how to choose an all inclusive resort for your honeymoon

Monday, April 18, 2016

what to look for when choosing an all-inclusive resort | how to choose an all-inclusive resort | all inclusive resort | how to choose an all inclusive resort for your honeymoon | how to pick a resort for your honeymoon | a memory of us | honeymoon planning tips

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!

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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.

how to choose a resort for your honeymoon

2. How many restaurants does your resort have? This is an important thing to look at, especially if your trip is longer. Some resorts we looked at only had three restaurants, so we immediately tossed them out of the running. This could potentially work if you were only going for three nights or something, but you would definitely be bored and ready for something new if you were staying longer. Typically, one of those restaurants is a buffet that is open for breakfast and lunch, so really that leaves you with two choices for dinner. I would recommend choosing a resort that has enough variety so that you don't have to repeat a restaurant for dinner ever. (Or if you do have to repeat, hopefully it's only one night!) If you head to a resort's website, they will typically list out all of their restaurants so you can see the variety. If you are looking on Southwest Vacations, Cheap Caribbean, etc. they normally only say something like 4 restaurants, so make sure you head to the resort's website to confirm.

how to choose an all inclusive resort

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.

what to look for when choosing an all inclusive resort | tips for picking a resort for your honeymoon

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.

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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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41 thoughts

  1. Really great tips for finding a great all inclusive resort for your honeymoon - especially the distance to the airport...even when you're flying back you don't want to waste time in a taxi if you don't have to! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

  2. Fabulous tips!! I love Trip advisor so much and your tips are even better!! How cute are you in your KC hat and you two on the boat! Dolls!!

  3. Can I just say--thank you for this post! We're getting close to planning our honeymoon and I don't even know where to begin. This was so helpful!


  4. Great list! I considered a lot of these things when booking ours, too. A HUGE thing to consider is definitely the restaurants! We didn't even get to all of the ones our resort had to offer :-) I noticed a lot have limitations on how many 'sit down' meals you get too, and then the rest of your meals have to be buffet..I was definitely aware of that when booking!

  5. We still have never been to an all inclusive resort! I love your tip for looking at the number of restaurants the resort has! It would suck to eat at the same place over and over again.

  6. I want to go to an all inclusive resort because my friends have done it and they said there is NO other way to do it!

    The Adored Life

  7. Great tips girl! All inclusive resorts are definitely the way to go! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  8. These a great tips of some of them I would never thought. Great photos too.


  9. These are awesome tips! Definitely bookmarking this!

    xo Kylie

  10. Awesome tips! Especially about far you are from the airport, after a long flight and going through customs you just want to be on the beach with a drink in your hand. We've started becoming more selective about what AI resort we choose. We've come to love upgrading to club level rooms where you have adults only pools and bars along with a butler. Oh how I love the DR and Mexico <3
    Green Fashionista

  11. Such a great post! My husband and I have never been on a "big" trip- but we are hoping for our 10 year anniversary to go to an all inclusive resort. These are great tips to keep in mind once we start planning our trip!

  12. Darcy, these are great tips, I am happy to hear Trip Advisor is as good as it proclaims and such a good idea about being dropped of first and picked up last so that you are closer to the airport... no one wants to be driving all the time... unless of course the place you want to be is the farthest one out xox

  13. Great tips! Tripadvisor is my go to place to check out whether or not somewhere is good. I always appreciate all the honest reviews.

  14. These are great! I always read online reviews like none other too. So helpful.

  15. Great tips. You gues are shuch a beautiful couple. have a lovely day. xx

  16. These are great tips! We had our destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort, The Sandals Royal Bahamian and I swear it was life changing for how will will vacation! I highly recommend the Sandals chain of resorts!

    xo, Kristina

  17. This is so helpful! I wish you had written it almost three years ago when we got married ;) I hemmed and hawed and finally got so overwhelmed trying to pick an all inclusive that we went a different route.

  18. These are all really good tips! Researching for a honeymoon destination was difficult - EVERY one of them looks the same! We're officially booked though & headed to Punta Cana :)

  19. Awesome tips girl!!! We are in the midst of planning our all inclusive honeymoon in Riviera Maya and it's sooo overwhelming picking a resort because they all sound wonderful. If you have any recommendations I would love to hear it. Will definitely do my research and make sure I have variety with the restaurants :)!

    1. That is soo exciting!! I have heard that Dreams resorts are really nice! We stayed at a Royalton in Punta Cana and loved it so I would look into one of those!

  20. Looks like such a fun trip!

  21. I love all-inclusive resorts. The last thing I want to do is worry about how much money I'm racking up while on vacation! The ones with kids wouldn't bother me either they always make it seem like they're running around wreaking havoc but in my experience most kids are just off doing their own thing, not hanging out by the adult areas anyway

  22. We've never done an all inclusive & I've always wanted to! Trip Advisor is a must!

  23. These are great tips! We always use trip advisor when checking certain places!
    Stylin In St. Louis

  24. Enjoy your happy life, and i love these photos

    BettyCook www.dreamydressshop.com

  25. Ive always wanted to try an all inclusive! Such great tips!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  26. These are such great tips! My honeymoon was at an all inclusive in St Lucia, and we had the best time!

  27. such a great tips! so helpful
    have a great day

  28. These are all great tips, thanks for sharing!! TripAdvisor is the best resource I never book anything without reading lots of reviews there & seeing what it offered.

  29. Great post!! Gorgeous trip photos! xo

  30. These are great tips! I want to go to an all inclusive, and it's nice to know what to look for.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  31. You look amazing in that gold top


  32. Looks like a wonderful time dear I like the photos


  33. Beautiful dress, your shoes are absolutely fantastic


  34. Those are great tips! Thanks so much

    Happy Tuesday! Kisses,
    BLOG | Taislany

  35. Great tips - TripAdvisor is a definite when my husband and I are traveling. Honest feedback and real pictures...

    Daily Style Finds

  36. Great post! I'm dying to go to the Caribbean or Mexico asap!

  37. We used each one of these things in picking our spot! And you read my mind with the no kids- that was a major factor in our decision. I love them, but I didn't want to see a single one for a week straight;)!
    Darling, Dearest

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