by: Owen Jones
If you are planning to go on vacation this year, how are you thinking of going about it? There are several options to explore, if you begin planning early enough. There are the self-planned, 'I will find a hotel when I get there' style; there are cruises and there are package vacations.
The self planned is for those without children and is more bold. Cruises are great, if you like being on the water more than being on land and there are the package holidays, some of which are all-inclusive package vacations.
If you choose a vacation package, you have the alternative of looking for an all-inclusive resort or an all-inclusive hotel. There is not much to pick between them, if you are going alone or with your spouse, but if you are taking children, the all-inclusive resort is the one for you.
This is because all-inclusive hotel rooms can be on the small side and if you have a small child or even children with you, your room will soon become overcrowded and suites are more highly priced. An all-inclusive resort, on the other hand, will normally provide accommodation in the form of cabins or chalets, which are designed with young families in mind.
You do not want to be living on the 12th floor of a large hotel with toddlers, because either they have to stay in the room until you want to go out, in which case they might get grumpy or they might learn how to get out and wander off in the hotel. A chalet, however, will inevitably be on the ground floor, frequently be in groups, so that you can help keep an eye on each other's kids and may even have a small garden with a fence.
Whether you go to an all-inclusive hotel or an all-inclusive resort really depends on whether you have or can put up with children. If you have children then a resort is for you, if you do not like children's racket, then you would be better suited to an all-inclusive vacation in a hotel.
Once you have selected your kind of all-inclusive package vacation, the rest is plain sailing. Actually what is all-included in these style hotels and resorts can vary quite widely, so you should make sure you know well in advance. Cost is a good clue. If one resort at the same location is much cheaper than the others, look into it more warily before booking.
Often the disparity will only be in degree. For example, an all-inclusive hotel or resort may offer the free use of diving equipment, but when you read on it might restrict that to non-mechanical diving equipment, so you only get a mask, snorkel and flippers. Others may only have ten units of equipment - first come first served.
However, having said that, most all-inclusive package vacations are fantastic deals. They include your transport to and from your home town to the destination, which depends on you and where the resort is of course. For St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands transport could be by cruise or flight - you must settle on that at the outset. Having to travel 500 miles to Orlando by bus or train with three young children might not be much fun.
When you get there, they almost always include all your meals and snacks and all soft drinks, tea and coffee, beer and non-branded spirits. An all-inclusive will also include all fees to on-site entertainment. That means the, pool, the club house, pool, snooker, table tennis, the gym etc, and access to any private beach attached to the hotel. It will also include night time shows usually.