Stories by CheapCaribbean

All-Inclusive vs. European Plan: What’s the Difference?

August 11, 2019 0 Comments

Okay, it’s official, you’re going to the beach! Next step: choose your resort. It’s not hard to figure out that resort options in the Caribbean feel endless, so we’re here to help with one crucial step of the process, figuring out the difference between an all-inclusive and a European plan.

Pool at Secrets Los Cabos Resort

Secrets, Los Cabos (Photo by: @technicallyrite)

Food & Drink

First and foremost, one of the biggest differences between the two is the food and drink situation. All-inclusive resorts include all food and drinks (yes, you read that right) for one price. Forget having to worry about the tab you ran up at the beach bar all day! Typically, room service and minibars are also included in these packages. While there may be options to pay an additional cost for premium alcohol or a la carte food, depending on the resort, you can basically have all the food and drink your sweet lil’ heart desires.

Room service breakfast in bed at Secrets Akumal Resort

Room service, Secrets Akumal (Photo by: @casa_de_mijares)

European plans differ from all-inclusive in that food and drink aren’t incorporated into the price, so any meal or beverage bought on the property will come out of your pocket. If you are more adventurous and want to venture out to local eateries, then this option might fit your needs! Beware though, food costs along with any transportation outside of resorts can add up quickly.

Margarita by the poolside at Secrets The Vine resort

Margaritas by the pool? Uh, yes please! (Photo by: @janelleconway)


When most people think of vacation, they think stress free, which is exactly what all-inclusives offer. Once you get to your resort, the only decision left to make is which restaurants to dine in–which, in some cases, can even be planned out before you even get there! Another positive to this is not having to worry about food/drink quality or cost adding up.

Bali beds at the pool of Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel in Riviera Maya

Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel, Riviera Maya (Photo by: @pica19)

If you are someone who delights in searching for the most authentic cuisine and mapping out the different restaurants you want to go to, then maybe stick to the European plan! You are free to be adventurous with your taste buds, but we recommend doing some research and planning before you get to your resort. The Caribbean is filled with delicious local food options; it just might take extra planning on your part to find them.

Snorkel gear by the beach

Snorkel and swim on repeat! (Photo by: @scrappelittcom)


Another way all-inclusive earns its name is by the inclusion of non-motorized water sports in the price paid upfront–something which is not offered by European plans. If you are looking for fun activities around your resort, staying at an all-inclusive gives you the option to try your luck at windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling and more; some resorts even include motorized water sports, like jet skiing! These activities provide another exciting adventure to embark on during your vacay!

Paddle boarding in the ocean in Cancun

Hello beautiful! (Photo by: @hollywood_rozayy)

Now that we have the differences between resorts cleared up, it’s time to book! See when the best times are to plan your next vacay and check out some of the amazing deals offered all the way from Cancun to Turks & Caicos!

Haley Hogan

All I really need in this life is the beach and a little bit of ice cream.




Limited time and availability. To be eligible for this promotion you must 1) be an approved ER&R Club member by 11:59 p.m. CST on November 4, 2019 2) be within the first 25 ER&R Club members to sign up for the promotion 3) make a double or single occupancy booking for 5 or more nights. Bookings must be made and payment must be collected through a designated CheapCaribbean agent between November 11-20, 2019. Travel must be completed between January,1 and June 30, 2020. Blackout dates include but are not limited to April 3-19 and May 20-27, 2020.


Flight accommodations will be booked in economy class or lower on United Airlines. Flight requests will be taken into account but are not guaranteed. In areas that are serviced by more than one airport (for example New York, Chicago, San Francisco), clients are expected to use the airport that provides the lowest fare available.


CheapCaribbean’s travel protection and cancellation policies for the hotel portion of the booking will apply. Travel protection will only be valid on the hotel-portion of the booking. Cancellation or a rebooking of your hotel stay outside of the allowed travel period will result in forfeiture of the free flight(s). Any changes to flights will be subject to the airline’s policies.


Offer not valid on previous bookings. Offer may not be combined with other special offers, discounts or promotions (including promotional codes). This promotion is not available to employees, or family members of employees, of CheapCaribbean or affiliated companies of the Apple Leisure Group.