I must admit, I have never gone to an all-inclusive resort before but the idea certainly intrigues me (on my bucket list before I die…is to go into one of those swim up bars and get my mai tai).
To me (and these are just my thoughts), I seem to think that going to a resort where you are served international food (e.g. Japanese food while in Mexico) doesn’t jive with my idea of travel. That being said, I’ve never gone to an all-inclusive before and who knows, maybe I’ll love it so much because it takes the stress out of travel. My mother, she enjoys eating (a lot) and she absolutely loves cruises (she’s been all over the world and the best trip she’s ever had is an Alaskan cruise where she got to eat that Baked Alaskan Pie) . I have never gone on a cruise ship and I’m worried that I would feel claustrophobic, sea sick, and want to put my feet on land. That and I would worry about the captain crashing the cruise ship into an island while trying to impress a waiter on his deck 🙁
I suppose my idea of travel relates to immersing oneself in the culture, meeting new people, seeing the parts of that country that makes traveling so special to me. The other part of travel that I absolutely enjoy is buying perishable goods overseas (e.g. spices, tea etc.) to take home to my friends.
Here is a list of the PROS and CONS of Resorts vs Exploration with incorporation of cost (well, this is a PF blog after all)
- You don’t have to worry about anything
- Everything is paid for upfront (flight + accommodation + food)
- Alcohol is included (that’s a big plus, right?)
- Safe (except if you’re a Canadian in a Mexican resort and start some sort of fight in the club)
- You have the option to explore
- Less fighting with your significant other because there is nothing to do except to relax
- I would think a resort would be relaxing
- Time for reading, down time
- Supports the tourism industry in that country big time
- Did I mention less arguing with your significant other?
- Difficult to make sure you have the “best price” because they seem to fluctuate all the time
- You often need a 4+ start resort in order for it to be somewhat decent and without tarantulas, lizards, or large cockroaches in your hotel room
- Less chance for cultural immersion
- Less change to learn a new language because you won’t be using it
- In a way, I find that it feels like “inauthentic” travel because one might not be seeing the “real” side of the country (e.g. poverty)
- Cultural immersion
- Try new things
- You might be able to save more money if you backpack around, bus around, and sleep in hostels
- Higher chance to learn the language
- It can be fun bargaining (but not too harshly because remember, that’s not fair to the people of the country you’re visiting!)
- You get to pretend to be cool because you’re carrying around a Lonely Planet book (haha!)
- Opportunity to see the real country, take beautiful photos etc.
- It can be tiring and you might feel you need a vacation after the vacation!
- Takes longer time because you need time to plan, travel to the destination you’re seeing etc.
- Unexpected costs can add up (e.g. paying for a whole new scooter because you dented it slightly)
- Higher risk to get swindled and taken advantage of because you are a foreigner (but that’s half the fun, right?)
- Increased chance to disagree with your significant other because you want to go to the Anne Frank House and he wants to go to the Heneiken experience museum and there is a limited amount of time (*ahem* speaking from experience *cough cough*)
Readers, what is your traveling style, especially if you’ve tried both? Do you enjoy relaxing in resorts or exploring new places on your own? Which one have you found to be more friendly on the wallet?