5 Essential tips for an all-inclusive vacation

When planning an all-inclusive vacation, it’s important to do your research and choose a resort that meets your needs and preferences.

We have stayed at a lot of all-inclusive hotels. They all vary, especially when it comes to rooms, closet storage, food, activities, and amenities. Some of these tips may seem a bit much for a 3-night stay but if you are on vacation for 5 or more nights these extra items will be useful. To plan the perfect all-inclusive vacation, take note of these essential tips.

Book excursions in advance

I always suggest clients book their excursion before they arrive in the destination. The last thing you want to do is spend time trying to decide and then book an excursion, missing out on prime beach time. I recommend several companies and use them myself. We used Ocean Tours for our Whale Shark excursion last month.

Insulated drink cups

Several years ago, we began taking our insulated cups with us when we travel. I personally like having two cups – one Yeti for water that has a screw-on lid to keep it cold, and a smaller one for other drinks. I tend to avoid using them for frozen drinks since they’re difficult to drink and clean afterward. However, I enjoy using them for beverages like Jack and Coke or Ranch Water.


Not sure why tipping seems so controversial. I get this question a lot. Do you tip? Yes, and so should you! There are very few resorts that say “no tipping”. Sandals may be one of the only ones I can think of right now. We take lots of one’s and five’s. We also take some 10’s and 20’s. This is based on me and my husband traveling, just 2 adults. Adjust accordingly.

  • We tip bartenders out by the pool or at the swim-up bar $1 per drink. If they are delivering and bringing water as well then we do $3-$5.
  • Breakfast and lunch $3-$5, even in the buffet.
  • For dinner, we tip $10-20 for sit-down service, this is at your discretion based on service.
  • We do private airport transfers, the driver gets $20, and he’s also handling our bags.
  • At the resort, baggage handlers are getting $2-$3 per bag typically.
  • We usually leave $5 per day on the bed when we leave the room, that’s for housekeeping. We also leave $3-5 by the fridge, that’s a different person re-stocking.
  • If you have a butler or concierge you need to consider gratuities for them as well.

Shoe rack for extra storage space

This may sound weird, but I started using the over-door shoe racks on cruises for extra storage years ago. It worked great! Recently I started taking it on our trips to all-inclusive resorts as well. Besides the obvious shoe storage, I put sunblock, hair brushes, hair products (thank you curls), a first aid kit, glasses, contacts, and anything that could be out of the way instead of on the counter.

Not all hotels have ample counter storage in the bathroom and almost none have drawer space in the bathroom. This helps to keep items in one place, you just grab what you need. Many resorts have glass doors to the bathroom or it is open concept. You can also hang this on the closet rod next to your clothes if needed.

Apple AirTag (or similar)

I came across a post discussing the use of air tags for tracking luggage during air travel. As an avid Apple user, I can only share my experience with the Apple AirTags. We purchased a pack of four, and I used three for my checked bags and one for my carry-on. Initially, it took me a few minutes to label and differentiate them, but it was easy to use once I figured it out. Upon arrival in Cancun, I opened the “Find My” app on my iPhone and saw that all three checked bags were on the ground. Though it doesn’t specify when the bags will be available for pick up, it provides peace of mind that they made it to the destination. The air tags can also be used to track laptop bags, school bags, and other personal belongings.

When planning an all-inclusive vacation, it’s important to do your research and choose a resort that meets your needs and preferences. Look for packages that include activities or extra amenities to get the most value for your money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any confusion before booking. And remember, while it can be tempting to stay within the confines of the resort, take advantage of any off-site excursions to truly experience the local culture and scenery. Happy travels!

If you are interested in traveling, I’d love to earn your business. You can reach me at Lake Pointe Travel at sarah@lakepointetravel.net or 469-698-4071. This is my personal lifestyle blog but I’m a travel agent by day.

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