Picture it:  You pull up through the front gates of a posh, luxurious all-inclusive resort and are soon presented with a cold, rose scented towel and champagne before being whisked away in the direction of your room.  The main areas, landscaping, pools, bars, even the hallways are pristine and opulent.  Your room is divine; the finest linens, Jacuzzi tub, balcony overlooking the ocean, stocked mini-bar, everything your heart could desire is at your finger tips for the next week.  It is the stuff of vacation dreams!  And, I’ve sworn off staying at another all-inclusive resort for a year.  But let me tell you why…

First off, I need to make one thing very clear: We do love all-inclusive resort vacations, really!  We recommend them to others quite often and have spent many a vacation day enjoying their pleasures. They are beautiful, pampering, relaxing, and effortless.  When we go on an all-inclusive resort vacation, we sample new foods, try new activities, and soak up the sun and the sea until our hearts are content and restored, umbrella drink in hand.  We also make it a point to leave the property often to get out and explore the surrounding area as much as we can.

With this being said, please don’t read this post and then go hating later when I finally do get my post up about our latest all-inclusive experience from earlier this year. I generally post as the mood strikes me, not in chronological order.  As we plan our 2017 travels, doing different things is our goal, so the topic of all-inclusive resorts is on my mind right now and therefore I’m blogging about it at this moment.  I’ll probably share the post on our last all-inclusive resort stay in January or February when it’s 20 degrees below zero and I’m fantasizing about a tropical paradise!  Anyway, We have stayed at 5 different all-inclusive resorts in the last two years, and it’s simply time for a break.

I’ve decided not to stay at one of these places for a year.  Here’s a few reasons why:

Sometimes it is not worth the money.  You really have to do your homework on this.  Yes, all-inclusive luxury is nice, but do the math!  Look at how much you’re spending on the trip, do the breakdown of what your flights and hotel room cost, and then look at what’s left.  Could you find a cheaper room rate at a standard hotel?  Would you really spend that amount of money on food and drinks at local establishments for the duration of your stay?  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no, but you really need to put pen to paper on this.Antigua 2014 483

FOMO.  I get that everyone is different, and reasons for travel and vacation vary.  For us, sometimes we just need to get away for a bit to recharge our batteries and relax in paradise. However, when spending all of your time in the confines of the resort property, you really don’t get a taste of what the culture is like.  When we leave the resort and go into any given city, we love seeing and visiting with the people, seeing the shops, the buildings, the lifestyle, and the landscape.  You miss out on what the people and the area are really like when you’re being catered to behind that guarded resort gate.


Monotony.  Again, I need to start by saying that we really do like all-inclusive resorts!  But, sometimes, they get to feel a little monotonous.  While each property and city is different and nuanced, they are all similar.  Even if it’s different resort lines in different locations, you can expect the same general experience.  The food is similar, the bars are similar, the entertainment and games are similar, even the chairs on the beach are similar.  Trust me, I can tell you what three types of cheese will be offered at the buffet regardless of where you stay.  You get my point.  They are great, but if you visit enough of them, the all-inclusive concept starts to feel a little too familiar.

While I will never get tired of the ocean and palm trees, and I will never pass up the opportunity to head someplace amazing for a week or two, we do really need a break from experiencing this via all-inclusive resorts.  Variety is the spice of life and it’s time to spice things up a bit!  We have an exciting year of travel in the works for 2017 and nowhere in there is an all-inclusive resort, and I couldn’t be more excited and welcoming of this travel change!  The world is a huge place and there are so many other options out there that are all part of a great travel experience.  And, while this doesn’t mean we won’t be visiting the ocean soon, it just means our accommodation will be different.  While I don’t think I’ll miss themed buffets or bottomless booze during this year long all-inclusive break, I’m sure you’ll find us at some all-inclusive resort in 2018, with big smiles on our faces and umbrella drinks in hand!DSCN1969

Some people love all-inclusive resorts and some people hate them.  Comment below with your feelings or experiences at all-inclusive resorts.

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  1. Great post! I have to admit, the heading caught my eye and I wasn’t sure what to expect; we’re going to an all-inclusive in Jamaica over Christmas! But it drew me in, and I gotta say, I totally agree with all the reasons you listed. All-inclusives are lovely for relaxation and recharging (which we need right now), but it does a) cost a lot sometimes, b) get monotonous depending on how long you stay, and c) encourage lounging on the beach instead of adventuring around a new place and culture. Jamaica will be our second inclusive this year–so we had to get that adventure expedition trip in (Iceland) too. Because both ways of travel are really fun!

    I can’t wait to read your post about the all-inclusive you stayed at, but I also can’t wait to see where you travel to in 2017! I’m sure you’ll both have an amazing time (and hey, you can always make Pina Coladas or your drink of choice at home if you find yourself missing the beach)!

    1. You will have a great time in Jamaica – can’t wait to hear about it!!! Like I said, we love resorts, but we just want to do some other things for a bit. Of course, the snow storm that blew in a few hours ago has me dreaming of lounging on the beach as we speak….

