The sun on your skin, endless food and drinks, and a plethora of activities. Here's the zinger, it's all-inclusive! The first thing we're all searching for is a good deal, but is a great deal what you want or a great experience? If you've never been down this territory of trip planning here are a few things you may not consider, but seriously should or it could spell disaster in big bold letters for your trip. Which could mean your hard earned dollars gone to waste.

1- Distance! Something so subtle it’s often over looked. Think about it, how far is the resort from the airport? If your transfer to the resort exceeds 15 - 20 minutes following a 4-7 hour flight (while potentially have been sitting next to a crying baby or the loving mother of an adorable crying baby) your first thoughts will be "Get me to my room NOW!"

2- Check in time! How is the check in process upon arrival? Is it simple? Is there a line? Were you vigorously greeted with a welcoming hello? What about a cool wet towel and a fresh drink to give you that feeling of rejuvenation when visiting places with sweltering temperatures?

3- Spaciousness! How vast is the resort? Is the walk across the resort extensive and meaningless? Is the walk scenic? How far is your room from the beach? A beach front room can be breathtaking.

4- Let’s touch on Lingo! What is the language spoken at the resort? What is the percentage of staff that speak your language? When ordering drinks, your dinner, or room service are you understood in order to ensure superb customer service?

5- Attention to detail! When visiting any Caribbean Island you will find seaweed. What is the focus level and urgency of resort management to have an efficient team to keep the property immaculate? The yucky clumps of seaweed can really disrupt your beach day.

6- Excursions! Is there an amplitude of activities included in the cost you paid? Or is there an up charge?

7- Pull up a lounge chair! How close in proximity is the next person? Are they a foot? 2 feet? 4 feet? 10 feet? 20 feet?

8- Hungry? If you have kids is there a good buffet option available to you and the family all the time? Is there a great selection of sit-in restaurants to choose from?

9- Are you comfortable? When walking through the resort, is there music blaring when you want tranquility? Is there peace and quite when you want a little beat?

10- Let talk decor! Are the colors vivacious and colorful? Is it pure white? The color accent of the resort and room can really affect the mood of your stay.

11- How friendly are the staff? Are they simply saying “hi and welcome”? Do they make it their very business to stop what they are doing to speak with you? Do they exert themselves to accompany you at dinner? Do they provide advice on how to maximize your stay on property?

12- Attentiveness! How often is there someone bringing drinks down the beach to quench the thirst you didn't realize you had?

13- Exclusivity! Is the resort adults only, or does it have an adults only section? Pool, beach bar, restaurant?

14- Talking to my parents! How family oriented is the resort? Do they have great kids programs included in the cost? Will your kids learn something new on this trip? Will you learn a new skill on this trip?

Moral of the story is, you get what you pay for! If you go bottom line price, you may suffer bottom line experience and service. If you pay top of the line, you may get amazing accommodation but poor service or bad vibes from the overall experience. Knowing exactly what you want and what each resort brand stands for, and provides can either make it a blast of a trip or a drag of a trip.

-Adil Ismaaeel

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