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Are all-inclusive vacations worth the money?

Wednesday - 4/23/2014, 9:10am  ET

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Are all-inclusive vacations a good deal? (AP)

When to tip on an all-inclusive trip

Editor of the Encore blog at MarketWatch.com, Matt Heimer discusses all-inclusive vacations.

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WASHINGTON -- All-inclusive vacations may render images of plentiful buffets, top-shelf drinks and perks galore, but hits to the travel industry may have impacted the definition of "all inclusive."

Editor of the Encore blog at MarketWatch.com, Matt Heimer says the word "all" in "all inclusive" should have an asterisk by it. Vacationers used to the notion of paying one lump sum of money for all the foods, drinks and a room may be disappointed as more destinations charge for options.

For example, a nicer entrée, spa treatment or equipment use will cost people more than the "all inclusive" cost, Heimer says. It's partly because the travel industry has endured economic struggles, he adds.

"For vacationers who got used to the one-price-fits-all model, it's kind of frustrating," he says.

While travelers are used to paying for upgrades, he says many feel misled when they purchase the all-inclusive option and don't realize fees are added on until after they've committed to the trip.

"It's all you can drink as long as all you want to drink is iced tea," Heimer says, quoting colleague Kaitlyn Wells.

So, is an all-inclusive trip a good deal? Heimer says it depends on how you want to vacation.

"It's a good deal if you really don't want to plan," he says.

"I'd say if you're going to country where you don't speak the language, you don't want to put the effort into having to pick the restaurants and find the excursions outside the resort, they it's probably still worth it for you."

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