Why all-inclusives are great for families–and how to win one

An all-inclusive vacation-one that rolls the cost of the room, food, airfare and sometimes even drinks into one price at a resort–is a travel concept that makes real travelers scoff. But it is a travel concept parents ought to love. Especially parents of kids who are picky eaters.

As a veteran traveler, I was one of those people who would scoff at the very idea of taking an all-inclusive vacation. Why would I travel to some exotic locale–Jamaica, for example–and then never step foot off the grounds of some high-end resort?

Now that I’m a parent, I know why: Because it means parents can have a vacation too. Here’s why:

1. There is far less planning involved. If you never leave the property, there’s little need to research beyond choosing which resort you like best and which dates you want to travel.

2. If your kid is a picky eater, those buffet lines are the answer. The first time I visited an all-inclusive resort, the Beaches in the Turks and Caicos, I took my then-9-year-old son, a notoriously picky eater. Our travels were often consumed with discussions of what he would order at a restaurant and then fighting to get him to eat what he had ordered. That didn’t happen at Beaches. I encouraged him to take a spoonful of anything that looked good. Then he could taste each thing and go back to the all-you-eat buffet line and fill up on the few things he liked. Sometimes that meant he only ate fruit. But at least he ate something. And I didn’t have to pay for a second dinner just to be sure he would eat something.

3. It’s nice to know how much the vacation will cost ahead of time and not watch pennies the entire time you’re gone. With the one-price-covers-most-things approach of an all-inclusive, it’s pretty easy to know going in how much it will cost you when it’s over.

If you’d like to try an all-inclusive vacation, head over to TravelingMom.com, where we’re giving away an all-inclusive family vacation to the Azul Beach Resort in Riviera Maya Mexico for a family of four, including airfare. There are lots of ways to enter and several smaller prizes, but you’ll need to join us at 8 pm CST April 18 for the TMOM Monday Twitter party to be eligible to win the grand prize.

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