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Are all-inclusive honeymoons worth the cost?

Image Gallery: Honeymoon Destinations "Darling, I'm so glad we splurged on this all-inclusive honeymoon." See pictures of honeymoon destinations.
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If you've found the love of your life and are looking for an affordable, hassle-free way to celebrate your nuptials, you may want to consider an all-inclusive honeymoon. Of course, a honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, and anything with "all-inclusive" in the title usually has some caveats. Before you buy, you need to make sure you're paying for the getaway and the options that are right for you two.

All-inclusive honeymoons are exactly what they sound like: pre-paid package vacations that include everything you'll need during your stay. You'll save both money and peace of mind by avoiding countless hours of stressful planning and budgeting. However, every package is different, and regardless of how much you paid or where you're going, there will still be additional expenses that you'll incur during your stay, such as gratuity and souvenirs. Also, the overall value of the vacation is dependent on what you pay and where you go, as well as your interests, attitude and expectations.

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Here's a list of options that every all-inclusive honeymoon should include to help get you started:

  • airfare
  • food
  • drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic)
  • lodging
  • rental car (if needed)
  • selected activities and extras

Let's talk details on the next page.

All you have to do is perform a quick Internet search for "all-inclusive honeymoon," and you'll be inundated with Web sites offering various rates and options for anywhere from Texas to Timbuktu. Save yourself some time by deciding on a general destination (beach, mountains, big city) before getting into the particulars of your stay. All-inclusive honeymoons are designed to be hassle-free, but it's easy to get overwhelmed just choosing your options -- it's best to have a general idea of what you're looking for before you start shopping around.

Once you know where you're going, talk to your partner and decide what options you want. If you're headed for the tropics, for example, and you both love to snorkel but couldn't care less about golfing, ignore all the packages that include access to various golf resorts. You also want to be careful about trying to do too much. Each option you add to your itinerary will cost you, and since a good part of your honeymoon will undoubtedly take place behind closed doors, it's easy to overpay for activities that sound great but you'll probably never use. In other words, save the deep-sea fishing trip and the parasailing for your next vacation. Use the extra funds to upgrade your regular room to a honeymoon suite or even a private beach house, instead.

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Speaking of options and accommodations, before you pay for anything, make sure you know exactly where you'll be staying. Some all-inclusive packages pack honeymooners in with regular guests on high-traffic hallways, and nothing can ruin the moment like a bunch of kids screaming or running down the hall. Also, you shouldn't assume that every destination has a happening nightlife, so if you two are more night owls than early birds, make sure you're vacationing somewhere where there's something to do after 9 p.m.

If you find a good deal with all the options you're looking for (and will use), all-inclusive honeymoons can be a real bargain -- especially for those on a budget. Cruise-ship packages start as low as a few hundred dollars per person, and it's easy and affordable to add additional nights to your stay. You can also plan trips inside the U.S. (think locations like Miami and Las Vegas) for a bargain price with great options and amenities, such as free poker chips, upgraded rooms or kayak and bike rentals.

That's not to say that you have to be on a limited budget to get what you pay for with an all-inclusive honeymoon. Those who have lots of zeros to throw around can easily find all-inclusive deals for upscale, exotic locations that include anything from skiing lessons to a multiday safari.

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She splashed beside you in the pool all day, and now she's joining you for dinner. Isn't it romantic?
She splashed beside you in the pool all day, and now she's joining you for dinner. Isn't it romantic?
Goodshoot/Thinkstock

If you're the type of couple who can't stand crowds, all-inclusive honeymoons may not be for you. Many of the benefits offered in most packages involve other guests, so if your prepaid meals only cover buffet-style offerings (a standard on most all-inclusive trips), you'll be forced into the company of others at least several times a day.

Also, if you're indecisive, prepaying for certain events and not others can be a waste of money. Prepaid skiing lessons are great if you plan to spend your honeymoon on the slopes, but it'll be a needless expense should you decide to forgo the cold and take a helicopter tour instead.

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Basically, it all comes down to you. All-inclusive honeymoons can be a great value, regardless of the size of your budget, as long as you understand that you're going to have to periodically intermingle with other guests and stick to the prepaid events. Autonomous honeymoon seekers and indecisive tourists, on the other hand, should just book a room and improvise.

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Sources

  • All Inclusive Honeymoon. 2010. (Sept. 25, 2010).http://www.allinclusivehoneymoon.net/
  • Low Cost Honeymoons. 2010. (Sept. 23, 2010).http://www.lowcosthoneymoons.net/
  • Honeymoon All Inclusives. 2009. (Sept. 23, 2010).http://www.honeymoonallinclusives.com/

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