Packing for an All Inclusive Resort Vacation

Many of the families I work with are booking all inclusive vacations for the first time. And it’s not surprising when you look at the extraordinary value today’s all inclusive resorts offer; suites packed with family amenities, plenty of great dining options, specialized family concierge support, pools and beaches and best of all – no stress!
And once we’re booked and travel dates grow closer, I get a lot of questions about packing. So I wanted to share my thoughts on packing for an all inclusive resort vacation here!

Swim Suits

Of course during the day it’s all about swim suits and cover ups. Bring at least three or four swimsuits per person. They take a long time to dry in the humidity and there is nothing worse than putting on a wet cold suit in the morning!
All restaurants will require clothes while you are dining so ladies should be be sure to bring substantial cover ups and light dresses for the day time.

Excursions

On daytime excursions, it’s typically pretty hot. Especially if you are going to be walking or exerting yourself, be sure to avoid cotton – it doesn’t dry quickly and will just get all sticky and hot. For men, I love Prana-brand shirts and shorts, available online and at stores like REI.
Also, while in Mexico environmentally delicate destinations like the Sian Ka’an biosphere may ask you if you have “biodegradable sunscreen”. This is a specific kind of sunscreen that does’t harm natural reefs. I find they ask about 20% of the time on the tours. While it may be hard to find in the U.S., it’s readily available in Mexico. Consider purchasing some before any water-based excursion.

Drinking

Most all inclusive resorts serve drinks in plastic disposable cups. To reduce the amount of waste you generate, and to help keep your drinks cooler, longer, consider bringing your own Tarvis tumbler, Yeti cup or other insulated, reusable cup.

And just for fun – here is one of my favorite drinks if you’re looking to mix things up. Instead of a sugary Pina Colada, bring the bartender a big bowl of fruit from the lunch buffet. Have him blend that with ice, a dash of sugar water and some vodka for a refreshing, not sugary, poolside drink!

Dining 

Dinner tends to be on the fancy side, so plan on packing some nicer clothes for the evening meals. Most dinner restaurants at all-inclusive resorts require “resort casual” or “resort elegant” dress. This ususally means a nice dress for ladies and button-down or polo shirt for men. If “resort elegant” is required, men should consider packing a lightweight jacket.
In general, however, pack light! You’ll be able to iron clothes in the room, and laundry is available if you need (extra charge).

Important Note for Mexico

When you go through customs you’ll get a sheet of paper – kind of a receipt from one of the documents you competed on the flight. Put this in your passport and DON’T LOSE IT. You’ll need to give this to the airline when you leave the country and they will charge you money if you don’t have it.
Finally – with regards to money – you won’t need much. If you choose to tip, tipping in USD is perfect. It’s also easy to get cash from an ATM if you would prefer to tip in Pesos.
If you have any questions about packing for an all inclusive resort vacation please don’t hesitate to reach out – happy to offer advice!
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