When choosing between the hundreds of offers from travel agencies, we often question ourselves. Which vacation is the most comfortable and practical, especially when we are going to visit a country for the first time not knowing what to expect. Some countries are very friendly to tourists, while others can be quite dangerous. How can someone figure out all these details and have a guaranteed cool vacation?
Apegeo took the responsibility of figuring out what ’all-inclusive’ packages mean in different countries. We looked at where this option is necessary, where it’s just a waste of money, and which facilities are included in the ’all-inclusive’ package in different corners of the world. We dove into this topic and are ready to share the results with you.
Food: 3 meals a day at a restaurant, snacks at the bar during the day. Additionally, there’s the option of visiting a-la-carte restaurants — they’re located outside the hotel and the dishes have to be preordered. The food is tasty and safe and there are a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages which are pricey without the ’all-inclusive’ package.
Other facilities: there are a variety entertainment options waiting for visitors in the Maldives. Fun and maximum comfort will be there with you throughout the whole trip. Most hotels offer a personal pickup and transfer from the airport to the hotel and back, as well as the option of waiting for boarding in their VIP lounge. On the island itself, the package offers different boat excursions, diving lessons, various water sports, fitness, a huge bar, fishing, and musical entertainment in the evenings.
Should you book it? Yes, if you want to get maximum relaxation during your vacation and if the presence of free alcohol matters to you. If beverages, alcohol, and entertainment are not important, then you can opt for another package where only breakfast and dinner are included.
Food: 3 meals a day with a buffet, free unlimited ice-cream, free local alcohol, and imported alcohol for purchase.
Other facilities: the hotels in Egypt are famous for their various entertainment programs, parties, and kids amenities. Also, the ’all-inclusive’ package provides free sunbeds on the beach, and sometimes they also include massage, spa, and gym options.
What is missing: the mini-bar in the hotel room is not free, options like laundry are also available for a fee.
Should you book it? Yes. It’s recommended to not leave the premises of the hotel in Egypt. That’s why hotels do their best to provide visitors with everything they need — food, entertainment, and comfort.
Food: the ’all-inclusive’ package in the UAE means the highest level of comfort and respect. Everything will look plush, beautiful, and the food will be delicious. Arabian service is always on the highest level, but there is one “but.” First of all, you will have to pay for delicacies like lobster. Second, the amount of alcohol is limited — if a waiter sees that their customer is too drunk, they will stop serving them alcohol.
Other facilities: some hotels provide boat, bike, and kayak services within the ’all-inclusive’ package. But you’ll have to pay for sunbeds if your hotel is not on the coast.
What is missing: animators, parties, and kids amenities.
Should you book it? Yes. It will be cheaper and more comfortable than buying each amenity separately. Dubai is the exception—it would probably be OK to book something that is not ’all-inclusive’ in this city because it’s the only place in the UAE that has a lot of interesting and cheap cafes on the street.
Food: most hotels in Turkey offer a scheduled buffet and 24-hour room service. Local alcohol will also be free, but you’ll have to pay for imported brands.
Other facilities: they seem to be offering everything you could think of. Even 3-star hotels have a wide range of entertainment for both kids and adults that include: fitness at the pools, parties, contests for adults, children’s amenities, and bar shows at restaurants. 4 and 5-star hotels also have aquaparks.
What is missing: this package doesn’t include individual requests like massages, spa-procedures, or photo sessions. Sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach will also incur an additional charge.
Should you book it? Yes. ’All-inclusive’ eventually turns out to be much cheaper than buying each amenity separately. You can rest assured that everything is of high quality, tasty, nice, and interesting.
Food: most hotels in Greece grow their own vegetables and greens which they use in their restaurants. This is why visitors will get the best of traditional Greek cuisine with the freshest products. A buffet is not always available — usually, they offer 3-4 choices for each meal, the number of dishes is proportional to the number of hotel stars. Guests of the elite hotels can additionally have free dinner at a local restaurant outside the hotel.
Other facilities: many hotels provide live music and entertainment shows on the weekends. Also, very often, Greek hotels offer free transfers from the airport to the hotel and back.
What is missing: that’s it — all other options will cost you money; it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sunbed, a massage, or a kid’s bed that you need to have in the room and they don’t offer any entertainment.
Should you book it? No. The best option is to walk around Greece without getting attached to a hotel. There are many things to see on the streets, as well as many cheap cafes with tasty food. You’ll only need a hotel for sleeping and having breakfast.
Food: the quality of food in Bulgarian hotels is very different and relying on ’all-inclusive’ is definitely not the best option here. The meal system usually features 3 buffets per day, a free bar on the territory of the beach or pool, and free local alcohol.
Other facilities: entertainments for kids and sunbeds if your hotel is located on the coast. Sometimes ’all-inclusive’ provides services like dry cleaning, an electronic safe, and a telephone connection with the guests native country.
What is missing: the Bulgarian ’all-inclusive’ usually doesn’t offer any interesting add-ons.
Should you book it? No. Bulgaria is a country where tourists can walk freely outside the territory of hotels, unlike Egypt. There are many street cafes that offer nice food and entertainment at good prices. ’All-inclusive’ doesn’t pay off here and, therefore, doesn’t make sense.
Food: 3 to 4 meals a day, mainly in a buffet-style where the options are interesting and different. Alcohol is for purchase and should be paid for separately. By the way, there should be a 5-minute gap between ordering alcohol, otherwise, waiters won’t serve it to you. There are also a-la-carte restaurants on the premises of the hotels that are not included in the ’all-inclusive’ package.
Other facilities: there are many entertaining amenities for kids, different evening shows, and water aerobics for adults. Beach umbrellas and sunbeds are free.
What is missing: different types of outdoor activities on the beach like jet skiing, parachuting, or boat rides must be paid for separately.
Should you book it? Yes, because arranging a vacation without ’all-inclusive’ amenities might be difficult in Tunisia. The food in the local cafes is more expensive and there are fewer options for entertainment.
Food: 3 meals per day. It’s tasty but it’s more like a very basic, cafeteria-style meal. By the way, it’s a good idea to grab some teabags from home because the only available beverages at the bar are packaged juices, liquor, and beer.
Other facilities: cool entertainment amenities for children. The adult amenities include evening discos, live music, and a free beach if it belongs to the hotel.
What is missing: there could be more entertainment for adults as well as more sunbeds on the beach.
Should you book it? No. Israel is a country where a cheap and comfortable vacation can be arranged without it having to be ’all-inclusive.’ You should consider buying it only if you are going to this country with kids and need a variety of children’s amenities for them.
Food: 3 meals per day served buffet-style, snacks, ice cream, and alcohol at the bar are always available. The food is tasty and good quality but you’ll miss the authentic Cypriot flavor.
Other facilities: entertainment on the hotel premises, free sunbeds at the pools, and a gym.
What is missing: the ’all-inclusive’ package doesn’t provide free beverages in the mini-bars, or services like laundry or an electronic safe. Additionally, beach sunbeds and umbrellas are always available for a rental fee.
Should you book it? No. The ’all-inclusive’ system only appeared in Cyprus just recently because local authorities had previously banned it for a long time in order to not negatively affect the income of the street cafes and local entertainment. Many hotels in Cyprus offer free options without being ’all-inclusive.’ There is more variety available in the food options outside hotels than at an ordinary buffet, and it’s also cheap and safe.
Do you use ’all-inclusive’ packages or do you prefer to pay for additional services only when you need them? Please tell us about your preferences in the comments!