All-Inclusive Vacation Tips Roundtable [Live from Cancun!] – 115

Today, we have a very special show because we are live in Cancun. Shayne and I are with some of our favorite travel advisor friends, and we’re gonna break down everything you need to know for the perfect all-inclusive vacation.

All-Inclusive Vacation Tips Roundtable

  • Introduce the crew
  • Our Top Tips for planning and going on an all-inclusive vacation
  • Top things to not do.
  • Our favorite All-inclusive vacations

Question: What is your best tip for all-inclusive vacations?

Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group! Be sure to check out Ryan and Shayne’s bicycle blender race!

Start Making Your Magical Memories!

Ryan and Shayne are both Travel Advisers with Creating Magic Vacations, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote and to start making magical memories.

Where in the World is All Things Travel?

  • Cancun, Mexico

Check out the complete list of where in the world you’re located.

Never Miss a Thing!

Subscribe to All Things Travel Show on your favorite app so you never miss anything:

Please share it with some friends while you’re here.

Check out the complete list of episodes.

Episode 115 Transcripts

Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so there are likely some highly amusing translations!

Ryan: Hello and welcome to All Things Travel. Today, we have a very special show because we are live in Cancun. Shayne and I are with some of our favorite travel advisor friends, and we’re gonna break down everything you need to know for the perfect all inclusive vacation.

listening to all things.

Travel episode one 15 original air date, June 29th, 2022.

Well, Shayne, where in the world does all things travel today? We are in

Shayne: Cancun, Mexico.

Ryan: Awesome. More specifically where Azul beach, which is a Karisma resort. We talked about a few weeks ago.

Shayne: from our Cancun intro episode 113, meet

Ryan: you one 13.

And we are here with some of our favorite travel advisor friends. And we’re gonna have a conversation today just about all inclusives in general. What are things that you need to know? The next time you wanna plan an all inclusive vacation. So we’re gonna go around the patio here. We’re on the patio. And I do have to say it’s about 10 o’clock in the morning.

And the champagne is out. The beers are out. We are hitting all inclusive in a, in the right way. And we’re gonna go around the patio here and we’re gonna have everybody introduce themselves and talk about the travel that they like to book. Colleen, let’s start.

Colleen: my name is Colleen Stemler and I’m from North Carolina.

And the favorite things that I like to book is probably Disney and probably cruises all cruises in there. But those are my two favorites.

Ryan: Very cool.

Julie: Heather Wheeler from Houston, Texas. I get the most excited for Disney bookings. I feel like I’m traveling with my clients. I get so excited for them. any general, travel, but yeah, Disney’s definitely a favorite.

Michelle Helmlinger.

Michelle: I am from Manville, Louisiana, a beauty Springs area. I obviously love booking Disney, but my absolute favorite bookings

Julie: are honeymoons and honeymoon destinations. Very

Ryan: good. Yeah.

Julie: I like helping new Wests find their perfect destination. Awesome. My name is Julie Shaffer. I’m from Bel.

I love planning trips for families to Disney World with young kids. Um, especially toddlers, like my kids ages or multi-generational trips, which my family likes to take as well.

Ryan: All right. So we have been, um, touring resorts. We’ve been staying at Azul Beach. We’ve been learning all about all inclusive vacations, both for families and adults.

Awesome properties. We’re excited about this. We’re excited about Cancun. A couple of our Facebook, uh, friends reached out. When I, we talked about the trip and said, we wanna learn about all inclusive vacations. We have some experts here. What are your top tips when somebody’s planning an all inclusive vacation, either in thinking about it or doing it?

Julie: I love that. There’s something for everybody. So I guess my first question would be what’s your vibe? Like what do you into, what do you wanna do? Do you wanna chill? Do you wanna relax? Do you wanna play you wanna party? Do you wanna have romance? and then we can pair you with the, the

Ryan: best destination.

Yeah. I mean, the, the resorts that we’ve seen over the past couple days, I mean, there’s literally that if you want a chill vibe, it’s there. If you want a party vibe, it’s there. If you wanna be around adults, if you want to have your family with you and activities for everybody. Yeah. All inclusives are a great way to go because you pay once and everything’s there.

