The “all inclusive” concept is proving to be very popular. For one price, the guest pays for room, meals, drinks, and many activities. It certainly helps with pre holiday budgeting. And, it eliminates much worry and decision making while on holiday. But, there are misconceptions and shortcomings as well, and many savvy travelers prefer the more traditional “European Plan.”
One prevalent misconception is that “all inclusive” means less expensive. Since meals and drinks are not paid for at the time of consumption, it may seem as though they are somehow “free”. Not so. Our evaluation of costs suggests that the meals and drinks portion of the overall price typically ranges from $100-200 per day per couple. For the truly budget conscious, it is easy to see that travelers could spend considerably less than that by doing some of their own cooking (thus making accommodations with housekeeping capabilities more attractive), and by making prudent restaurant decisions. There will also be significant differences in available meal plans from one “all inclusive” to the next. Will it be the same buffet every day? How many restaurants to choose from? Any restrictions on menu selections or choice of restaurant? One advantage of the “European plan” resorts is the freedom to choose an offsite restaurant.
It is also important to look at the activities aspect of the concept. Many consider the complimentary resort activities (entertainment, watersports, etc.) to be an important component of the “all inclusive” concept, and they are. However, such activities are typically complimentary at the better “European plan” beachfront resorts as well. But, it is not always the case that all off site activities are complimentary. Jungle tours, sunset cruises, scuba diving, etc. are activities that frequently require an extra payment. It is best to check beforehand in order to know exactly what is included in the base price and what is not.
But, for many, the simplicity of “all inclusive resorts in St Lucia” will remain the best choice. It is important to budget beforehand, and the “all inclusive” concept is still the best way to budget and to allow the traveler to stick to the budget. Many a holiday has been spoiled by unanticipated costs along the way. Each traveler needs to decide which system is best for them: all inclusive vacation with full package or perhaps a budget friendly travel option, and we hope that our “local knowledge” assists in informed decision making.