Your all-inclusive resort vacation has been booked and soon you will be packing for a much deserved getaway. Here are a few tips to make sure that you get the most out of your upcoming vacation.

Pack a swimsuit and sunscreen in your carry on

Most resorts have check in times starting at 3pm or later. If your flight arrives early in the day and you aren’t able to check in to your room right away, you’ll be ready to hit the beach and pool without feeling like you’ve wasted the first day of your vacation. You can also pack clothes for the plane in your carry-on so that you can take full advantage of your last day at the resort before leaving if you have a late afternoon/evening flight back home (don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag to pack your wet swimsuit in).

Take advantage of your resorts amenities and activities

Sign up to attend the resort orientation to find out everything that your resort has to offer. Ask for a copy of the weekly activities schedule to plan out your week and fit in as little or as much as you want to do. Some resort activities are offered at no cost (i.e. yoga on the beach) or offered at a small charge (i.e. motorized water sports). If you are traveling with kids, take advantage of the resort kids club (most of the time this is offered for free for kids 4 – 12 years old) and use that time when the kids are having a blast to take an afternoon nap at the beach or treat yourself at the resort spa.

Bring your own travel mug

All-inclusive resort pros already do this. Bring a hot/cold travel mug with you and fill it up in the morning with water from the fridge in your room or hot coffee/tea from the breakfast restaurant before you hit the beach or pool. This saves time from having to wait in line at the bar for water throughout the day and will keep your beverages at the perfect temperature for longer.

Book specialty restaurants in advance

Eating at the buffet every night can be easy and convenient but it’s nice to sit down to a plated meal service every once in a while. Take advantage of the a la carte restaurants at your resort. Book reservations before you arrive if you can and if that’s not possible, book reservations the day that you arrive at the resort – dinner reservation times will book up fast for the most popular restaurants. And don’t forget to check if any of the restaurants have a dress code before you pack your suitcase.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need

I’m not talking about booking a garden view room and then asking for a free upgrade to an over the water bungalow when you arrive at the resort. Request a ground level room if you have mobility issues so that you don’t need a second vacation after coming home from this vacation because you are worn out from struggling to walk up and down the stairs every day. If traveling with an infant, ask for a pack and play in the room for better sleeping arrangements or request a highchair at the breakfast table to make meal times easier. A few simple requests can go a long way to making for a more enjoyable vacation.

BonnieBonnie Gundert, CTC, is a TICO Certified Travel Consultant and Owner of Great Adventures Travel. She lives and works in beautiful Oro-Medonte and has been in the travel business for years, specializing in group travel, custom travel itineraries, women’s travel and family travel. For more information, call Bonnie at (705) 252-8012 or email Bonnie at