Julie: And even some destinations have, it’s all like shaken in a blend and there’s just a little

Ryan: bit of everything to one property. Yep. Absolutely.

Julie: You can bike and or

Ryan: blend, bike a blender. Hey, check a blend. Check that out on the Facebook page. Absolutely. Michelle, what’s a tip that you have, you, you book a lot of all inclusive resorts.

So what, what’s a top tip that you offer?

Michelle: Probably knowing the distance. That’s one of them I have, I have. But, um, what are the top is knowing the

Julie: distance from the

Michelle: airport. Yeah. And the, the resorts far away from the airport are fabulous, but you need to know ahead of time that it’s gonna be

Julie: a 90 minute drive.

Right, right. Or you need to find that alternate route or private transportation. Yep. So some destinations do offer

Ryan: like helicopter rides, stuff like that. Yeah. We found that with my family. Uh, when we traveled together, it was, we didn’t time it. Right. And it was really past lunch time when we landed and we had over an hour left to go and it’s like, by the time we got to the resort, everybody was angry and we should have planned that out better.

Knowing where that resort was. Colleen, how about you?

Colleen: Think that a lot of times I’ve gone to all, inclusives where we’ve done other excursions around. So I think to think about, is it that you wanna really just stay at the resort the whole time? Or do you wanna explore your location and, and like go visit like, like here, Mayan ruins are about an hour or so away.

Like, do you want to do those things or are you just looking for just resort time and then OB obviously, do you like beach or do you like pools? Very different. Like how many pools they have water parks, et cetera. So it’s a lot about what you want actually

Ryan: do mm-hmm activities you wanna do. Absolutely.

Absolutely. Julie, how about you?

Julie: Uh, I would say thinking of my main client base, which is families thinking about what amenities you need at that resort. So for me, I have two little ones, so I wanna make sure I go somewhere that has things for the kids to do, whether that’s a kid’s splash pad or amenities for the kids, like the resource we saw yesterday.

Pack and place strollers, monitors, all sorts of stuff for your kids to be comfortable, make it easy for you. And you also wanna know if you have to pack

Ryan: that stuff or not. Yeah, it, we walked into the rooms that they were showing us in. The cribs had, uh, little robes and little slippers that were, uh, that were kid size.

That was right. Hey, you know, as parents, I mean, were. Those things are important to know that our kids are having that vacation too. Oh. And they

Shayne: get to put on the robes and the slippers just like mom and dad and they fill out, grown

Ryan: up absolutely. On vacation. I mean, what, what, what a great picture for your Christmas card or your, your newsletter, you know, your holiday newsletter or something?

Definitely. for my next question. And when I’m planning a vacation, what, what should I not. What should I not do? And I’ll start with one, the price. Isn’t the last consideration. And I realize I’m biased cuz I sell travel. But the price is not the last consideration, because with all inclusives, oftentimes those promo specials, those, those special deals that you find online, once you start digging through, you’re realizing that you’re really not necessarily getting.

What you want to get. Yeah. And so really make sure to take that time, to know what you want and then find the right price based on that.

Julie: I would piggyback off that and say, don’t back away from something just because of the price. Make sure you’re realizing if everything truly is included in that.

Absolutely. That is included your, you know, if a, if a price is including your airfare and your transfers and a couple excursions and a spa credit, you know, that price is gonna be higher than just including. The resort and the food. Yeah. So it may look a little scary up front, but you’re not at tacking anything on once you get

Shayne: there, no matter what good or service you’re buying, if you’re buying something cheap, it’s cheap for a reason.

Yeah. And a lot of times after you purchase it, you, you can find out that cheap can be very expensive. Mm-hmm

Ryan: oh, absolutely. There you go. That’s a great point because then you’re having to pay while you’re here and you’re having to add on this and add on that, expecting it because you thought it was all inclusive.

Absolutely. All. Yeah. All inclusive means very different

Julie: things. It can different properties. It can.

