What Do All These Meal Plans Mean?

All-Inclusive (AI)

You pay for all your food and beverage before you even leave home. That includes alcohol, taxes, and even the tip. Many of these resorts have multiple restaurants and bars, so you have a large number of dining options. Being hungry is a simple problem to solve.

Non-motorized water sports are generally also included in AI. Most resorts offer free nightly entertainment. Travelers looking to relax, not worrying about the little things, and stick around the resort for the majority of the trip may be interested in the all-inclusive option. It’s the full-service vacation.

European Plan (EP)

All food provided by the hotel is at an additional cost. Tips are the guest’s responsibility. If you’re planning on venturing out beyond the resort, then this might be your best option. The European plan is more for the adventurous type who wants to do some exploring. Since you won’t be at your resort or hotel much, it doesn’t make sense to pay for meals you won’t be eating.

An EP vacation tends be more intimate than at an AI resort since they are more popular with smaller properties. There’s no pressure to “get your money’s worth” like at an AI where guests feel compelled to get their money’s worth.

American Plan and Modified American Plan (MAP)

This means breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included with the price of reservation, but drinks and snacks are not included. The Modified American Plan  includes breakfast and either lunch or dinner.

Breakfast Included vs. Continental Breakfast Plan

Resorts and hotels also make a distinction between breakfast included and continental plan. The continental breakfast plan is the classic continental breakfast popular at many hotels. Breakfast is self-serve, and guests are given juice and coffee options. There are no cooked foods such as pancakes or eggs, but there are breads such as muffins, pastries, bagels, or scones. Some continental-plan hotels have waiters. It is customary to leave a tip. No other meals are covered. Breakfast Included is similar to the continental breakfast plan in that breakfast is the only meal covered by the cost of the reservation. However, breakfasts are a little more involved with cooked foods on the menu. Breakfasts can be buffet or a la carte, and are generally staffed with waiters who should be tipped.