      1. We’re just headed to Montego Bay! There were some cool places we thought of going, but they’re pretty far to drive right off the plane and we did the 2+ hour trip in a van to our hotel in the Dominican, so we decided against it this time. 5 minutes to our resort from the airport! It’s going to be blissful. <3

    1. Hey, thanks! I think that’s part of what makes traveling great – there’s so many different ways to explore the world! And, when you get tired of one way, you can switch to another method of travel!

  2. I have learned over the years how much I prefer not doing the all inclusive resorts. I just don’t see the point of flying to a foreign country to sit inside the walls of a resort and not experience the culture. I much prefer to get out into the city and experience the food, culture and people…with an occasional umbrella drink in my hand. However sometimes an all inclusive vacay is all you need to unwind and I have enjoyed a few of those as well 🙂

  3. Yep, this post is actually well timed for me and I do actually agree with the points you have raised. We have been dedicated All Inclusive fans for 9 years, but after staying in a backpackers resort in Borneo which had private fan & VIP rooms, when we returned to AI for Jamaica renewing our wedding vows, we didn’t feel right anymore! We ate and drunk our bodyweight mind you and sampled so many amazing foods, but I think we did it because we were now bored of the monotony having been given a taster of a different style of holiday. Funny how things change, and I don’t regret for one second the years of amazing AI holidays we have been on, but now … I am ready for a new style of travel!

    1. A backpackers resort sounds so interesting. We are nowhere near backpackers, but would be cool to check out. AI resorts are great but there is so much else out there! We are actually staying in a monastery when we go to Italy!

  4. Great article and you are so right it is wonderful to have everything right there for you. Activities, drinks, food & fun. I have been to Sandals, Jamaica for a honeymoon which was nice. Then I suggest to family travelers is Club Med for Kids which we did twice. Great way to have family travel. I do not do an all inclusive club anymore but you have some good points. Its great, take a break and go out and stay with the locals and immerse yourself in their culture. After a year where would you like to go on another all inclusive vacation? Great article & photos. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Great post! Me and Phil are a great fan of all inclusive too, but there is no way we could do it all the time, we’d hate that. We love AI for relaxation, at that’s all, we’re not going for art and culture, it’s to be pampered and indulge, why not now and again? When we were recently in Vietnam, there was a homestay, which was like a beautiful resort on the Mekong Delta, it opened our eyes that you could get something similar at a fraction of the price, and it was authentic. We’re also debating where and what to do next year!

    1. I still haven’t forgotten about getting you guys info on the last place we stayed at! I’m sure you’d love it! If we ever head to Vietnam, I’ll have to get the name of the homestay you were at!

  6. I do all-inclusive very rarely, I like to wander too much! It just depends, like you said, where your going and what is your objectives for the trip. They have their place now and then for sure but everyone should try one for the experience.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I wouldn’t personally go for an all-inclusive because I can’t sit still and I probably wouldn’t even utilise it (so definitely in line with your cost point). I would totally do it if I had the chance but I might just wait until I am retired! Great post!

  8. We used to love going on all inclusive holidays, they are great for recharging the batteries. However, we now do prefer room only of B&B so we can get out and explore. With us I think it is an age thing, gone are the days of spending hours sunbathing and I think your right saying it can get monotonous. Interesting post thanks for sharing. #feetdotravel

  9. I don’t even think of all inclusive resorts when traveling unless it’s for a very special occasion and that’s for a limited amount of time. It’s nice to be pampered but I still prefer airbnbs or guesthouses to get a better feel of the country and culture.

  10. Great points! I have never done an all-inclusive resort before. It just has never really crossed my mind. But, I’m sure I will go to one for some relaxation for a few days in the future. I’m a person who loves to venture out in the places I visit and get a true experience. So, I couldn’t do an all-inclusive all the time.😉

  11. Very interesting! I’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before, and I would try it. It does sound very nice to be pampered and just have everything at your fingertips and not have to worry about food, entertainment, etc. But I can see how the cost may not be worth it. And how you’re sort of in your own bubble and not experience the true local culture. I usually stay in local airbnbs and I always love the experience. But if I do have the budget someday, I definitely would try an all-inclusive!

  12. We have only stayed in all-inclusive once and it was ok but I find them quite expensive and if I can have 3 budget trips for the price of one all-inclusive I would take budget every time!

    Saying that I think we will be looking at a stay in an all-inclusive in Thailand next year as a complete break after what may be quite a busy month travelling before. The idea of sitting on a beach with a cocktail with a little umbrella will be heaven!!

  13. I haven’t actually ever stayed at an all-inclusive. The expensive has always put me off. Reading your post I can see the pros and cons of staying at an all-inclusive and I think in the right context, All-Inclusive has its place. Thank you for yet another interesting post from a different perspective 🙂

  14. Variety is the spice of life, so I can understand that while you still love all-inclusive, you’re looking to mix things up. They do seem like a great idea if you just want to unwind and think you’ll make the most of the value they provide. I would like to try them once, but it would have to be the right place/time etc. Look forward to hearing about your 2017 adventures.

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