An all-inclusive vacation is a vacation that includes all the essentials in the price of the reservation. In addition to accommodation, you can expect food, drinks, activities and entertainment to be included, without having to pay more for it. The resort may be wonderful, but unless it's a short walk from home, there will be travel expenses. Airfare to and from your destination will have an additional cost.
Resorts may or may not cover the cost of transportation from the airport to their facilities. Yes, a truly reputable all-inclusive will include all food and drink options in the reservation price. You shouldn't have to spend anything extra at the resort (except if you decide to tip). Pay attention to the small print when booking resort rates, charges for premium alcoholic beverages, and additional fees for dining at specialty restaurants (other than buffets).
When people complain about hidden fees and surprise charges on a supposedly all-inclusive vacation, they're almost always talking about resort rates. If you like the heat, the beaches, the idea of eating and drinking as much as you want and relaxing for several days, an all-inclusive is probably your thing. All-inclusive resorts will be more crowded and more expensive between winter holidays (Christmas) and spring break (Easter). Many will also have cabins and hammocks, although some resorts require reservations or additional charges for the use of the cabins.
By everything, I'm referring to your room, all food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, hotel activities, and any additional services offered by the resort. Unfortunately, outside of Australia and Europe, resort rates are still very legal, so be prepared for some additional charges when you leave. At the same time, most all-inclusive resorts also include some premium options available at an additional cost, so it's best to determine what's included early on in your stay so you can enjoy the resort to the fullest. Between this 28-night stay and a shorter three-night stay at another establishment, I discovered a lot of mistakes that can be made when booking, packing, and staying at an all-inclusive resort.
For example, room service may be free, rounds of golf may be included, and some all-inclusive resorts even include tours. Even if all of these factors are included, you're likely to incur additional charges for airline fare, baggage fees, airport transportation, and resort fees. I've stayed at all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, Jamaica, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen and each one has its own unique touches depending on the location, but the resorts themselves are all very similar. As they are also mandatory, even if you don't use the services included in the resort fee, you'll have to pay for them and they're not included in the announced price per night or week, so resort rates may seem like a surprise attack.
Of course, you can choose not to tip and you shouldn't feel obligated to tip if the all-inclusive includes tips or if tipping isn't part of the local culture. Some services and amenities at all-inclusive resorts may be temporarily stopped during the coronavirus pandemic. Many all-inclusive resorts have staff whose sole purpose is to sell timeshare, tours, spa services, and improved experiences.