Colleen: Yeah. Like if you, if you get some of the really, really value ones, if you want top shelf liquor, then you have to pay for the top shelf liquor. Yeah. Where other resorts, top shelf liquor is the base. Like they don’t have

Julie: well drinks.

It is the top shelf that and like the cabanas. Uh, so for example, here, the cabanas are included, but at another resort they could be $250 for a cabana. And what does that cabana include? Does it include services? Is it literally just a place to sit, being aware of all that?

Ryan: Any other don’t do.

Julie: I have one again, I give this for almost every, um, young family that’s traveling with young kids is try to stick to your kids’ schedule.

Don’t expect that just cuz you’re on vacation and you wanna stay up till nine and 10 and be at the pool all day and eat late that your kids can handle that because they will be cranky. Everyone will be happier if you try to tick their schedule. So try to get a room that has a balcony or a patio with a nice view so that you can sit out on it while your kid is inside sleeping or napping, try to keep ’em on their schedule.

Ryan: Somewhat. That’s a, that’s a great tip. We were, we had a fabulous, uh, dinner last night at the Mexican restaurant here on property. And our, uh, our reservation was about eight 30 at nine. And we were there for an hour or so. And there were families that kept coming in and being seated. And, you know, there were some pretty unhappy kiddos in, in that room.

And, and, you know, I agree with you, Julie. When, when I think of, of back when my kids were younger, a lot of times that meant, Hey dad, you screwed our schedule up, or you’re not taking the lead from us as far as a hungry. I’m tired. I shouldn’t be here right now cuz it’s nine 30 and I’m in the middle of a

Julie: restaurant.

Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s hard. It’s definitely a different vibe traveling with your young kids. But I just feel like if you take ’em back, everyone’s gonna. Happier. It’s just a sacrifice to make when the kids are younger, but something else to consider, because then you might wanna book a nicer room category or something like that, that you have a better view, a better balcony, better amenities in your room.

Yeah. That you

Ryan: can be there more. Yeah. Some of the properties we saw yesterday, uh, Nickelodeon and, uh, Margaritaville, Iowa reserve, they actually had, uh, spaces in the rooms where you would have, um, parti. Where the beds, the PA the ma the Kings could, um, close off. So you could have some space for the kids and space for the adults.

Mm-hmm okay. So we’ve made it to the resort. We’re ready to start our vacation. What are your top tips for having an awesome all inclusive vacation? Once you’re here, once you’re ready to go. So this may include what you pack. This may include how you schedule.

Colleen: I have a tip for what to pack. And, I always pack my own, water bottles, like a canteen or whatever, but the other one is my own drink cup, like your Yetis or whatever like that, because when you’re at it all occlusive it’s hot outside.

And your drinks get hot, like immediately. So I bring mine, I, my beer stays cold. My frozen drinks stay frozen. Bring your own straws cuz nobody’s got straws or if they do their paper straws. So if you want a straw, bring your own straws and your own cups. That’s a great tip. Yes. Lit a tip cups. Yeah.

Ryan: Don’t overschedule don’t overschedule good.


Michelle: make sometimes rest, relax, enjoy the resort. Do an excursion depending. Length of your visit every other day or one day of your visit, but don’t,

Julie: overschedule it.

Ryan: I like that. Mm-hmm to piggyback off that, Michelle, I have found most resorts that I have visited or I’ve had clients visit recently all have apps associated with them.

And so that’s a good way to do that. Scheduling, you know, you can click, I like this. I like that. So for instance, later today, yes, this is our schedule. We are going to go to a mixology class. We have a private tequila tasting and then Shayne that’s followed by what archery arch. Well, of course better to have, of course.

I mean, after, you know, after trying

Shayne: alcohol for an hour, so better to do than we go out and shoot weapons at

Ryan: each other, and then we’re gonna, and then we’re gonna in the middle is lunch. Yes. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna go to the popup burrito event. Try to, uh, soak up some of that tequila that we had at the tasting and then go shoot arrows at each other.

