When it comes to finding a cheap holiday, all inclusive deals certainly seem to have the edge. These can save you masses on things like food and drink, as well as let you budget accurately before you go – but it’s worth remembering you need to look at each package carefully to make sure you don’t end up spending more than you mean to.
It’s easy to think that all inclusive hotels always provide the cheapest holiday options, but the truth is that you need to do your homework to find one that suits you and fits with the kind of break you’re after. It might sound a bit like hard work, but if you take the time to do it, you could save a lot of money.
Here are my top tips on finding bargain all inclusive holidays:
1) Decide on your essentials
Before you do anything else, work out exactly what you need from your hotel – and I do mean need. Welcome extras can be considered later, when you’ve put together a list of establishments that offer all the essentials.
This list will be entirely personal to you, but common must-haves include a good breakfast, swimming pool and proximity to the beach/main local attractions.
2) Pick what level of holiday you’re after
You also need to work out what kind of break you’re after – something cheap and cheerful, for instance, or a little more luxurious? The beauty of all inclusive deals is that they give you the chance to experience more exotic destinations or accommodation for less, so don’t immediately rule out the latter if you’re on a budget.
3) Read reviews
It might sound a bit obvious, but reading reviews is a brilliant way to whittle down your options. There are heaps of travel blogs and review sites online, so it’s not hard to find comments on pretty much every hotel you can think of!
Just as a note, while doing this can help you get a more realistic impression of a hotel than the typical brochure marketing speak can, it’s important to remember that reviews aren’t gospel. For example, no matter how great the accommodation, you are always likely to see a couple of negative reviews amid the positive ones, but as long as the latter are the majority, you probably don’t need to take the former to heart.
4) Don’t forget your dining options
This probably sounds like a small point, but how wide your dining options are is actually well worth looking at. If you’re eating at the resort three times a day, you don’t want to have the same thing over and over again – so check how many restaurants are included in the package, as well as what kind of cuisine each offers.
5) How inclusive is it really? Check the small print!
Once you’ve found a couple of hotels that match your criteria, it’s time to go through the terms and conditions with a fine-tooth comb. You need to keep your eyes peeled for any restrictions or limitations on what is included (you might only be allowed certain brands of drinks, for example), as well as any additional charges you may face for using the resort’s facilities or eating in certain venues.
It is also worth looking at how many things are included that you are unlikely to use. If there are a lot, chances are you could get a cheaper deal if you pick somewhere with fewer frills – or simply that more closely matches what you’re after.