All Inclusive Resorts vs Regular Resorts

Is an all inclusive resort worth the extra money? This week on #traveltiptuesday we dive into the debate over All Inclusive Resorts vs Regular Resorts and try to shed some sunlight on where to stay for your next tropical getaway.

The All Inclusive:

An all inclusive resort is a hotel that includes food, drinks and entertainment in their daily rates. These resort types are typically located in Caribbean vacation hot spots. Some all inclusives offer watersports such as snorkeling, jet skis, diving and more. What makes an all inclusive appealing is that you pay one price for everything you need and leave your worries at home.

– Offers all food and drinks for a bundled price
– Great for people who are on a budget
– Simple for families or large groups
– Hotel guest only beaches and pools
– Since beverages & food are included, no need to carry your wallet while at the resort
– Often over run with heavy drinkers
– Quality of food and drinks is sometimes sub par
– Heavy crowds
– Loud and unruly people
– Pool and Beach areas are often overrun with guests
We find that drink selection is limited, most resorts do not have top shelf liquors and if they do, they often up charge for them. Mixed drinks often taste watered down which is a bummer. There are typically 3 types of restaurants on property, buffets, snack shack and reservation only. Buffets are offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The reservation only restaurants are slightly better than the buffet and usually require upscale attire. Snack Shacks are typically open during the day and late night.

The Regular Resort:

A Regular resort is a hotel that does not include food, drinks and entertainment in their daily rates. You will have to purchase all amenities ala carte. These resort types are located world wide and are the most common type. What can make a regular resort appealing is the low upfront cost for your accommodation.
– Quality of food and drinks are usually better
– Typically less crowded than an all inclusive
– Great if you spend more time doing activities outside of the resort
– Hotel guest only beaches and pools
– All food and drinks cost money extra, which means you need to have your wallet handy at all times, even at the pool
– Less nightlife at the hotel
– The concierge/staff constantly try to upsell tours.
Non all inclusive resorts offer a far superior selection of drinks and cocktails. Top shelf is easily obtainable. Food is usually much better. Typically breakfast is included in your stay.

Bottom Line:

In the end, both resort types have their pros and cons. All Inclusives are definitely recommended for first timers. We have stayed at both types and since we travel quite a bit, we prefer the non all inclusive. Our choice would be a resort that includes breakfast only as we do not spend much time at the resort.


We hope you enjoyed our post about All Inclusive Resorts vs Regular Resorts. Have a suggestion or a travel question you would like covered in our #traveltiptuesday post? Email us about it: [email protected]