Well, maybe not at each other. OK. At target. Okay. At target. We’ll see. We’ll see Heather, how, how it goes. Don’t forget your app on. Yeah. So, so the apps are great. I mean, you, you all know I’m a foodie. So being able to look at menus ahead of time, being able to schedule my day, deciding, you know, is that spa treatment worth it or is that excursion worth it?

To be honest, I’m more likely to look at that stuff on the app than I am to go talk to somebody. And that’s a great way to kind of talk through your vacation. And so if you’re used to cruising, it’s kind of the same way, but you know, I agree with Michelle, don’t overdo it. The point of an all inclusive experience is to enjoy that all inclusive place that you’re at, enjoy what you’ve already paid for.

Yeah. I like that enjoy, enjoy what you’ve already paid for. And

Julie: piggybacking off of that too, you can book some of those things before you even arrive. Yeah. So think about what you might wanna do consider booking it before you come, you know, we can help you. You know, narrow it down and book it before you go so that you’re not wasting your time at the resort sitting and waiting to book those kind of things and putting out that extra money once you’re here.

Yeah. Yeah. Uh,

Heather: my

two are definitely bring your own sunscreen. Mm-hmm it pains me to see people fried like lobsters on the first theater vacation. It’s just miserable. Like nobody wants that. Um, and it’s super expensive once you’re on property. Mm-hmm for sunscreen. It’s $36

Ryan: here for a little bottle of sunscreen.

silent: Yes, I did. My, no,

Ryan: I did not. No, he, no, he’s sharing my sunscreen. I told Ryan

Shayne: I’ve gave him a hundred pesos

Ryan: for his sunscreen. . right.

Julie: And then the other one, you know, to, to pair with your champagne is staying hydrated. And in the mini bars, you can request on the.

Extra water for your mini fridge. That’s great. Yeah,

Ryan: that’s great. Yeah. And obviously, if there’s not an app, there’s plenty of folks here or at any resort that I’ve been to, or my clients have been to, I have to say staff anywhere has, have been awesome at resorts like this. They are just absolutely. They go above and beyond.

Um, you know, to help you out to get those little things right before we started, uh, you saw her in the, in the picture, on, on Facebook, uh, a few weeks ago when we were actually here, um, the, the Michelle’s housekeeper actually brought a bucket of ice for, uh, for the bottle of champagne to help us through the show.

So as she bought always, yeah, they always. and so Michelle welcome photo bomb. Oh, very welcome. Photo bomb. Yeah. So, so to go along with service, a lot of the all inclusive resorts include gratuities, but I know we’ve talked a lot about tipping at all. Inclusive resorts. What are your suggestions or things to think about when it comes to that?

Michelle: And this is mixed

reviews. I I

support tipping, um, in this destination. I know, um,

it doesn’t

have to be a lot, a couple dollars here, a couple dollars

there, but I do find the services a little bit better and a little bit

elevated. Yeah. When you do tip

a couple dollars year, a couple dollars there.

Ryan: Um, so your housekeepers, you know, a, a couple dollars a day gets you maybe some extra amenities or somebody to go grab your ice. Like, like we just saw some chocolate covered strawberries, some chocolate covered strawberries, you know, tipping your bartender at the beginning of the, at the day, at the beginning of the day.

So that you get maybe a little extra service or acknowledgement throughout the

Julie: day. Yes. Better attention

Colleen: or the pool servers who are

Ryan: gonna be

Colleen: trying to you. They’ll always seek you out. Or when the bar closes, they’ll go like, keep giving you some drinks before the S

Julie: right. It doesn’t have to be every time or every drink.

No, a

Colleen: little bit more in the beginning. And then

Ryan: they, you know, and, and I would say your transfers, obviously, cuz oftentimes those folks don’t work for the resort. Sometimes they do. Um, but, but they don’t work for the resort directly. So you’re, you’re tipping them. That would be, and, and, and especially at a place like Cancun, like, like you all have said a little bit goes a long way.

