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How To Save Money On All-Inclusive Vacations

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All-inclusive trips are amazing opportunities for travellers and holidaymakers. They can help you save a lot of money if you’re going away.  The prices may seem expensive at first, but providing you make use of all the food, drink, transport and activities included, they should work out better than booking everything separately.  For the frugal holidaymaker, they can work out a cost-effective option.  However, there are still more ways you can make great savings on an all-inclusive package.  And, sometimes, there are disadvantages to all-inclusive which can mean they are more expensive if you’re not careful.  Read on as we explore how to save money on all-inclusive vacations.

In this article we’ll explore:

  • What is an all-inclusive vacation?

  • What are the benefits of an all-inclusive vacation?

  • What are the drawbacks of an all-inclusive vacation?

  • How to save money on all-inclusive vacations

    • Only use reputable sites to book all-inclusive vacations

    • Review what’s included in the “all-inclusive” price

    • Attempt haggling to get a cheaper all-inclusive holiday price direct with providers

    • Book your all-inclusive holiday early or late to get the best deal

What is an all-inclusive vacation?

An all-inclusive vacation is a type of holiday where you pay one price and get everything included. This includes food, drink, entertainment, and accommodation.  It can also include transport such as transfers to and from the airport and certain activities such as lift passes on a ski resort holiday.  Some hotels will even offer childcare and kids clubs which will stop kids getting bored on holiday and give parents a well-deserved break!  There may be different levels of all-inclusive packages depending on what each hotel offers.  Cruises are another example of a holiday type that offer all-inlcusive packages with regards to food, drinks, entertainment, activities, gratuities, travel and transfers all being paid for upfront and included in a package.

What are the benefits of an all-inclusive vacation?

An all-inclusive vacation will typically cost less than a traditional package holiday with flights and accommodation and having to pay for all food and drink separately.  If you eat three times a day at the hotel and have snacks and drinks included, then the price of an all-inclusive holiday can become very appealing in comparison to a self-catering holiday. You'll also be able to enjoy your stay without having to worry about spending money on food or drinks or saving any extra spending money before the holiday as everything is included.  Planning a family vacation can be quite stressful when there’s lots of people involved to cater for, so an all-inclusive holiday can provide a hassle free and stress free holiday, providing you plan to spend a lot of time at the hotel and resort and eat most of your meals on site.

What are the drawbacks of an all-inclusive vacation?

However, there are some drawbacks to an all-inclusive holiday which may mean it’s not the right type of holiday for you.  The downside of an all-inclusive vacation is that you're limited in what you can do and where you can go, especially if you want to make the most of all that’s included. The timings of breakfast, lunch and dinner will be controlled by the hotel's schedule.  They might even have specific snack and drink times. It might also be difficult to find vegan or vegetarian options during your stay if this is important to you.  If you plan on eating out a lot and exploring elsewhere most days, and won’t make use of the included food and drink, then it could work out more expensive than if you’d booked a self-catering holiday.

How to save money on all-inclusive vacations

How To Save Money On All-Inclusive Vacations

Only use reputable sites to book all-inclusive vacations

There are many travel agents and comparison sites out there. Some will inevitably offer a more focused and cost-effective service.

Try to work with entities that specialise in the type of holiday package you’re looking for. For example, Ski Line can help you choose between ski resorts with enhanced discounts for groups and free lift passes deals. On their website, you can compare prices for ski holidays between over 100 different providers in top resort locations in Japan, Europe, and North America. This helps you find the best ski resort for your budget and to see the best deals in one place.

You can make certain the comparison sites you’re dealing with are reputable by checking how they’re regarded in their industry. Their website should prominently feature consistently positive reviews and awards that may have been won in recent years. It can all give you assurances that you’re not wasting your time and money dealing with the wrong service.

Review what’s included in the “all-inclusive” price

Though the term ‘all-inclusive’ is rather grand, each experience will be different in ways, either big or small. You should carefully evaluate what’s included in the package and weigh it against your expectations.

