All Inclusive News & Events

Vacation Plans Explained: All Inclusive vs. European Plan and Beyond

Making the best-laid plans for that dream vacation takes a bit of organization, time, and knowledge. However, with the right travel agent, you can tap into an expert on the topic. Understanding what options are available with your vacation will help you be prepared budget-wise and will ensure there are no unexpected surprises. One aspect that causes confusion among travelers is what the different types of plans are. For instance, just what is the difference between all inclusive versus the European Plan vs. other plans.


When looking at your options for accommodations, you might see the phrase European Plan, or EP for short. This plan usually refers to accommodations only. European Plans do not include meals or drinks, therefore, if you choose this option, you will need to budget in for food, drinks, taxes, and tips. If the resort you are looking at offers the European Plan and you are not a big spender on food and drinks, then this might be an option. But keep in mind that even if you choose the European Plan to save some money, things could easily go beyond your anticipated food costs once you are at your destination. For this reason, many people will go with the All Inclusive packages.

All Inclusive includes accommodations (and usually the hotel taxes), tips, meals, drinks (including alcoholic drinks), and sometimes snack options, along with a variety of activities and nightly entertainment. Most of the time transfers from the airport to the resort are included with trips booked through If transfers are not included when booking through, then this will be marked in red on the price quote. Regardless of whether you have a transfer included, you may want to budget in for tips for the transfer driver, or taxi/shuttle driver if you have had to grab one from the airport, along with airport luggage handlers. These tips are not included in the all inclusive package since you are not on-site at the resort yet.

By choosing All Inclusive, a wide range of dining options opens up to the traveler, thus allowing you to be more adventurous at meal times. This option comes highly recommended if you don’t want to think about what menu items you can order each day to stay within a set budget.

Most resorts available at do not have any menu restrictions, although if you want to order from a premium alcohol list, this might be extra. Dining options usually include a choice between eating buffet-style vs. a la carte. At some all inclusive resorts, a la carte might only be an option for a certain number of meals during your stay, and others will allow you a choice between a la carte and buffet for any meal.

Only a handful of resorts might exclude a particular restaurant from an all inclusive package. If you find one of these, the restaurant is still an option, but your meal will be extra.

One of the greatest things about choosing an all inclusive package is that you don’t have to sign for anything. You can just show up to a restaurant or bar, enjoy yourself, and leave when you are finished. If you are at a resort that offers both European plans and all inclusive plans, then you most likely will be given a wristband if you chose the all inclusive option.

In addition to meals, a range of activities will be included with an All Inclusive Package. Some resorts offer such a wide range of activities, it would be impossible to do them all during a standard week-long vacation. Each resort varies on what is included. Therefore it’s best to double-check what activities might not be covered, such as is normally the case with spa packages. That way you are ready to pay any additional fees.

Other Options
While most resorts sold through offer All Inclusive, some resorts will give more options.

The American Plan (AP) offers three meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—typically in the hotel restaurant. It can also be referred to as Full Board or Full Pension. The American Plan is a good option if you are staying in a remote location with only one dining option, and can give more bang for the buck than a hotel that does not offer any meal plan.

The Modified American Plan (MAP) will again be offered in a hotel dining room, and will typically feature breakfast and either lunch or dinner. The cost for the third meal is up to you. This can also be referred to as Half Board or Half Pension.

The Breakfast Plan (BP) generally refers to a full, hot breakfast. In comparison, a Continental Plan (CP) indicates that a Continental breakfast is provided. A Continental breakfast usually involves coffee, milk, tea, or hot chocolate with a variety of pastries, cereals, yogurt, or cold, sliced meats as options. This type of breakfast is typically a self-serve situation, however if a waiter does serve any food or pour beverages, then it is recommended that you leave a tip.

So whether you are trying to book your own vacation or use a travel agent, knowing the various options can help you make an informed decision on what is best for your travel needs. If you have any questions about what a specific resort package covers not answered on’s website, please contact an agent at 888-403-2822 (toll free) or email