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Travel Tips: Everything You Should Know Before Booking An All-Inclusive Hotel In Cancun Mexico

The promise of an all-inclusive is fantastic. You book a room and when you show up your only job is to relax. You don't have to think about much because everything is free and included. We recently stayed at an all-inclusive on a trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Isla Mujeres is a 30-minute ferry ride from Cancun. We had a great time and were able to unwind. It was nice to shut our brains down for a little while. Is an all-inclusive all it's cracked up to be? What should you know before you go? Keep reading to learn more. 

1. Not Every All-Inclusive Resort Is The Same

It pays off to do research before you book. Not every all-inclusive actually means that everything is free. When you hear the term "all-inclusive", you assume that everything is included. This simply isn't the case at all resorts. Find out for sure what's included, before you book. Some resorts only provide certain meals or the cheapest alcohol. They might only include one or two activities and charge you for the rest. You definitely get what you pay for. 

The Mia Reef all-inclusive in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

Some resorts gear themselves towards certain groups of people. They might want to attract single college kids by offering a party atmosphere. Or the hotel might lean more towards families with kids. Do some research and read reviews to make sure you're booking the hotel that matches up with your personality and trip preferences.   

2. The Food Might Not Be the Best

Food at an all-inclusive can vary greatly in quality. It's incredibly convenient to walk up to a restaurant and order whatever you want. But the quality may not always be the best or the most exciting. Read reviews and look at the menus for the hotels you're considering. You might find that the options don't suit your tastes. 

Guacamole is always best when it's free.

The restaurants on site will have specific times when you can eat. You won't be able to just walk up and get a table whenever you want. Pick up a schedule when you arrive, so that you know when and where you can eat. Bring at least one nice outfit. It doesn't have to be formal attire, but some of the restaurants will probably have a dress code. Pack a nice pair of pants and a shirt or a summer dress to be prepared. Remember our first tip, do some research so you'll know what to expect.

3. Don't Lose Your Wristband

You'll receive a wristband to wear when you check in. You use a combination of the wristband and your room number to order food and drinks. It essentially becomes your credit card. You can leave your wallet in your room and rely solely on the band. Because the wristband is so powerful, most resorts charge you if you lose it. Some fines can be as high as a hundred dollars per day. This might seem excessive, but if you lose your band anyone could use it for free. You'll also need to turn the bracelet in when you check out, or you could be looking at another fee. Just leave the band on, and you won't have to worry about losing it.

4. They Might Try To Sell You Something

Several resorts are also time-share properties. Once you check in, they may try and sell you a vacation membership. They may also have areas or activities that are V.I.P. only. You might be sold upgrade packages or access to special areas. Our resort wasn't pushy at all. They offered once, and when we declined, they didn't ask again. You might have a different experience though, so be prepared for a possible hard sell. 

5. Don't Forget Essentials At Home 

Margaritas and tacos are free at your hotel, but sunscreen and Advil definitely won't be. Make sure you pack essential toiletries with you. This is especially important if you don't plan to leave the resort. If you venture out to a store, you can find better prices. If you buy it from your hotel, it will be way more than you were expecting.


You might like an all-inclusive resort if you want to unwind and make as few decisions as possible on your vacation. These types of resorts make it possible to just relax and enjoy yourself. You get what you pay for though. Do your research, be prepared and you'll have a great time. Have you ever stayed at an all-inclusive resort before? If so, where? Let us know below in the comments. 


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