Mike and I were extremely overwhelmed with options when we decided it was time to start researching and booking our very first Mexican all-inclusive resort vacation—there are literally pages upon pages of Google results for resorts which all looked and seemed incredible, and even when I asked for recommendations on my social media—we received endless tips and suggestions from readers/followers which was wonderful, but only made the decision even harder!
We had never booked with a travel agent before but decided for this Mexico all-inclusive trip, given just how many options there were and how undecided we were, that we would team up with AMA Travel to experience what booking through an agent is like, and share that experience to help you if you’re planning a trip to Mexico too!
Note: this blog post is sponsored by AMA Travel to highlight what it’s like to book with their travel agents.
Our trip to Mexico was not sponsored.
Did you know: AMA Travel has over 200+ passionate, experienced and knowledgable travel agent experts specializing in everything from European trips to Disney getaways, cruises and of course—all-inclusive Mexican vacations! If they specialize in a particular type of vacation, that means they’ve done the trip(s) themselves numerous times, and not only offer you their professional experience working day to day with airlines, hotels and tour operators, but also their own personal, lived experience having done a similar vacation themselves in the past.
We worked with AMA Travel agent Stephanie Palmer to book our all-inclusive Mexican vacation.
Stephanie has travelled to Mexico herself a dozen times and knows a ton about the country and its all-inclusive options. We met in person to discuss once, then communicated numerous times by email following the in-person meeting. It was all extremely convenient.
Below, I’m sharing what we enjoyed most about working with Stephanie and AMA Travel to book our Mexico trip!
4 Reasons To Book Your Mexican All-Inclusive with an AMA Travel Agent
1. An agent can help narrow down your long list of resorts!
I literally had about 20 resorts on my “short list” after doing initial research for our Mexico all-inclusive. When you start researching, it feels like every resort is a 4+ star, and everyone’s Google reviews start to really blend together “great food, great service, great pool, great resort, felt safe” but which one is right for YOU?
Stephanie and AMA Travel helped Mike and I narrow our long resort list down a fair bit, starting with budget and location. We were undecided on if we should be going to Puerto Vallarta or Cancun, two very popular Mexican destinations. Stephanie helped us choose Cancun (one of the factors was that Cancun resorts are typically larger than Puerto Vallarta resorts, so knowing that I wanted to ensure I’d have a lot of opportunities for Instagrammable photos from our vacation, Cancun lends itself better to that without fighting crowds! lol).
From there, Stephanie helped us shortlist just a few Cancun resorts, based on factors like overall resort vibe, expected busyness (important for securing a good spot at the pool or beach, and said Instagrammable busyness), even the difference that nicer resort furniture can have on your experience and overall impression of the resort, something we never would have thought of.
She also made us aware of resorts where restaurant reservations aren’t required! If you are just browsing resorts, you’ll find lots of great-sounding restaurants on resort websites but (especially for people who have never been) you’re not necessarily seeking out information about whether the restaurants require reservations. We wanted to ensure the resort we chose did not have reservations required because we knew we’d want to eat a lot and didn’t want to have our schedule dictated by when we could get a reservation at the resort restaurants!
The other big criteria for us was that our room include its own private pool. We had never had this before but in my initial research I kept seeing incredible photos of swim-out pools straight from your room and when I mentioned it to Mike, it was immediately something we knew we wanted to experience for this vacation. Stephanie helped us find resorts that hit all of our preferences, while making recommendations based on her previous resort experience, and generally within our budget. We went in with a lower budget but said we were open to going up to a certain budget and she gave us a range of options that satisfied the lower and higher ends of our budget. She could also tell us—based on her every day experience seeing these vacation prices fluctuate and at different times of year—whether we were getting a good deal or not.
So you know: we ended up paying $4,119 CAD (or $2,060 CAD per person) for our 5-day Mexican all-inclusive vacation, including flights and resort/hotel (unlimited food and drinks) experience.
We could have booked for as low as $3,000 CAD total for two people but we really wanted that more premium experience (including private pool). $1,500 CAD per person was initially what we started our budget at and there was no shortage of 4+ star resort options for that range! My social media followers who have also done resorts also said $1,500 CAD per person for 5 days was a very great price, and when we were actually at the resort, a few of the workers ended up saying we got a great deal too (I mean, I don’t know if they would have told us we got a crappy deal lol).
Ultimately, we really liked having someone to make very decisive recommendations for us, and she stresses the difference between your friends recommending resorts to you versus an agent—an agent will always recommend based on what YOU want and what you’ve told the agent you like. A friend (typically) will recommend based on what THEY like, assuming you will like it too.
With Stephanie’s help we ended up choosing Dreams Riviera Cancun, an amazing resort which I’ll be blogging separately about—so stay tuned for those posts!
2. If you book with an AMA Travel agent, you can pay for your trip in instalments!
This was a great travel agent booking perk. If you’re booking on your own, you need to pay the entirety of the trip upfront. If you book through an AMA Travel agent, you get the option to place a deposit on the trip (really for any amount you want) in order to secure the flight and resort rates, and then you can choose to pay the rest of the balance in as many instalments as you want!