Yes. You know, $5 for the bartend. really, to be honest, can can get you by for quite a few drinks, you know? Yeah. A couple bucks to the housekeeper each day does make a difference. Um, and yeah, I, I, I think it’s, it’s a good way, especially at a place that lives on tourism. It it’s a good way to say thank you.

Julie: But some resorts will not allow tipping, so be

Ryan: aware. Correct. There are, there are. So I was at sandals in August and, and I talked about that with Shayne and they are a no tipping resort. Mm-hmm in fact, they, they wear, you know, some of the way, way staff even says I don’t accept tips. And I saw, I saw people accept tips.

I saw people refuse tips, and I was even asked for a tip. Um, while I was at sandals. Now I will say that was based on an excursion. So that was a little D. Um, you know, that wasn’t something that was quote unquote included in my stay. Um, but you know, I, so, so know that policy because, you know, bringing, bringing, uh, some cash of ones and fives and tens can really help your stay there.

Mm-hmm all right. So any other tips?

Colleen: Oh, I have something to not pack. Okay. And that is don’t bring your own beach towels. Save that room in your luggage because all of the resorts will always provide pool beach towels for you to use. And they’re big, nice ones. So don’t bring those mm-hmm save space in your luggage

Julie: from that.

And at the end of the

Ryan: day, leave them at the pool. Yes, don’t don’t don’t the room. Whoops.

Shayne: almost always with an all inclusive you’re traveling outside of the United States. So remember that you’re in a different country. And there’s gonna be different customs and a different pace. I think that was a lot of the problem with the kids last night is that restaurants here, especially on the resorts, they’re not like chilies and those where they’re gonna rush you in and rush you out.

Yeah, you’re gonna, you’re gonna wait a bit for your drinks. They’re wait a bit for your food and by then, your kids might be. Tired obviously, cuz it’s so late. Right.

Ryan: Bring snacks and then hungry. Yeah. And, and, and so to, to go along with, with your comment, Julie, the good thing is a lot of places have, you know, the snack kiosks and things like that, where you can grab the chicken fingers and the fries and, you know, kind of quote unquote pre-game your kids for, for dinner.

Right. You know, let, let them fill up on a few things that they like and then, or get some room service and then go, yes. Um,

Julie: mm-hmm I would say another tip that I was thinking about this morning when we were at breakfast is, you know, you’re at the all inclusive, so you can order more than one dish. You can try new things and if you don’t like it, you can try something else.

Ryan: Oftentimes the portions are smaller. Yes. So, so you can order different things or order things for the table. Yes. You know, my family, when we go out to eat, we never order appetizers or things. That’s just not us. Um, but when we’re at a place like this, we will, you know, everybody gets an appetizer, we get, you know, a couple appetizers and we share them.

And because it is it’s, it’s all included. It’s they, they, in fact, they will suggest if you can’t make up your mind, they’ll say, we’ll get. We’ll get both. And so, or

Julie: like last night when we had two platers of 10 tacos, at table by accidents.

Ryan: Well, happy accident, happy, less call a happy accident. So,

Colleen: and I would encourage you to

Ryan: try new foods that never happened.

Yes. It’s a great place. Yeah. Like

Colleen: might not be something you would order, but guess what? You don’t have to worry about. Oh, I paid for this and I don’t like it. And I feel like I have to eat. You can just pick something else if you don’t like it, but you at least tried it. Yes. This is the opportunity to try new food.


Ryan: needs

Shayne: to try that octopus.

Julie: Yeah. Oh, or the suckling pig that you had.

a lot of the properties have Starbucks on them. They’re not included in. Inclusive that I’ve seen so far. So just make sure you have cash. Like the one here doesn’t take credit cards or your Starbucks app.

So make sure you have cash. I think you can charge it to your real oh, you can

silent: charge to

Ryan: the room. Yes. Gotcha. I do remember that. Gotcha.

Michelle: don’t be afraid to try different restaurants in one night.

