It's easy to see why vacationers are drawn to all-inclusive resorts. After all, most people go on vacation to relax and unwind, and having all of your meals, drinks and entertainment taken care of can be seen as downright convenient.
Think about it.
Once you arrive at your all-inclusive resort, you don't have to worry about much. All meals are included and paid for, as are your favorite adult beverages (in most cases), your beach chair and even a show or two each night. Some all-inclusive resorts take the convenience factor even further by offering non-motorized water sports and games for their guests, as well as bicycles and snorkel equipment.
Still, all-inclusive resorts simply cannot be everything to everyone. And for all they do include in one low price, there are still plenty of personal items they don't offer. Want your all-inclusive vacation to be as convenient and seamless as possible? Here are a few items you might want to pack the next time you go.
If your all-inclusive resort is nestled on a beach somewhere, you'll wish you had at least one bottle of sunscreen with you. If you're a beach-lover or you have your family in tow, you may even want to consider packing several kinds -- including special creams for your face, body and hands, and at least one brand that is waterproof. Remember, you can always take home any that you don't use on your trip.
An insulated mug
If you plan to imbibe during your all-inclusive trip, you may find yourself seriously annoyed with the cups you'll be forced to drink out of -- glasses typically offered at all-inclusive resorts are not only small, but also flimsy. An insulated mug takes care of this problem by serving as a refillable container that not only keeps your beverages cold, but keeps them protected from the elements as well. Buying a large insulated mug can also mean fewer trips to the bar and more time to relax.
A waterproof pouch
If you plan to float in the ocean for extended periods of time, it might be a good idea to invest in a waterproof pouch or fanny pack. These relatively inexpensive items can be purchased online, and can keep your room key, cash and small valuables safe while you enjoy the water. Without one, you might end up sitting up on the beach wishing you had someone to watch your stuff.
First-aid kit with basic medications
Those yummy drinks and lavish buffets might be delicious, but they can also do a number on your digestive system if you're not used to the local cuisine. That's why it's a great idea to bring some of the basics with you, such as anti-diarrhea medicine, aspirin or Tylenol, and Tums, in addition to a small first-aid kit. You never know when something will go wrong, and it is always best to be prepared.
Far-flung all-inclusive resorts sometimes have much more than ocean wildlife to get used to -- many of them have giant bugs as well. That's why bringing your own bug spray is so essential, especially if you're vacationing somewhere tropical.
The good news: Most all-inclusive resorts have a small convenience store that offers these items and others if you get in a bind. The bad news: They sometimes cost two or three times more than what you would pay in a normal retail environment. No one wants to fork over $30 for a tube of bug spray.
The best way to avoid getting gauged for convenience items on your all-inclusive trip is to make a list of things you might need and plan on bringing them yourself. If not, you're at the mercy of a resort who may or may not charge an arm and a leg for something that can be purchased cheaply at home.
That doesn't sound convenient at all.
See: 9 Money-Saving Items to Pack on Your Next Cruise
Holly Johnson is the founder of travel website, Travel Blue Book, which covers travel experiences ranging from cruising to fine dining. Holly also writes about frugal living, travel and budgeting on her other website, Club Thrifty, and at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, Personal Capital and many other online publications.