Book It!

How you can enjoy an all-inclusive luxury resort experience on a shoestring

By: Kim Bridger

Imagine yourself on a Caribbean island with a fruity drink in your hand and your toes in the sand. The only thing between you and the turquoise water is a palm tree that is in no way an obstacle. Add to the picture an endless swimming pool full of swim-up bars and a float with your name on it. It’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing until you think of what a trip like that would cost.

If you are bombarded on social media with special deals to all-inclusive resorts, you know that the pictures make it tough to look away. It goes something like this: $499 for five nights at all-inclusive luxury resort in Cabo San Lucas. We can all imagine, even if only for a minute, what it would be like to click the “book now” button. After all, the average price for two at these island all-inclusives is about $500 per night.

These deals are often promoted by companies that are selling much more than a five-night stay in Cabo, Cancun or Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. They are targeting people who can afford vacations and, typically, people who can also afford to purchase timeshares. If you’ve ever been exposed to a timeshare selling experience, you probably have a general idea of how they work. But this article is not about timeshares. This is not an endorsement of the companies that offer these trips. But if you’re willing to spend a little money on a luxurious resort experience and you don’t mind the fact that there are a few strings attached, you might be glad you did.

All of this is prefaced with the fact that any time you purchase a vacation experience, you do your homework first. Research the resort and the company that owns the property. Read the reviews that are posted online. Make sure that the company that is promoting the special rate is legitimate. And realize that they do have requirements for people who get approved for these deals. In most cases, they want proof that you are married and that you and your spouse live at the same address. They want to know what you do for a living, what your household income is and that you have a major credit card. They also want to screen out people who work for airlines or travel agencies who already get discount travel privileges.

When you book, you are notified that you will be required to attend a 90-minute tour of the property. They will schedule this for you after you purchase the trip. And they also tell you that if you buy the package and take the vacation, but fail to attend the tour or meet any of the other requirements, your credit card can be charged the full retail price for your stay.

While the timeshare sales folks can be high pressure, there is no obligation to buy anything. Once a reservation is made and paid for, it can be cancelled or changed until 14 days out. After that, no changes and likely no refunds are available. Each company is probably a little different on the specifics, but this is certainly a time when you would want to read and understand the fine print. Some companies include free transportation from the airport to your resort. But if you decline the timeshare, don’t count on your transportation back to the airport being covered. And then there’s airfare. In most cases, you are on your own to book and pay for your air travel.

When it comes time to book your next trip to an island or anywhere in the world, keep in mind that Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA) is close to home and easy to maneuver. While airfare from different airports can vary, CCIA is often a reasonable choice when you factor in the costs associated with driving long distances, meals on the road, hotel rooms and paying more for parking. The best way to assure more choice in the future is to use the air service that is currently available at CCIA. If you’ve ever taken one of these trips that included a great financial deal and a timeshare requirement, share your experience with us on Facebook.

To get in touch with Corpus Christi International Airport, contact Kim Bridger, marketing manager, at kimb@cctexas.com.

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