Merely a gleam in a Frenchman's eye twenty years ago, all-inclusive resorts, as pioneered by Club Med, have become a popular family travel option. A recent survey reveals that 52% of American travelers are interested in all-inclusive offers. Why? It's the cruise-ship concept on land, allowing the traveler to relax and not worry about the details. The security of knowing that one price covers everything, with none of those nasty surprises that can blast a hole in any family's travel budget. All meals, entertainment, activities and sports, as well as airfare and accommodations, are generally included in one price.

One benefit of the all-inclusive resort is that the single up-front price covers unlimited activities. You and the kids don't have to limit your adventures due to budget restrictions, a fact that automatically reduces vacation stress and whining! Bobby doesn't have to choose between a windsurfing lesson or a jet ski rental, and Marie can go horseback riding and scuba diving. Mom and Dad are free to do nothing but lounge by the pool, if that's your preference! At an all-inclusive resort, everybody can do it all. For most families, one week is about the perfect length of stay.

On the down side of all-inclusives, some folks get a bit weary of dining in the same restaurant night after night, though most resorts are imaginative with theme nights and special meals to vary the fare. When packing for an all-inclusive stay, it pays to know what theme nights are planned so you can pack your jeans for Western Night! Since rooms may be smaller than standard hotel rooms, you'll want to pack on the light side. And remember that you don't need to haul a lot of gear--it's all provided.

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