All-Inclusive Resorts: The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Couples

Pack up your suitcase, grab the love of your life, and get ready to relax while you sip on a cocktail at the perfect no-stress getaway! This is the essential guide for any couple who want to know what it’s like to stay at all-inclusive resorts and whether it’s right for you. Here’s everything couples need to know to make the most of it.

Cover image for all inclusive resorts for couples.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Overwhelmed with everything that comes with booking and planning an all-inclusive vacation?

Consider this article your go-to guide on everything you need to know about booking an all-inclusive vacation. We’ll answer all your pressing questions like whether an all-inclusive is the right fit for you, how to find the best deals, and the biggest mystery of all: what’s included?!

Jump to:

What is an all-inclusive resort?

The concept of an all-inclusive resort is that your romantic getaway includes not just your lodgings but quality food, top-shelf drinks, and daily activities as well. Different resorts define this differently and may include more or less as part of their package, so always research the specific all-inclusive resort you two have chosen as your perfect escape.

Pros: It’s no fuss, and you can lounge around for a truly relaxing vacation. This is ideal if you want to not think about a single choice and know everything will be taken care of.

Outside of tipping and additional purchases, you can easily calculate the budget for the whole trip (always leave a little wiggle room).

Cons: We never consider resorts the same as immersive travel as they tend to be an all-in-one utopia we never need to leave. If you want an immersive travel experience, we suggest looking at boutique hotels or VRBOs that will give you more need to get out and explore.

Typically, an all-inclusive package features a wide range of amenities and services. You’ll generally find multiple dining options, bars, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and entertainment activities that range from live music to watersports. These all offer plenty of opportunities for you and your sweetie to spark up some romance, reconnect, and create lasting memories. 

The restaurants on-site often feature buffets with some a la carte restaurant options for a romantic and delicious dining experience. And, most all-inclusive romantic getaways allow guests to enjoy unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Relaxing vacations with refreshing aperol cocktail by the pool at the all-inclusive resort.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Are there different kinds of all-inclusive resorts?

Some resorts are adults only, while others cater to families. So when looking for an all-inclusive hotel, make sure you’re familiar with what kind of all-inclusive experience you’re signing up for. You and your partner might prefer an adults-only hotel, as those often offer the most peaceful and romantic getaway. Just keep in mind that they will likely be on the more expensive side.

You can find luxury hotels and resorts as well as those that are more affordable. The cheaper ones will likely offer fewer amenities, but between the two, you and your beau will easily be able to find the right style for your lifestyle and budget.

Where can you find all-inclusive resorts?

All-inclusive resorts are common in Mexico. From Cozumel and Cancun to Riveria Maya and Puerta Vallarta, as well as across the Caribbean, from the Dominican Republic to Turks and Caicos. 

All-inclusive resorts are also popular in Southern Europe, with many located in and around Spain, as well as many in North Africa. These are all romantic places to stay where fun, relaxation, and bliss can be found around every corner.

The United States has fewer all-inclusive resorts, and they tend to be ranches or wellness retreats rather than the popular beach vacations you may think of instinctively.

Bungalows Key Largo waterfront deck at daylight.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Why choose an all-inclusive resort?

If you and your better half are looking for a hassle-free, romantic vacation, an all-inclusive resort is a great option. With everything included in the price, you can focus on reconnecting and making wonderful memories together.

They take the hassle out of planning your vacation. Everything is taken care of for you, so you can relax and focus on what matters most: each other! All you have to do is figure out your beach packing list, then off you go to paradise.

All-inclusive resorts offer a variety of romantic things to do and amenities to suit all interests. Whether you want to relax on the private beach, explore the local culture, or go on romantic adventures, you and your partner will always find something to do on an all-inclusive vacation.

Not only that, but they can also be a great value for your money. The price of your stay typically includes accommodations like cozy rooms, 24-hour room service, private pools, or a tranquil spa. Food, drinks, and activities are all available at your fingertips and come at no additional charge. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Whenever possible, we’ll try to book an all-inclusive resort for a simple reason: we know what we’re spending upfront. There are no surprise charges or unexpected expensive dinners at the resort restaurant. You know what you’re getting and how much — how can you beat that?” — Leah Ingram, Real Sophisticated Consumer.

Most important tip: Always read the reviews! The hotel that you’re interested in may seem to advertise a lot of great amenities, but you can never be too sure that they will actually deliver on them. Take it from someone who learned the hard way, do your research before you book!

What is and isn’t included at an all-inclusive resort?

While individual resorts have different inclusions and exclusions, you can typically expect resorts to provide meals and beverages, as well as organized activities, such as water sports, fitness classes, live performances, and tennis courts.

As you and your partner do your research on where you plan to stay, look into all these differences because they can add up throughout your romantic weekend getaway.

Food and Drink

Some resorts limit the number of reservations you can have at their a la carte restaurants during your stay, so you end up eating most of your meals at a buffet. Others allow you to eat as often as you want at any romantic restaurant you want, so long as there is space available.

Alcoholic drinks are also generally included, though almost all resorts will have at least some beverages available for an add-on charge, such as a higher-end bottle of wine. Resorts also vary in the type of liquor they carry and how many top-shelf options they offer.