We put our deposit down in August (for a December trip) and made a final payment in October. It was really convenient. Stephanie says she has had clients who end up paying in weekly or bi-weekly instalments (a little bit with each pay check) so it doesn’t feel like too much of a financial hit all at once.
Note: booking through an agent does cost a small fee. It’s $52 per person if you’re an AMA member, or $104 total for a family (2 adults and however many kids in the same household), or $75 for non-members (slightly more expensive for international trips). This booking fee is what gives you the ability to meet, call, or email any number of times with your agent.
3. With an agent, you’ll get unlimited, expert advice!
While we were able to narrow down and select a resort after our first face-to-face meeting and one email exchange, others like to meet with their AMA Travel agent several times before they decide what to book. And that’s totally okay. Your one-time booking fee essentially gets you unlimited advice / consultations.
Following our booking, I was able to get advice from Stephanie about excursions, safety, currency exchange and money for tipping, and more, through various emails back and forth. I prefer email, but agents would also be able to help you over the phone or in person as many times as you need.
4. You’ll also have peace of mind—no stress in advance of the trip and help if things go sideways.
AMA Travel agents really do everything for you. This trip felt weird to me at first because the night before we flew out, I realized I hadn’t checked in, I hadn’t looked into transportation from airport to resort. I felt like I hadn’t done what I usually do ahead of a big trip. And I hadn’t! Because Stephanie had done it all for me.
We knew we wouldn’t be taxi-scammed at the airport (it’s happened to us more times than I’d like to admit lol). We had a good sense of how safe certain areas would be based on Stephanie’s knowledge and experience (for this trip we honestly stayed on the resort every day but one, and felt unbelievably safe so no worries there, though I had been contemplating going our own travel outside the resort and Stephanie had made recommendations on where might be safer to do that—Playa Del Carmen instead of Cancun, for instance, unless we went with a WestJet excursion guide).
AMA Travel agents are also there to help you in the event of a travel emergency. Our flight wasn’t cancelled due to bad weather (snow/ice) though we were delayed an hour. I had emailed Stephanie to mention that happened and she let me know that another client on a different flight did have their flight cancelled due to that snow and ice! Oh no, I had exclaimed. What did you do to help them?
If things are going sideways at the airport, the agent is on the phone and computer sorting out alternatives. If changes or cancellations happen before you get tot he airport then the travel agent is notified by the airline, and are getting a back-up plan in place before you even know something has gone wrong.
For those specific client whose flights got cancelled on the same day we flew out, Stephanie was able to book them on the next available flight, no stress or work involved on their end, and they were still able to get to their destination / start their vacation that day!
So those are just a few reasons why you should book your vacation to Mexico, and other perhaps more complicated or bigger trips with an AMA Travel agent!
I’m a pretty good planner, and I enjoy planning, so I wouldn’t necessarily do an agent for all of our vacations, but for something like this Mexico trip, which before getting there, was a big question mark and fairly overwhelming in terms of the sheer number of options you could select, opting to get help from an AMA Travel agent was really the best decision and I’m so glad we did it!
I could also see an agent being helpful for bigger group trips, and specific trips like, if you wanted to experience a lot of Europe in a certain amount of time, having someone support with planning out multiple flights, trains, hotels, excursions, sightseeing, etc., would be really helpful.
Thank you to Stephanie for being such a fantastic travel agent to work with!
Even if you don’t end up using an agent’s services, you can always do your trip browsing and online booking on your own through AMA Travel’s website. Depending on time of year, your booking can also enter you into amazing vacation giveaways from AMA Travel too!
Each agent also has their own unique link for browsing and booking vacation, flights, hotel and excursions (here’s Stephanie’s!). It’s nice to know you’re supporting a local agent and company by booking through their website!
Thanks AMA Travel for partnering with me on this blog post! I hope it helps you plan your trip!
- Learn more about AMA Travel agents
- Learn more about AMA Travel
- Learn more about Stephanie—my travel agent!
- Read AMA’s blog: why should you use an AMA Travel Agent
And stay tuned for my Dreams Riviera Cancun resort / Mexico-specific blog pots! I’ll be writing about things to eat, Instagrammable spots, our excursion at Xenses Park and things to know about the resort before you go! I’ll update this post and link to those posts as they become available!
Thanks for reading and have fun planning your next vacation!!
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Disclaimer: I booked our Dec 2019 Mexico trip using an AMA Travel agent. This blog post and my experience booking through an AMA Travel agent was sponsored by AMA Travel . My trip to Mexico was not sponsored. From all-inclusive vacation packages, cruises, tours, flights, hotels and more, AMA Travel will help you get the best deal for your next vacation. Visit AMATravel.ca to start planning your next travel adventure! This sponsorship does does not impact opinions stated in this post. We found lots of great benefits working with our AMA Travel agent Stephanie, and she really helped us narrow down such a long list of resorts!