Take the stress out of your next family holiday.

There’s a new thing on my list of must haves when travelling. No mental load. Ok well, less mental load. That thing for parents that involves figuring out what we’re eating, where we’re going, what we’re doing, plan B in case kids don’t like it, and the list goes on. 

In fact, according to Expedia research, the appeal of all-inclusive accommodation has grown by over 52 per cent in the last year. Expedia Brands Managing Director, Daniel Finch explains why Aussies are looking to “flop and drop” as he calls it. “Our research shows that more than half (54 per cent) of Aussies are keen to book all-inclusive accommodation to avoid worrying about on-the-ground expenses: to be able to just flop and drop and make it easier when travelling with kids.”

Nannies, turning up with meals already made, kids club, activities, pools, snacks, the ocean, more pools and alcohol.  But the price? I know, I know. It’s all inclusive. But the tight arse in me always thinks it’d be cheaper to DIY. Here are hacks to cut costs.

Ring and ask about offers

You’d be surprised at how much you can save by ringing and asking for offers. Most resorts would rather guests book directly through them, so they may just knock a bit off the price or chuck in some freebies. 

Find out what’s included

Check what’s included and what’s not so you can budget for those. Things like transfers, bottled water and alcohol or premium drinks may not be included. It might not save you money, but it’ll allow you to maximise what you’ve paid for.

BYO a few cheeky drinks

If house wine and beer isn’t your cup of tea, BYO. Depending on where you’re heading, you may want to sneak a few bottles of wine or spirits into your luggage. Enjoy a few beverages in your room before or after meals.

Make use of points

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty. Check your points’ balance and see if you can score a few nights for free. If you’re new to the point game, sign up to the loyalty program to start collecting for the next holiday.

Take full advantage of kids’ club

Though your kids will be tempted by the paid activities, get with the kids club program and try and maximise it. 

When in doubt, ask

Can’t decide between which dessert to order? Would you like an extra side of fries? All inclusive usually means all is inclusive, which includes extras, especially when dining is concerned. Don’t be shy to ask for more, toys at the pool and wherever else! Worse case they’ll say no. 

Stay at a new resort

To drum up business, new resorts will often slash their prices. Yes, you’ll likely need to bear with teething issues, but if you can live with that, you’ll save a bit of cash. 

Exchange money before you go

This is one you shouldn’t think, “I’ll do it when I get there”. Exchange bureaus which aren’t at the hotel or in the airport will usually get you better bang for buck. A captive audience at a resort in the middle of nowhere equals less favourable exchanges and higher fees.

Bring your essentials 

Sunscreen, after sun gel, reusable water bottles, toys, and even basic medical necessities like Panadol, band aids and antiseptic cream. I remember forgetting sunscreen when I travelled to Hamilton Island and thought I’d be able to pick it up there. Which I could of course, but for twice the price!

Originally published as The best hacks for saving on all inclusive resorts

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