holiday "on their own" VS "all inclusive"

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean holiday "on their own" VS "all inclusive"

1. Posted by Elmillor SD. (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

It all depends on the typical person, it relates to what everyone wants, but also to the culture, the emotional state, but also to the level of information that each one has about a certain destination.
For example, although I am already 58 years old, I am a person who still loves adventure, I like to know places and people, when I go on a holiday I want to "taste" the local culture, if I would like to eat cordon bleu ”or other“ civilized ”food" I would not spend on the hotel and flight, I can very easily do this on weekends at a terrace in my city. Apart from the fact that I have the opportunity to taste the local life, I make important savings at accommodation and meals, because I can afford to stay where I want, travel as much as I want, often visit museums and cultural and historical buildings for free, to enjoy a leaf cigarette accompanied by an old rum, listening to traditional music, on a terrace by the sea. Buy souvenirs directly from manufacturers who usually sell in the historic centres of Caribbean cities. In this regard I make a clarification: When I decided to move to Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic, I was scolded by many of my friends in Canada or Europe. What am I looking for in the "third world" ?, "That we go on holiday in the Dominican Republic, but only at the resort, because we were told not to go out because it is dangerous" !! Well, here in the "third world" there is more civilization and security than in many civilized cities like Paris or London. I allow myself to return with my wife, at 2 o'clock in the morning, from the "party" by the sea, on foot to home, 40 minutes! But what could be more beautiful than a walk on the beach at night under the moonlight?
And believe me I'm "white" meaning "gringo" and I differ slightly from the locals, but I was never bothered. In addition, a person we were talking to on "skype" had on the wall behind her, a wooden "tribal mask", carved, which I recognized as being from Rep. Dominican. I asked her how much she bought it, and I was amazed to find out that she had paid… 10 times the price at which such objects can normally be bought from souvenir boutiques in tourist centres. Then I understood that the owners of the resorts have every interest in lying to the customers so that they don't "go out", because: they eat from them, they drink there, but they also buy souvenirs from them, and most importantly: Next year if more they want a holiday, they will also come to the resort, because "it is dangerous outside" I don't know what to tell you, but I feel very good in the "free and normal world". What do you think ??
I ask all-inclusive lovers to contradict me, with arguments, but apart from "convenience" because going on holiday, in my opinion, does it mean to explore, to know, to learn new things… or not?;);)

2. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1520 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I've never gone to an all-inclusive so can't comment except to say if I went to one, I would go outside it to explore the surrounding area just out of curiosity. I played in an orchestra in Haiti summers for many years and once went for a weekend trip to a resort that was very nice but staying inside it for two weeks would have been pretty boring. I also got food poisoning which I never did with street food. :(

We don't do tours or resorts because it's so much cheaper to go on our own. We can spend a month or more for the price of a 7-10 day tour. We can also go where we like and change plans at the last minute. That's fun.

3. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1623 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

This is a loaded question. It is perfectly possible to stay at an A/I and still go out and see local people and eat local food. You do not have to believe the resort people who say that things outside the resort are dangerous. It may actually be cheaper to stay at an A/I than to travel on your own. For example, It is MUCH cheaper to visit a place like Bermuda on a cruise ship which is kind of a sailing all-inclusive, because food and lodging are expensive there.

We have visited the DR 5 times. The first time we stayed in a condo (not A/I) near Santo Domingo. I get that people think it might be unsafe. This is what I wrote about it at the time.

No drivers wait their turn here - it is who backs down first that has to wait. I didn't think much about it at the time, because our daughter drives a little bit the same in Miami under the adage "if you snooze you loose", but this was even more aggressive than that.
... After he [taxi from the airport] paid to go out of the parking lot, he drove at great speed for some time, including a toll road, going on unpaved roads and around some strange interchanges. I was beginning to be afraid that we had been hijacked. But just about panic time, we turned unto an unpaved potholed road and after one block, there was the hotel...

Opposite the hotel was this lime green fortress - supposed to belong to a member of the Chinese mafia...

There was a night guard in the front lobby and a notice which said "No Armas de Fuego" on one door. On the other door it said that it was an automatic door in 4 languages. It wasn't--unless you count that someone would open the door for you if it was locked, as it was at night. There was also a guard with a rifle sitting at the back entrance behind the building on the other side of the hot tub courtyard.

I can see that some people might be spooked, but I didn't feel unsafe there.

