All Inclusive Resort Tips – for beginners, backpackers, and budgeters

Author Carina Klein
· 6 min read · 0 comments

Share this post with others


All inclusive resort hacks: This all inclusive hotel guide explains how it's possible to combine a backpacking trip with an all inclusive holiday to save money.

How to do all inclusive on a budget?

Our travel style is a bit controversial: we like backpacking but we also like all inclusive resorts so we started to combine them. This gives us both an authentic travel experience and the possibility to enjoy all inclusive luxury while staying on a budget.

Around backpackers, there is a certain stigma around all inclusive resorts. The old travellers vs tourists debate. 1/3 of our Instagram followers said they have never been to an all inclusive hotel. Half of our community that had previously been to an all inclusive resort, didn't like it.

Here’s why we like it: Our first part of the trip is very low-budget. We sleep in guest houses, use public transport and eat at local restaurants. We save money to splurge and relax at the end. We love the peace of mind only an all inclusive experience can give you. And we enjoy it most knowing that we have already explored the country and had a more authentic experience away from the all inclusive resort bubble.

By the way, it's incredibly funny to rock up to a fancy resort with your backpacks. When we arrived at our resort in Mexico by public bus we were asked several times if we really have a reservation 😅

Picture of a cocktail at the beach
Cocktail at the beach

Tips for all inclusive resorts

Tip 1: Choosing a hotel

Like with regular hotels, there is a wide variety of all inclusive resorts. There are family-friendly and adults only all inclusive resorts, resorts with a younger or an older crowd, resorts geared more towards relaxation or party, resorts with more or less animation and so on. Do your research and read some comments to get a feel for the place you chose.

Tip 2: Resort packing list

  • Bring the right clothes! For many resorts, you need long trousers and proper shoes for dinner. Make sure to leave some room for them in your luggage, especially if you only travel with small backpacks.
  • An insulated refillable cup can be useful to reduce waste, keep your drinks cold, and save you from frequent trips to the bar.
  • Towel clips can be handy to keep your towels on your sunbeds (I guess I am too German not to mention this tip after all).

The rest is pretty much the same as for your regular vacation.

Tip 3: How many days do you need in an all inclusive resort?

We recommend staying at least two full days. Take your time on the first day and explore the different bars and restaurants, the pools and the beach. Find out if there are any included activities like sports classes or cooking classes. Afterwards, you want to have enough time to take advantage of included activities and amenities. After all, you don’t want to leave before the relaxation kicked in, do you?

Tip 4: What’s not included in an all inclusive resort?

Included food and drinks: Oftentimes, the buffet restaurants are included but the a la carte restaurants are not (or only for a limited amount of visits). Additionally, there can be high-end drinks like branded alcohol which is rarely included.

Included activities: Most resorts include the gym and unmotorized sports in their rates. Other activities like scuba diving or boat tours cost extra. Additionally, the spa area can be free of use but treatments mostly cost extra.

Check the hotel description and don’t assume that everything is included!

Tip 5: All inclusive can be the cheaper option

Surprisingly, depending on your travel style and the country you travel in, all inclusive can be cheaper than backpacking – with all you can eat food and drinks already included! Here’s an example from our recent trip to Cyprus:

All inclusive hotel: 60€ per Person and night

Backpacking: 72,50€ per Person and night

  • 25€ for the apartment
  • 5€ for breakfast at home
  • 7,50€ for sunbeds and umbrella
  • 5€ for a street food lunch
  • 20€ for dinner in a restaurant
  • 10€ for two cocktails
Picture of an all inclusive buffet
All inclusive buffet

Here are our top 3 picks for budget all inclusive resorts:

Best all inclusive resort in Mexico:

Akumal Bay - Beach & Wellness Resort, Akumal, Mexico

We just loved the white sandy beach, the infinity pools (plural!), the Bali beds, and the turtles right in front of the hotel. Every room has its own private hot tub which seems out of reach for the regular backpacker like us. The drinks were out of this world – think flaming coffee, cocktails coloured like the Mexican flag or tequila tastings.

Best all inclusive resort in Egypt:

Labranda Royal Makadi, Makadi Bay, Egypt

Our favourite budget-friendly hotel in Egypt. The reef right in front of the hotel is in good condition. You can enjoy stone oven pizza right on the beach. The Labranda promenade offers a greater culinary variety than I have ever seen. You can choose between a Greek taverna, a burger bar, an ice cream parlour, a Bedouin tent, sushi, teppanyaki, Cuban, and many more – just make sure it’s included in your package!

Best all inclusive resort in Cyprus:

Leonardo Plaza Cypria Maris Beach Hotel & Spa, Paphos, Cyprus

This super budget-friendly resort is adults only. It is geared towards a younger crowd. There is sparse animation and light music as well as a nightclub. Most drinks are included but special cocktails and branded spirits are not. For a small additional charge, you can visit the a la carte restaurants.

Picture of all inclusive drinks at the beach
All inclusive drinks at the beach

Yes, most of our all inclusive pictures feature food and drinks, because that's what we're there for 😉

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. You would help us a lot if you do so. Thanks.


We're working on a secret project behind the scenes.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter to get sneak-peeks.


Want to support us?
Buy us a coffe, a tea – or a whisky.


Leave a comment

Do you have any thoughts on this article? – We would love to hear from you!

Do you want to follow us on our jouney? Check this box to also signup for our Newsletter and never miss an update!

You have a link you want to share with others? This is a good place for it!

Do you want to receive a Push-Notification when someone replies to your comment? – Check this box!