how to choose an all inclusive resort for your honeymoonMonday, April 18, 2016
In keeping with the wedding theme this month, today's post is all about planning your honeymoon! (One of the best parts of planning, in my opinion haha.) Tyler and I went to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. You can read all about our trip here and watch our Dominican Republic travel diary here.
We chose an all-inclusive resort for our honeymoon. This was actually our second time to an all-inclusive resort. We had previously gone to Mexico with some friends. It is easy to get overwhelmed when looking at resorts because they all look amazing. Below are some of my tips that I share with any friends or family when they ask how to choose an all-inclusive resort. Your honeymoon (or any vacation, really) should be perfect, and hopefully you will love your resort if you follow these tips!
1. Use TripAdvisor: I use TripAdvisor pretty much for every vacation. It helps pick a hotel, tourist activities, restaurants, and more. (We used this frequently for choosing restaurants during our recent trip to the Cayman Islands.) I think the most important thing to use TripAdvisor for is to see pictures of the resort. Hotel and other travel websites are using the best photos possible. There normally isn't anyone in them, they are very staged, they only show the good. I love looking at TripAdvisor's traveler photo section for a resort. It shows you pictures that other guests have taken there, so you can get a real idea of what the resort and grounds look like. Reviews of the resort are also helpful, however I suggest you take them with a grain of salt. Some of the complaints I have read about a resort before on there seemed very trivial to me. However, if I notice more than 2 negative reviews on the first page (which is the most recent reviews) it definitely gets my attention and makes me want to investigate it further.
3. What is the night life like? This is something we learned after our trip to Mexico. We loved our resort, but it only had the lobby bar open each night. The resort itself actually had something like 3 or 4 bars, but one of them was a swim up bar, so it was closed at night, another one was outside of a different pool so it was also closed at night, etc. (They did have other activities going on, but for the most part there was only one area to hang out.) We definitely paid more attention to this when booking our honeymoon. I would look into the resort to see what their entertainment is like in the evenings, outside of the bar scene. For our honeymoon, our resort had a casino, a fire show on the beach one night, live music by the pool, a different music/dance show each night in a auditorium, as well as a sports bar and dance bar! We were definitely entertained each and every night.
4. How far away is the airport from your resort? Once you get to the airport, you will have to take a shuttle of some kind from the airport to your resort. Tyler and I always look at how far away the resort is from the airport, because once we land we just want to be there and on the beach. Typically traveling to a tropical destination is a long day of travel because you fly out so early. Then you have to go through customs, get your baggage, etc. Some resorts are only about a 20 minute drive from the airport whereas others are more than an hour. Another thing to consider here is private transportation or shared transportation. Each time Tyler and I have been to the Caribbean, we have done shared transportation but paid to be the first drop off. This means we are in a van with other people, but our resort is the first stop from the airport and the last stop on the way to the airport. If you don't do this, even if your resort is only 30 minutes from the airport, you could be in the shuttle longer because you are dropping other people off on the way. If you really love a resort and it's far away, just make sure you plan to spend the time in the car. If Tyler and I are in between two resorts and everything else about them is the same, we will pick the one with the least amount of time in the car once we land.
5. Kids versus Adult Only: Both of the times we have been to the area we went to a "kids welcomed" resort (for lack of a better term). We had looked at a couple adults only resorts, but ultimately liked the grounds, the pools, etc. of the ones that didn't have any restrictions more than the adults only resorts. Neither time have the kids bothered us, so it's never been an issue for us. However, if you are a teacher and work with kids every day you may welcome the break and really love the adults only atmosphere. I can't really speak to this because I have never been to one, but if you want to ensure there are no children around, or bring your family, you will want to choose a resort accordingly.
Those are my top five things to consider when choosing an all inclusive resort! After reading this, I am definitely thinking I may need a beach vacation before the year is over haha. One other thing is that Mexico is typically cheaper than the other beach destinations you may be considering. If you are trying to do a honeymoon on a budget I would start looking there first!
Have a great start to your week!
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