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jun-2020, 16:47 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2479 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I go cheap. So for me A.I. would not do. (Someone else paying - sure, why not! Kind of like my old company paying for a nice place to stay at vs paying me the money and I find a cheap place and pocket the difference.)

I do like all you can eat buffet breakfasts when included in the price for a hotel room. For some heavy drinkers having an open bar could be a good deal. At my age I limit what I drink now so I don't have to get up too often during the night!

Mostly I prefer a city location vs staying in a nice place but in a slightly remote area. I like hotels with lots of things to walk to. I like an easy walk to estaurants, bars, supermarkets, even malls if the city is big enough. Availability of cheap local transportation a plus for me.

5. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1623 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I am remembering our first trip to Costa Rica. We wanted to see the rain forest and to do that, we were at fairly remote locations. Two places we stayed were only accessible by boat. There were no cities or bars or markets. So they were, because of the location where there was nothing else - A/I. They weren't the typical A/I place - there was no beach, no electricity, solar hot water and all the food etc was from the place we stayed because there was nothing else. They weren't expensive. One of the guys said to me that liquor was open bar, but you had to pay for beer. Because as he said "a guy can drink a case of beer and it is heavy to ship".

But I don't think that is a typical A/I experience.

6. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 98 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Agree that the question is kind of loaded.

I did stay AI once, down in the Riviera Maya in May 2009. My husband had died a few months previously and it was the right place for me at the time. Mostly I slept and ate and laid on the beach but by Day 5 I was getting bored and rented a car that I picked up the next day and drove solo down into the Sian Ka'an reserve, stopping at a small local inn in the middle of nowhere to eat and have a couple of Dos XX. I had a good time, although the hotel had no bacon and only had breakfast sausage once, probably due to only having 40 people staying in the entire hotel. In fact they closed for six weeks the day after I checked out.

My stay was during the swine flu epidemic so my experience was probably not typical.

Would I do an AI stay again? Yes at the right resort and if the price was right. For now though I have been staying non-AI and condos.

I could also see staying AI if you had a couple of kids, especially teenagers who can eat like bottomless pits.

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jun-2020, 19:53 GMT by 55vineyard ]

7. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 961 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

I know people who choose A/I because they work in high stress demanding jobs so when they go on holiday they want to switch off. Having everything prepared by someone else is just perfect for them. So I don't think it is fair to slam people for that choice of travel. We do what works for us and gives us the greatest enjoyment and for some people they don't want to work as hard on their holiday as they do in everyday life.

8. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1256 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

I wouldn't criticise anyone for choosing A/I but generally it's not our preference because we like the flexibility to make decisions each day about where to go, what to eat and drink etc. We did stay in a classic A/I resort once, as an add-on to a tour in Cuba, but I can't say I especially liked it. The included drinks seemed to me to be weaker than they should (e.g. too much tonic, too little gin!) and as we were only there three nights and they required four in advance to reserve any of the nicer restaurants, we were forced to eat in the buffet one and I don't like buffets (apart from breakfast) so it really didn't feel very 'luxury'. Plus it was very large and impersonal - we prefer boutique style accommodation when splurging, or something more local in feel. In Jamaica we stayed at a B&B in Ocho Rios which was so much better than the A/Is imho. We got to know the brother and sister who ran it very well, we ate meals 'en famille' or went out for dinner (our choice), we got personal help when we needed it (e.g. a lift to town) and personal recommendations - I'd stay here again in an instant!

But we have stayed in less conventional more or less A/I places when these are in the middle of nowhere and there's no 'outside' to go to! A good example would be Mandina Lodge in the Gambia, where the cost of accommodation also includes three meals a day and guiding - you just pay extra for drinks. The same is often true at safari lodges in Africa and that's something we love to do. Similarly stays at Lamanai Outpost in Belize include full board (there's nowhere else in the vicinity to eat) with a set menu, plus two activities a day - you just pay for drinks and for a few special activities. I think having to pay for drinks is better - some people don't drink alcohol so are subsidising the heavy drinkers if those drinks are included.

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1520 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

We had friends who didn't travel but they got married and wanted a honeymoon trip so they chose an A/I and it was perfect for them. They booked the place, went there and thoroughly enjoyed it, went home and continued not traveling after that. Every person has a different reason to travel and different circumstances for arranging it. There is no one-way to travel; you do what works for you.