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Just like everything in life, there are both pros and cons to taking an all inclusive holiday. Some people love them, some people are vehemently against the thought, and the rest tend to fall somewhere in the middle.

But when it comes down to it, there is no right or wrong way to travel, and an all inclusive holiday could genuinely be for you. Even if you are a traveler who generally prefers to explore a destination thoroughly, go sightseeing every day, eat street food, meet locals, and discover locations off the beaten path which put you well away from your resort or hotel.

    22 Comments

  1. We enjoy travel.of all kinds including immersing ourselves with locals in a quaint village, but we also love a good all inclusive. We frequent the Mayan Riviera, and absolutely love the ease and relaxation of not lifting a finger! Great post.

    • Absolutely Amy – we’re the same, we enjoy a good mix of both. Love immersing ourselves in local villages and taking adventure expeditions and trips, though there’s also a time and a place for a good ol all inclusive too!

      I imagine the Mayan Riviera would be a fabulous place for it. Happy travels!

  2. These are such great points, I never really considered looking into or doing an all inclusive trip because I had this preconception that these were really expensive. I think it would be fun to at least try it once to see if it’s something we can see ourselves doing from time to time. Alot of work goes into travel plans, so it would be nice to have a small break from that with the all inclusive deal as well as not worry about your budget because everything has been set in the fixed cost! What was your favorite all inclusive trip?

    By the way love the cover image!

    • My favorite all inclusive trip was in Costa Rica – it was really lovely having a break from organizing our own travels and actually kicking back and relaxing for once :D!

      All inclusive breaks have a stigma around them among many travels as not being “real travel”, but I don’t believe that’s true at all. It’s just a different way of traveling, and they make for a really lovely vacation every once in a while.

      And yes, not expensive at all when you compare the costs of what you would pay for a self catered holiday :)

  3. Great points! So true.
    I think all-inclusives (and cruises) are also great for large groups because no one has to make a decision on what you are doing for the day, when and what is for dinner (and who is going to cook it), how you are going to get from point A to point B, etc. Like the finances, most everything is decided for you with a few options when you get there. All-inclusives are also great for girls’ trips – especially moms! – because of the aforementioned reason of what are we going to eat/who is going to cook it and get the groceries . . . and who is going to clean it up. Moms are busy making decisions for other people all the time; when they vacation, they want a vacation from that too.

    • Absolutely agree with you – the more people who come on a trip the more complicated actually making it happen becomes. Planning is a nightmare on group trips when you’re trying to please everyone and sort out budgets and scheduling!! So these kind of breaks are amazing for this – takes the hassle and the stress straight out of it.

      Definitely agree with you on the benefits of these kind of breaks for mums. It’s nice to have other people sort out everything for you sometimes and vacation without having to plan or organize anything!

  4. Very good comments Megan, and having travelled to around 90 countries both as an independent and on all inclusive tours, you make some valid points.
    When we did an all inclusive 12 day tour “Switzerland by Train”, I checked out the cost to do this by ourselves staying in some of the top hotels on the tour, and found that we would be paying up to $800 per night, and calculated that tour company must be paying around $300 per night, (probably because they get a bulk discount), so it was much more economical to take the tour.
    Have also done the calculations with many other trips, and found we could not do trip as an independent for the same price.

    • Thanks Murray :) And yes, we’ve often found that these trips come in well under what you would pay traveling independently also. Those bulk discounts can really make a huge difference sometimes!

      A 12 day tour of Switzerland by train sounds like an amazing holiday – might have to look into that one myself!

  5. I have been traveling all over the world and so far I have always thought I can save money if I do everything on my own which means spending lots of time researching and booking on my own. Now after reading this blog I must say I am intrigued and will be doing more cost comparisons for this all inclusive thing. Thanks for writing it up so clearly and making the case for never ruling anything out.
    Last time I was in Europe (http://europeimages.blogspot.com) I went way over budget so this time I will look into all options :)

    • Definitely run a few price comparisons on independent travel v all inclusive – sometimes they do in fact come out to be much cheaper!

      Happy travels Vik :)

  6. I’ve never quite enjoyed the concept, but I like the breakout. The more busy I get with my 9 to 5 job, the more appealing these are as they aren’t as time intensive of a chore to plan every detail. You provided great reasoning why so many people today enjoy this travel style.

    • I had never thought that an all inclusive was for me until I actually experienced one – there’s definitely value in this type of holiday for a wide variety of travelers :)

  7. Earlier I used to think that booking everything on your own saves $$, but nope. I found that booking tours is way more cheaper and you get more. But sometimes I am not interested in taking part in all the activities offered by a tour. But still booking all inclusive trips are a good way to experience more for less.

    • Absolutely – tours and all inclusives get those bulk discounts that aren’t available to the solo traveler. There are definitely going to be times where you prefer to travel on your own anyway, and many tour companies do often charge a premium which does make it cheaper to do it yourself, so it’s all about making price comparisons when you complete your research and deciding which kind of trip is better for you at the time :)

      Happy travels!

  8. This is true and I agree. i would also add a person who just wants to relax. Sometimes you end up needing a vacation from your vacation from all the running around you have done. Doing nothing but relaxing is great at an all inclusive.

    • Very good point Holly – we often need a vacation from our vacations lol so all inclusives are definitely a great way to achieve that! Sometimes you just need a few days to sit by the pool and decompress!

  9. I love all-inclusive holidays. They take the thinking out of booking a getaway and are great for last minute trips.

    • Great point about being fab for last minute trips – having everything organized and taken care of for you means you can jump on last minute deals and not have to worry about the stress of getting everything together quickly. I should add the “last minute traveler” to this list!

  10. I’ll be honest, I’ve never taken an all-inclusive holiday. I can see its appeal, but I think planning, going out around town, meeting locals and trying different activities at my leisure – things I believe I won’t get in an all-inclusive.

    But hey, we never know what tomorrow will bring, right? :-)

    • Absolutely Pedro – and there are definitely certain downsides of an all inclusive in that most people feel guilty leaving the resort when they’ve paid for it and there is so much on offer right there without having to venture outside.

      Though what I found from my first all inclusive is that there are surprisingly a lot of opportunities to get out and explore the town, and the hotel desk actually encouraged it. Definitely didn’t feel like prisoners at the resort as we had imagined from this type of travel. The hotel I was at in Costa Rica also ended up being a haven for locals taking their vacations so we got to interact and spend time with a lot of Costa Ricans at the actual resort too :)

  11. Fascinating piece about all-inclusive vacations – it might be surprising to some that they can be for everyone. But they are all sorts of all-inclusives.

    • Absolutely – I think many people write them off far too quickly as not being “true” travel, but as you said Mary, there are all sorts of all inclusive’s and sometimes they can genuinely be a fantastic way to travel and a cheap way to see the world :)

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