Should you pay for an all-inclusive resort?

Traveling is a wonderful way for older people to relax and rest their minds and bodies, which is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Many warm and tropical regions have all-inclusive resorts where you pay a flat price for lodging, meals, activities and other perks such as entertainment and cocktails. Depending on your vacation plans, these can be huge time and money savers. 

Benefits of all-inclusive resorts

  • You go into the vacation with an idea of how much you'll spend. There's always the option to eat or play outside of the resort, which would incur additional costs but can be done with an off-resort budget.
  • If you're going away strictly for relaxation time, resorts will have all the tools you need. Most all-inclusive destinations have pools, beaches, restaurants, bars, spas and the like all on site. 
  • For group trips, especially with children, the structure of all-inclusive hotels could make for a less stressful vacation. Most resorts have activities for all ages, a variety of social settings and allow for less decision making, which can be more difficult with a group.
  • The structure of resorts in general is a pro, because there is less for you to research and plan prior to the trip.
  • Some people prefer resorts for safety reasons. Whether the surrounding areas are dangerous or travelers simply feel uncomfortable in a foreign land, an all-inclusive spot means you're under the staff's watchful eye the whole time.
  • All-inclusive resorts typically arrange for transportation to and from the airport and will call cabs for any outside excursions, which can save time for you to explore your surroundings.

Drawbacks of a pre-paid vacation

  • If you don't eat a lot or drink alcohol, you may lose money by paying for an all-inclusive resort, because prices are set with the assumption that guests will be taking full advantage of the offerings. Also, some hotel restaurants or bars have strict hours that you're forced to arrange your plans around. In the event you don't like the resort's food, you'll wind up having to pay extra for meals outside the resort.
  • For the exploring type, resorts may not be ideal. If your plans include meeting the locals, enjoying native cuisine or touring your destination, it might make more sense to pay as you go and have more flexibility.
  • Some people can feel restricted by the resort, because they don't want to waste the money they've already spent for food and activities or spend extra leaving the grounds.
  • Resorts don't offer much opportunity for shopping if you want to branch out beyond the gift shop.