All Inclusive – Do You Get Your Money’s Worth?
March 20, 2020
Many resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and other beach destinations tend to require that you purchase all-inclusive packages that cover all of your meals and drinks for the entirety of your stay. While there are plenty of reasons that all-inclusive resorts are nice, we tend to think that it really favors the resort more than the people who stay there. A lot of it depends on your vacation style and whether the resort offers all of the variety that you are looking for.
Generally speaking, we prefer not to do all-inclusive plans for several reasons:
- We like to eat where the locals eat and not just sit at the resort all day and all night, so we feel like we’re throwing money away if we leave the resort to enjoy a local restaurant.
- We’re not big eaters. Under normal circumstances, we’ll split meals or even just share appetizers rather than sitting down and eating an entire meal to ourselves. That means that giant buffets or full course dinners are overkill for what we’ll end up eating.
- It’s just the two of us so even if though we don’t track everything that we’re spending on a trip, we have a budget and pay attention to the prices that we’re paying for meals.
- You feel the pressure to get your money’s worth, so you end up eating and drinking more than you should or would normally do. The last thing you want to do while you’re sitting at the beach is to put on a few pounds.
- The only activities included in the ones that we have seen are non-motorized activities, which generally aren’t expensive anyway. We tend to find the more interesting things that we want to do are not part of the all-inclusive package that the resort offers.
With all that said, we’ve done all-inclusive plans a couple of times. When we went to the Dominican Republic, we didn’t have a choice, all of the resorts that we looked at were all-inclusive. On the flip side, there really weren’t any local restaurants near the resort at Punta Cana, so staying at the resort was perfectly fine. The other thing that is nice about the all-inclusive plans is the alcohol. When we’re on vacation and don’t have to drive anyplace, we’re going to have a good time and part of that is having a few drinks, so not having to worry about that expense is kind of nice. Again, though, we don’t want to over-drink, so it is a balancing act of not feeling like you have to have one more because “you’ve already paid for it”. The other time we did the all-inclusive was actually the last time we went to Cabo a few years ago. We did three days of all-inclusive and four days on our own. That allowed us to go to the theme nights, eat and drink at the resort for a few days and then let us hit the restaurants on the beach and in town for the rest of the trip.
Regardless of what you think of all-inclusive resorts, chances are you’ll end up staying at one during one of your trips. If you have to stay at an all-inclusive resort, try to take advantage of the amenities without overindulging unnecessarily. The prices of all-inclusive resorts tend to be fairly expensive, but don’t assume that you won’t have other expenses or want to do things outside of the resort, so be sure to plan your budget accordingly.