After all, there’s no sense in paying for facilities and services that you don’t require. Some holidaymakers can shrug off the additional expenses and pay more attention to the parts of the holiday that appeal to them, but if you’re approaching things more frugally, you can’t afford to do this.

For example, going back to the ski resort example, do you have to pay any extra for equipment used at the ski resorts? Is it a catered or self-catered service? Are you made to work out transportation logistics yourself? Will you eat at the hotel buffet or ignore it in favour of eating elsewhere? The answers to these questions can raise costs considerably on an all-inclusive trip.

If you’re going to be mainly out every day and eating elsewhere and prefer to hit the town restaurants each night, then it could be more frugal to opt for a self-catered holiday otherwise the value of an all-inclusive deal with all meals included will be lost on you.

Attempt haggling to get a cheaper all-inclusive holiday price direct with providers

Comparison sites are enormously informative. However, you should try to have a deeper appreciation for the knowledge and tools these services equip you with.

Use the data you gather to try and bargain with holiday package providers. Some of them will have things like price match guarantees in place, enabling you to go back and forth between them to bump prices down. Others may have more cost-effective policies in place, including free transfers and room upgrades.

It’s important to be fair and reasonable during this process. Don’t have unwieldy expectations about what you can save or push too hard. So long as you’re doing what you can and trying your luck, that’s enough to potentially yield some results.

Many tour operators may have some leeway with discounts they can offer on all-inclusive package holidays.  After all, they want your custom and don’t want to risk you taking your business elsewhere so they may be able to knock a discount off if you politely ask and let them know you can’t quite stretch your budget that far.

Book your all-inclusive holiday early or late to get the best deal

Most of life’s best or luckiest moments come from acute timing. If you secure your all-inclusive trip with a very deliberate schedule, significant savings can be made.

Try to avoid distracting rumours first. There have been possible lies that having an internet history full of flight research can bump up prices. Use your common sense as you time things, and you should be able to stay focused and save money on your all-inclusive trip.  If you’re not convinced and worry about cookies and such on your computer, then search in an incognito window or clear all cookies and browser history at the point of booking.  Likely, the price has actually risen as they often do over time.

Different approaches are valid here as well. Starting the booking process as early as possible can generate significant savings. Some comparison sites offer early booking discounts or release the best prices in the first few months, with prices creeping up closer to the date you get. You may also have more options at your disposal for avoiding peak periods, such as school holidays. That will likely bring costs down too.

Alternatively, you could take a risk and try to secure your all-inclusive trip at the eleventh hour. Many agents drastically drop their prices at that stage out of desperation, so capitalising on that could be a good idea so long as you don’t mind the pressure of the risk! If you’re pipped to the post, you can keep the search going, as something will likely pop up eventually. Act fast when you see an amazing price though as you won’t have time to waste!

The bottom line on saving even more money on an all-inclusive vacation - is it possible?

A vacation is a time to relax and enjoy yourself. Sometimes it feels like you spend more time planning the vacation than actually enjoying it. That's why an all-inclusive vacation can be the best option for people who don't have the time to plan their own trips.

The benefits of an all-inclusive vacation are that it eliminates the need to plan your own trip and you're taken care of from start to finish. You will not have to worry about any of the details because they are already taken care of for you.

All-inclusive vacations are amazing in their own right when it comes to cost-effectiveness if you make the most of what’s included in the all-inclusive package, but with some extra effort and following the above tips, you can benefit from further savings on your holiday. If money is tight, adopting these measures may even make you able to afford a break in the first place:

  • Use reputable sites to book your holiday to avoid any disappointment

  • Make sure you’ll actually use what’s included, otherwise you might be better off booking a self-catering holiday

  • Don’t be afraid to haggle with the holiday providers to try and secure a discount

  • To get the best deal, book your holiday super early or super late for the best prices


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