How to have fun on an all-inclusive holiday - even if you hate all-inclusives

18th Sep 17 | Lifestyle

Even if you're not a fan, don't rule them out completely!

Tropical drink in Cuba

There’s always been a certain stigma associated with all-inclusive holidays, which tends to put many people off going on them. But the truth is, they’re now a lot better than they used to be.

Plus, they offer a really good value break, especially for families. So rather than dismiss them completely, you just need to know these tips and tricks to make the most out of an all-you-can-eat escape.

Book a room with its own pool

Lots of resorts now offer swim-up rooms. So rather than having to fight over sun loungers and endure the noise and chaos of other people’s kids, you can hide away in your own little oasis, that you’ll only have to share with a handful of neighbours.

Sure, there will be times when the kids will go mad if they can’t go on the water slides or hang out at the big pool, but get some inflatables and for the vast majority of the time, they’ll be as happy as you.

Explore the surrounding areas

Before jellyfish came along and cut the beach activity short… #cyprus #ayianapa #holiday #family #beach #kids #agiatheklabeach

A post shared by Claire Richardson (also Spreadbury) (@clarabell1979) on

Rule number one of any holiday which makes you feel claustrophobic is to get yourself a hire car.

You don’t even have to drive far, but exploring a coastal road just five, 10 or 20-minutes away will bring you so much joy. Discover quiet little coves and picturesque beaches that are a world away from the spew of sunbeds back at the resort. Take towels, buckets and spades, snacks and drinks (there won’t always be amenities) and set yourself up for an afternoon of blissful family time.

Buy your own breakfast

Breakfast buffet making you want to scream? Head to the local bakery or shop and stock up on pastries – they’re all you need to get going in the morning. Or if you have a fridge, grab a variety box of cereal and some milk.

It also means you can make it out much earlier, rather than spending forever navigating every aisle of the buffet, just in case your kids missed something they desperately need to eat.

Eat out now and then

Picture of restaurants on the harbourside
Seek out pretty restaurants near the sea (Claire Spreadbury/PA)

It’s not the smartest option for those on a budget but eating outside of the resort helps the local economy, gives you an actual taste of the culture and is likely to be better than the buffet fare on offer in the hotel.

You don’t have to do it all the time, but even just a couple of evening meals or lunches will make a big difference to that Groundhog-Day feeling.

Keep yourselves busy

Went on a Daktari Troodos Jeeps Safari today. Brilliant day out…

A post shared by Claire Richardson (also Spreadbury) (@clarabell1979) on

Making plans will break up the routine. Get out and about, book into the spa, do some exercise classes, explore the beach – everything you do that isn’t part of the all-inclusive routine will help you enjoy your time away.

Ask for takeaway tubs

Lots of all-inclusive hotels will offer you a plastic tub to fill with food from the buffet – a great option if you fancy grabbing a bite and heading out somewhere. It will also stop you gorging on too much food, and eating the puddings that aren’t even very nice.

© Press Association 2017