Last minute all inclusive holidays are popular with holidayers from the U.K. The idea with last minute all inclusive deals is that you save money by booking late deals and paying a fixed sum for resort or hotel boarding. This fixed amount includes food, drinks, and activities. At least, that’s the concept. Offerings will vary with establishments and costs.
A cheap all inclusive holiday may actually work out expensive if the hotel food is so bad that you’re forced to have lunch and dinner outside.
The advantage with late deals all inclusive holidays is that you have an idea of what you will spend. You don’t have to spend separately on dining, mineral water, drinks, and activities. But while you have an idea of what you’re spending and it lets you fix a budget for your holiday, you don’t really know what you’ll be getting for the amount you’re paying. You have reviews to go by and assurances by the tour operator. That’s the big catch. How do you remedy this? Read on.
What do last minute all inclusive holidays include?
That’s the question you need to ask when comparing hotels and resorts for your holiday. A last-minute booking will get you cheap deals on flights and accommodation. Focus on learning more about what the “all inclusive” package contains.
Check out the hotel’s website. In case you have a doubt, email or call up the resort for clarification. This can save you hundreds of pounds.
Meals and drinks are part of the all inclusive package. When you arrive at the hotel, you shouldn’t be asked to pay for anything. Resorts will include some form of entertainment and activity as part of the deal. The quality of entertainment and activities included will vary with the resort and the cost of the package.
While some resorts may throw in free WiFi, others may charge for it. In any case, you won’t get free WiFi throughout the hotel. You may be able to play table tennis free but a round of lawn tennis or golf may cost you extra. Gyms are usually included in the already-paid-for amenities. Be prepared to pay for using the spa. You can enjoy sail boating, canoeing, paddle boating, snorkelling, and kayaking as a part of the package. The best deals for such activities are usually offered by resorts in the Caribbean. As a rule of thumb, motorized water sports come at an additional cost.
You’ll save a few pounds if transport to and from the airport is a part of the holiday package. Use that money to tip the driver, it’s expected that you will – part of the all inclusive experience. 🙂
Not everything kept in your well-appointed room may be free of cost. Mineral water or even tea/coffee will be added to your bill. If you’re not aware of it and consume these, you’ll face a mood-dampening bill at checkout.
Speaking of checkouts, if the resort or hotel checkout timings are 11 am and you choose to stick around in the lobby for some reason, maybe because the flight is late, and you use facilities, you will be charged for them. The package expires when you’re scheduled to check out. It’s a small thing, but information and due diligence will save you money and prevent avoidable mood upsets.
As far as eating is concerned, all inclusive holiday packages include buffets. Check if à la carte dining is a part of the deal. The last thing you want is to treat yourself to foie gras, souffle, and wine and then end with a bad taste in the mouth because the meal wasn’t free. Don’t take this to be too far fetched an example. If you have to make a reservation or adhere to a dress code for dining at a restaurant in the hotel, then that’s a sign that this dinner will cost you over and above what you’ve signed up for.
But there’s nothing written in stone. Resorts in Mexico’s Riviera Maya tourist district offer unlimited gourmet dining and round the clock room service included in the deal.
Local drinks will be on the house, but you’ll need your credit card handy for expensive liquor. At some establishments, the only complimentary drink is the one that accompanies the dinner.
Tips to save on last minute all inclusive holidays
1. Book flight and hotel tickets together – Bundling airfare and hotel tariffs can lead to further discounts on hotel booking rates. Check airfare and compare with the bundled costs to see if it saves you money if you go for this option. In all likelihood, this will save you a good amount. Savvy travellers do this. You may want to explore this option. But also check the travel times and compare overall flight costs of a bundle to separate round-trip costs. It is possible that the bundled package, though a money saver, may be too much of a hassle, with connecting flights and odd times. You may not enjoy it when travelling with the family.
2. Book during the off season – It’s an evergreen tip that works for regular vacations and for those that seek cheap all inclusive holidays. Hotel rates, airfare, and the general costs of a holiday that include intra-city travel, restaurant rates, souvenirs, mementos, etc are all lower during the off season. As a plus, you’ll have the resort to yourself and won’t have to jostle for poolside chairs.
3. Early booking or last minute – Either way, you can save. If you want to be the early bird, that’s great. You can save up to 15% or more on the all inclusive holiday cost. It also gives you a chance to book excursions in advance and save there as well. Last minute holiday deals on airfare and hotels are attractive, and if you decide at short notice to take a holiday, then this too is a good way to save.
4. Book with travel websites – You’ll always get a better deal with travel sites such as Expedia and Cheap Caribbean than with independent travel agents. Compare rates offered by such sites. This is the best way for the cheapest deals on all inclusives.
5. Research your shortlisted resorts – Which of the resorts is the best match for the kind of holiday you have in mind – family holiday or an adults only holiday? Compare prices and facilities offered. Read fine print. Read reviews. Call up customer service and ask questions.
6. Research all that is available “inclusive” at your chosen resort – It’s an idea to get the maximum bang for your buck. If a massage, horse ride, trek, snorkeling lesson, or popular local liquor is available complimentary, then why would you want to step out of the resort and pay for these?
7. Check if the resort will pack you a tiffin – No harm in asking. Some resorts will accede to your request. You’ll save on the cost of eating outside at the local attractions that you plan on visiting. The hotel will most likely give you the names of tour operators and also guide you on the best attractions to visit, the routes to take, cheapest conveyance, and the best times to visit. There’s a lot of saving here, of both – time and money.
8. Buy travel insurance – There’s a small chance that you may need it. If you end up having to visit a doctor, don’t let the costs of medical tests, doctor’s fees, and medication burn a hole in your wallet.
9. Carry over the counter medicine – Stock your travel medicine pouch with cough drops, pain killers, and any other OTC medicine that you may need. Purchasing these at the hotel is going to be more expensive than you think. The same holds true for disposable diapers and sanitary napkins.
10. Exchange currency at home – Not a hard and fast rule, but if you need to exchange currency, you’re more likely to get a favorable exchange rate at home than at the hotel. Check the fees your bank charges for foreign withdrawals. It could be 3%, it could be less or more. Check if credit card use abroad attracts an additional fee.
11. Look up occupancy rules – Don’t buy a holiday package before confirming that the hotel room given to you will hold the two adults and three pre-teens making the trip.
So long as you are aware of the hidden costs, you will be able to enjoy a budget holiday by opting for an all inclusive holiday booked at the last minute.