All Ages

5 Ways to Ruin Your All-Inclusive Family Vacation

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Booking an all-inclusive family vacation means you can pay for everything upfront and leave your wallet in the hotel room safe… or does it? Before you book your all-inclusive escape with the kids, beware of these common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Mistake 1: Not Bringing Cash

Yes, you need to bring money on your all-inclusive vacation. You don’t need a lot — some $1, $5, and $10 bills to tip bellmen and housekeeping staff should be enough. You might want to bring cash for tips at the spa too. It’s inappropriate to tip wait staff and bartenders at many resorts, however (and in some cases, it may actually be illegal for wait staff to accept gratuities). Research your resort’s policies ahead of time.

Mistake 2: Not Looking at Age-Specific Offerings

Some resorts are better for teens than they are toddlers and vice versa. But many all-inclusive resorts cater to kids of all ages, with kids’ clubs and activities to suit every age group. Club Med is a perfect example, as its resorts provide kids’ clubs for all age groups, as well as age-specific amenities including pureed baby food for infants and trapeze school for tweens and teens.

Related: Best Kids’ Clubs at All-Inclusive Resorts

Mistake 3: Not Booking a Big Enough Room

Sure, the guestroom with two queen beds looks appealing for your family of four — especially when it comes to price — but is it comfortable enough for everyone? Consider a two-room suite so you and the kids have plenty of space and privacy throughout the trip. Remember, this is your vacation too!

Mistake 4: Overlooking Dining Options

“Make sure there is some dining variety, especially if you are staying longer than three or four days. A buffet can get repetitive quickly if it’s your only option and it’s nice to have table service at dinner,” suggests Eileen Gunn of Families Go. Conversely, “having all sit-down restaurants so you can never get a quick meal when kids are too cranky to sit is frustrating,” says Christy Matte of VeryWell Family. Also, make sure the resort can accommodate any and all allergies or dietary restrictions.

Related: 8 All Inclusive Resorts with the Best Food

Mistake 5: Misunderstanding Timeshare Properties

“There is a distinct difference between amenities for guests and timeshare owners,” says Dana Freeman of Dana Freeman Travels. “Vacation owners enjoy exclusive access to a VIP beach club with much nicer beach chairs, cushions, and cabanas, for example.”