Yeah. Cause we do. Yep. Restaurant hopping will have at one entree at another and dessert at another. Yep. And you can just

Julie: hit all

Ryan: the restaurants. And along with that same thing with drinks, you know, if you, if you have different drinks that are included and I mean, it’s a time to try things that you wouldn’t necessarily order at a bar, or it’s a time for your kids to have, you know, a kid’s version of this mocktail or this special drink, because if you’re at a family resort they’re gonna have.

Drinks for the kids. It’s just some time to explore some various different things. So last question, where has everybody’s favorite all inclusive vacation been either for your family or one that you’ve booked for a client. different. Do

silent: you

Julie: have

Michelle: a compliance that recently returned from sandals for made mm-hmm and that is very intriguing.

All their. Were stunning and their excursions were fabulous looking and.

Julie: It’s gotten put on my

Ryan: top three. Nice, very cool. Nice. It’s it’s a occupational hazard being a travel advisor, right. because everything you learn about everything you send people to you’re like, I wanna try that myself. Right, right.

Yeah. Where else have people been? That’s that’s their, their top pick.

Julie: So I’ve only been to one and it was in the same areas in Riviera Cancun of Dreams. And I did really enjoy it, but I have a beaches, Turks and CAOs booked in a couple years and I would. Once I go there, that’s going to be my

Ryan: favorite.

Very nice. Very nice.

Colleen: My sister has been to all of the beaches, Ojo and no grill and Turks and Turks is her favorite. She loves it.

Ryan: My favorite. Um, and we did an episode of back about this. If you wanna search it. Was my family’s trip to Hard rock River May a few spring breaks ago. And I like that. I I’ve been with my wife on adults only.

And, and those have been fabulous of course, but it was really fun for my kids to have that experience one first time outta the country and two, just to have that family all inclusive time, they really, you know, my son at the end of the trip. Why would you vacation anywhere else? Like, oh, you want a milkshake?

They give you a milkshake. You want to go kayaking. They give you a kayak, like what it gets you, you want a pizza pizza, you know, and, and how many pizzas. And it was fun to have them kind of, you know, have a good time with that. I, you know, all inclusives are not gonna be our every vacation, but they’re certainly fun to, to be a part of our vacation menu.

If you will just let loose, just let it’s. It’s a great time to do whatever you. Yes,

Shayne: try some new things,

Colleen: try some new things.

Julie: I can’t wait to try archery,

Ryan: archery, tequila, tequila fuel that.

Julie: And I would’ve learned how to make some cocktails.

Ryan: Oh, you’re gonna make some, okay. Well, Hey, it sounds like we’re getting busy here.

Folks. We gotta spend some time at the pool before we do all these fun things. I’m sure there’s gonna be some pictures or videos of how this afternoon goes. Ladies. Thank you so much for joining Shayne and I this morning. We are so excited to be here with you to, to, you know, hang out with friends, learn about all inclusive resorts and just really soak up the fun.

silent: Thank

Ryan: you for yes. Thanks for having absolutely. So we’ve got an episode coming out in a few weeks, specifically about Azul beach Cancun, Rivi, Amaya. So you can hear all about our stay at this fabulous resort.

Shayne: And if you would like to book your all inclusive vacation, whether it’s in Cancun or any of the other Caribbean destinations, Ryan and I, or all of us here are travel agents with creating magic vacations, and we would love to help you plan your vacation.

You can reach out to Ryan, R Y a N at creating magic. Dot com H main Shayne S H a Y N E. Creating magic

Ryan: Colleen, how about you? How can people reach you? Uh, Colleen,

Colleen: C O L L E E Heather

Julie: Heather Wheeler, H Wheeler, H w H E E L E R at creating magic vacations. Michelle



Julie: L L E. All right, Julie, Julie, J U L I

Ryan: Well, if you can remember a name and you can remember creating modifications. I think you’ll be okay at emailing us. All right, folks, have a great rest of your day and start dreaming about an all inclusive vacation for you and your family.

Hello and welcome to All Things Travel. Today, we have a very special show because we are live in Cancun. Shayne and I are with some of our favorite travel advisor friends, and we’re gonna break down everything you need to know for the perfect all inclusive vacation. Cheers!!

silent: Cheers! Salud! Here we go!