Breakfast on the patio with an ocean view.
Photo Credit: The Breakers Palm Beach

Water Sports

The definition of water sports varies by resort, as well. Many resorts will include an hour of snorkeling equipment per day or the use of kayaks or other non-motorized equipment. The Sandals and Beaches chain is one of the few that includes SCUBA diving for certified divers as part of your stay.

Most resorts charge for motorized water sports such as boat rides, jet skis, and the like. Every resort will charge for any new SCUBA certifications you wish to take. Although, we must say it’s worth it, as it is an unforgettable experience to share together. And given we got our certification off the fridged coast of Maine, we highly recommend you take the chance in clear warm waters while you can!

Excursions, Dining, and Spa Treatments

Some resorts offer a limited number of included excursions, from nature walks to snorkeling. But almost all charge additional fees for excursions if you want to take a romantic day trip outside the resort and off the beach.

Items like specialty fine dining, hair braiding, and horseback riding generally incur an additional charge. Resorts also generally charge for spa treatments you may enjoy while on your romantic getaway, but again, many of these activities are totally worth it if you and your love are itching to experience them together!

In general, more romantic activities and amenities are included in the cost of your stay, especially when you compare it to a typical hotel. Most regular beachfront hotels charge a daily resort fee in addition to your room charge in romantic vacation destinations like these.

Midsection view of man giving tip to employee in hotel
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Do you tip at all-inclusive resorts?

The tipping policy at all-inclusive resorts varies greatly. This is one area to confirm before you and your partner set off on your romantic getaway. 

The Sandals and Beaches Resorts prohibit tipping, and any tips the staff receive must be turned in to become donations to their Sandals Foundation. Employees who are caught accepting tips and don’t turn them in are fired. So don’t be that person who is responsible for that!

Instead, they rely on The Loop, a feedback system on their app, and traveler comments on TripAdvisor to recognize their outstanding employees, who are then in line for bonuses and promotions. The only exceptions to their tipping policy are the butlers, private nannies, and spa services.

Most other all-inclusive resorts allow and encourage tipping. Some resorts may state on their websites that tipping is included in your inclusive vacation package price, but they don’t prohibit tips the way Sandals and Beaches Resorts do.

The employees prefer tips in U.S. currency, regardless of what country you call home. Therefore, do not bother to exchange your money for local currency.

Bring plenty of $1 and $5 bills, as getting change is often a challenge in these kinds of places.

Who can you tip?

You typically tip everyone from your bartender to your waitstaff, as you’re used to. In your room, you often tip the housekeeper separately from the person who stocks your fridge, so keep that in mind.

You also can tip the groundskeepers who work incredibly hard, as well as your butler if you have one, the bell desk staff, room service staff, concierges you may work with, any excursions you join, etc.

The amount that you tip will vary by resort, but typically, you want to tip about $1 per drink, $2 for breakfast or lunch buffets per person, $5 for dinner per person, $20 and more per butler shift, $2 to $5 for service in your room and an appropriate amount for any tours you enjoy.

The must-have item on your all-inclusive getaway:

An all-inclusive vacation is the perfect way to relax and unwind without having to worry about a budget or constantly reaching for your wallet.

However, it is important to remember that even though most things are included in the price of your package, there may be some tipping or unexpected expenses along the way. Avoid the painful ATM fees and exchange rates by bringing enough cash for your trip!


Where to book cheap all-inclusive resorts?

The key to finding the cheapest all-inclusive resorts is to use websites like Kayak or CheapTickets. Travel sites like these can help you compare prices across dozens of resorts in a matter of minutes.

If you have some flexibility with your dates, try searching for deals by price instead of picking a specific destination. That way, you can find the cheapest all-inclusive resort that fits you and your partner’s budget!

How much should I bring to an all-inclusive resort?

This answer ultimately depends on what you want to do there and how much money you’re willing to spend. However, a good rule of thumb is to bring a small amount of cash with you, including smaller bills like 5 and 10-dollar bills. 

For instance, if you’re planning a 1-week trip to the Caribbean for an all-inclusive resort, experts suggest bringing anywhere between $150-$200 USD for tips. Just make sure it’s enough to cover any gratuities or services such as Wi-Fi, spa treatments, or room service.

Are flights included in all-inclusive resorts?

Typically, no. All-inclusive resorts rarely include the cost of flights to your destination in the price. However, some resorts may provide transportation from the airport when you arrive, so that’s something to look out for. And if you’re lucky, you may find a resort that offers discounted flights or transportation packages!

Senior couple relaxing by swimming pool lying on chaise-longues. People enjoying vacation.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

​Bliss and Romance, All in One Package

All-inclusive resorts give more cost certainty than many other styles of vacation. They typically offer tons of included romantic activities and entertainment for all kinds of couples, which provides convenience, relaxation, a sense of value for guests who stay there, and—of course—boatloads of romance!

The variety of amenities and activities available on-site compared to traditional hotels and vacations means couples can spend their time completely immersed in the resort’s offerings, making it an enticing option for those seeking a stress-free and all-encompassing romantic getaway experience.

Have you and your sweetheart been on an all-inclusive romantic vacation? Let us know in the comments below! And for more content, subscribe to our newsletter for all the best tips on having the romantic getaway of your dreams.

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This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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