When it comes to making travel plans, do you like to play concierge and create an itinerary full of sightseeing highlights and festive activities? Or do you prefer to just show up at a lavish resort, unpack, unwind and relax knowing that daily meals, fitness and wellness activities, and outdoor excursions are already covered and planned?
If the latter sounds appealing, then staying at an all-inclusive may suit your vacation vibe. Just be mindful of when and where you want to travel. According to Lonely Planet, resort rates in the Caribbean tend to be lower during the low and shoulder seasons in May and June and in September and October. During these times, it’s less crowded, and hotels may offer discounts and incentives like an extra night free. Hurricane season, however, falls from June through November and peaks in September. During that time frame, a safer bet is the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao in the south Caribbean, which are typically spared from hurricanes.
Ready to book a tropical getaway? Consider the Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ collection of luxury and all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Montenegro and the Caribbean, including Margaritaville Island Reserve Riviera Maya, El Dorado Royale and Azul Beach Resort Negril. AARP members save 10 percent off the best available rate, plus the choice of 50 percent off a beachfront dinner for two guests or a couple’s massage.
To help you get more bang for your vacation bucks, here are six additional all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and the U.S.
Sandals Royal Curaçao
With couples-only properties peppered throughout the Caribbean, Sandals Resorts often come to mind when we think of a posh, all-inclusive island getaway. All properties have recently enhanced safety features. Perched on an exclusive, 44-acre beachfront estate, Sandals Royal Curaçao is a new jewel in the resort company’s crown and the chain’s only property in the Dutch Caribbean. With its launch, Sandals debuted its first-ever off-site dining program, a partnership with eight local restaurants. Other brand-first highlights include two new seaside and poolside butler bungalow categories equipped with Mini Cooper convertibles to explore the island, a bi-level infinity pool and a natural ocean-fed pool.
Beaches Turks and Caicos
Part of the Sandals family, Beaches properties are where to vacation if you’re traveling with children, you’re single and ready to mingle, or you want to gather your girls for the Beaches Friends Forever (BFF) Girls Getaway at Beaches Turks and Caicos. (Although this year’s events are already sold out, you could keep the BFF Girls Getaway in mind for next year and check the website for upcoming events.) In addition to all-inclusive perks like posh accommodations, gourmet dining and bottomless tropical drinks (nonalcoholic options too), this year the popular girlfriend getaway includes seaside yoga and meditation, a jewelry and wine soiree, a beach bonfire white party and more than $1,000 in BFF gifts, including a $200 Red Lane Spa credit, a free 5-by-7-inch photo, a Sanitas skin care kit and a Caribbean excursion.
Divi & Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusives
Soak up the sun at the beachfront Divi Aruba and its sister property, Tamarijn Aruba, conveniently close to Aruba’s capital city, Oranjestad, and only 10 minutes from the airport (a plus if you’ve taken a long and bumpy ride on a winding island road). Both resorts welcome singles, couples, families and groups, and guests staying at either of the resorts can use all facilities and services at both, including all meals and snacks at a choice of 11 restaurants and grills, unlimited beverages at eight bars, access to four freshwater pools, use of a state-of-the-art fitness and water sports center, weekly yoga, Zumba and water aerobics classes, and nightly entertainment. There’s also free Wi-Fi in guest rooms and throughout the properties, and the Divi & Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive app’s “chat with us” feature allows guests to quickly send messages and questions to a virtual assistant about amenities, dining, transportation and scheduled activities.
If you’re curious about the ABC island of Bonaire, check out Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, where one child under 5 stays and eats free per each paying adult.
The Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos, Pennsylvania
If you prefer a walk in the woods to a stroll on the beach, lace up your sturdy sneaks and head to this hidden gem in the Pocono Mountains of Hawley, Pennsylvania. An all-inclusive stay includes newly renovated guest rooms; three healthfully prepared meals per night of stay; group fitness classes like yoga, Pilates and aqua toning; lectures; cooking demonstrations; and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking and hatchet throwing. Get in your reps and steps at the 3,000-square-foot cardio fitness studio, take a dip in the indoor pool, sweat it out in the co-ed Himalayan salt sauna, and book a muscle-melting massage at the tranquil day spa.
Miraval Austin Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas
Take your self-care practice to the next level with a trip to Miraval Austin, tucked away on 280-plus acres in the rolling Texas Hill Country. In addition to serene rooms and suites, an all-inclusive stay includes shared ground shuttle transportation from the airport; all meals, snacks, coffee and nonalcoholic drinks; and access to spa amenities like the hot tub, sauna and serenity pool. Spend reflective time with in-room amenities like meditation channels, a Tibetan singing bowl, and a meditation pillow, and stay active with daily wellness classes and workshops. Other wellness perks include challenge courses, equine activities, farm and garden tours, and off-site excursions on Lake Travis. Miraval also has relaxing resorts in Tucson, Arizona, and the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.