

I prefer to think of them as fancy, five-star hotels. They are a place you can come and go as you please while eating and drinking for free. Hello breakfast in bed, or in your personal hammock, as I did nearly every day.

After staying at numerous resorts I have compiled some tried-and-true all-inclusive resort hacks that will make your vacations even better.

Sitting in a hammock drinking coffee on my private balcony is one reason why all-inclusive resorts are worth it for me
Enjoying a morning coffee in the hammock on my deck.

Are all-inclusive resorts boring?

In short, that depends on you. In my experience, all-inclusive resorts are not boring at all. The last time I stayed at an all-inclusive was when my body wanted some rest and relaxation, yet my mind was craving a cultural experience.

I really wanted to marvel over ancient history and architecture, but there was no way my body had the energy to trek all over Europe for days on end. Thankfully, I figured out how to combine what I needed with what I wanted, giving me the perfect vacation.

Even though I would have much rather booked a trip to explore a new European city, I didn’t. I headed off to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico where I would be able to relax and enjoy the swim-up bar, as well as explore the ancient ruins of Ek Balam.

During my weeklong vacation, I stayed at the resort for four out of seven days and went on excursions for three of the days. During my resort days, I explored the beach and sipped King Cole’s at the swim-up bar.

I also visited the spa for a massage and enjoyed leisurely poolside lunches. I enjoyed playing tequila volleyball in the pool because, hey, even I can’t sit around all day and do nothing, lol!

All-Inclusive Resort Excursions

For my excursions, I ventured out to explore the nearby town, went scuba diving, explored ancient ruins and swam in a cenote. All-in-all, I only left the resort three times for the adventure I was craving, while the rest of the time, I relaxed and gave my body the rest it desperately needed.

Ancient Mexican ruins of Ek Balam
The ruins of Ek Balam in Yucatán, Mexico.

If you are seeking a relaxing sunny vacation or one with a mix of relaxation and adventure, I feel all-inclusive resorts are the ideal solution. They are almost always going to be more cost-effective than booking your own flight, and hotel and paying for all your meals.

I find all-inclusive resorts are worth it and more relaxing as well since you aren’t having to research where to eat. This isn’t to say that I don’t dine off the resorts, I most certainly do. I love to go to the nearest town and eat dinner at a local restaurant.

All-Inclusive Resort Dining

Speaking of meals, I would be remiss to not discuss food at all-inclusive resorts. I have heard horror stories, as I’m sure you have as well. Some resorts have nothing more than a buffet where you will eat all of your meals.

Others have a plethora of restaurants ranging from steakhouses, to Italian, to sushi bars etc. It’s up to you to research this before you go. Food isn’t that important to some people, whereas, to me, it’s integral to my vacation experience.

The delicous food is one reason that all-inclusive resorts are worht it, even if you don't drink alcohol
Fresh and delicious tacos with a Moscow Mule served at the resort in Mexico

How to find the right all-inclusive resort

Be sure to do your research because not all resorts are equal. I cannot stress this enough. Read the reviews and ensure that the resort offers the amenities, restaurants etc. that you want. I have stayed at several different resorts and have never had a bad experience, but I do A LOT of research before booking.

Some things to consider before booking an all-inclusive include proximity to the beach, proximity to a town, the number of restaurants, and whether is it adults-only or has a kids’ centre. I don’t have kids so I prefer an adults-only resort or at least one that has an adults-only pool.

Some resorts off premium packages where you get a larger room or ‘premium suite.’ Upgrading often comes with special restaurants and top-tier alcohol. Upgrading at your all-inclusive resort may not be worth it if you don’t drink, but having a suite is pretty nice.

Hotel Riu Yucatan
The stunning lobby entrance to an all-inclusive resort

Are all-inclusive resorts worth the money?

As far as value is concerned, I believe that yes, all-inclusive resorts are definitely worth the money. There are lots of great deals when it comes to all-inclusives. They are also one of the easiest ways to stick to a budget when travelling.

Since your flight, accommodations, food and drinks are already all paid for, you only have to budget for additional activities. If you only want to do one of two excursions, then your vacation is pretty much already paid for before you arrive.

While all-inclusive resorts are not my preferred vacation style, they do have a time and place for me. In the end, it all comes down to what type of vacation you want to have. Decide that, and go from there.

Are all-inclusive resorts worth it if you don’t drink alcohol?

Pina Coladas are great to drink at beach bars in Florida

This depends on what you like to drink instead of alcohol. Many resorts offer a wide variety of zero-proof cocktails for their patrons who don’t imbibe. If you are someone who chooses not to drink but enjoys virgin Piña Coladas, then yes I think staying at an all-inclusive resort would still be worth it.

Don’t forget all of the other amenities that are included that you can enjoy. Sure, alcohol is included, but that doesn’t mean that even those of us who do drink have to drink all the time. Think of the resort as your home base for excursions, not an all-you-eat-and-drink hotel.

How to choose the right all-inclusive resort

If you decide that you want to try staying at an all-inclusive resort, check out my post on How to choose the right all-inclusive resort It contains a thorough checklist of things to consider.

Be sure to also read these 10 awesome all-inclusive resort hacks. After staying at this style of resort numerous times, I have learned a few tricks that make your vacation even better.

I have stayed at many all-inclusive resorts and written a few reviews. Check out my Hotel Riu Yucatan review if you’re headed to Mexico. If visiting The Bahamas is on your travel wish list, check out my review of the Atlantis Bahamas resort.

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All inclusive resorts worth it, a travel blogger tells all
Are all inclusive resorts worth the money