Onestop Getaway

Make your pay-orie-price escape a success

It seems like the impossible dream: a. vacation that will be a blast for the kids, let you relax a little, doesn't require much planning, and won't leave you with that sinking 'tliis cost more than I thought it would" feeling on the last day. But look no further than an all-inclusive resort, where you pay a set amount that includes (at least) accommodations, meals, and many activities. Forget the mediocre buffets and watery drinks of your college spring break. All-inclusives have really stepped it up in flic last decade, becoming many a family's first choice for ablisscd-out vacay. There's minimal budgeting involved once you arrive, and the activities are designed to keep children happy from breakfast to dinner All-inclusives are many a family's (and sometimes be- fjrsf choice for vacay bliss.

yond). Even if you were a wing-it kind of vacationer p re-kids, putting the details on autopilot is well worth a try now. Many moms swear it's the way to go.

4 Trip Tips

Read the fine print.

Before you book, take a close look at which activities are part of the package (parasailing, waterskiing, and excursions often aren't) and whether tips and beverages (including the alcoholic kind) are extra. We've all heard "I'm staarrving!" at 10 P.M. "We always stay at resorts where food and drinks are available almost 24/7, which is nice because you don't have to think too much," says Leah Schertz of Wisconsin Rapids, Wl, If you're going to Florida or the Caribbean from June through November, check for a "hurricane guarantee," a resort policy that protects your deposit if you cancel due to a storm. Know the terms: Some kick in only if the flight is canceled,

The larger inclusive chains, like Beaches and Club Med, have ramped up the offerings for the youngest kids lately: You II find baby food on the buffet line and a nanny who'll come to your room, "When my kids were younger, they were crazy for the kid clubs, but now they prefer to do their own thing," says Danielle Schochet, a mom of four in Woodmere, NY, whose favorite all-inclusive is Occidental Allegro Play-acar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Look for after-dinner hangouts, like game rooms, to keep tweens happy. Often they're supervised; ask.

%/ Research airfare.

Though the airfare may be cheaper bundled in a package, you may have to transfer several times and could get whacked with penalties if you make a change. Consider paying a bit more to book it yourself. Check Yapta.com or Orbitz.com; both make It easy to track fares.

Always sit at the same table at dinner and you'll probably get the same waiter. Befriend hin or her. Why? Families tend to eat at the same time (early), so waiters will have lots of kids besides yours who need extra napkins. The result: a more enjoyable meal for everybody. Same goes for counselors. If your daughter clicked with the crafts leader, ask when she'll be working during your stay and plan accordingly. That counselor will quickly become your kid's special vacation buddy. She'll be racing to get to the kids' club each afternoon.

Spending the day with ^^ the family at the lake.

Spending the day waiting for a jump from the tow truck.

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