Ok, so maybe all-inclusives aren’t the worst.
Sitting on a beach with a book in hand and a cocktail beside you is better than spending the entire winter sans sun.
But when it comes to travel, there’s a strong love/hate relationship with all-inclusive resorts.
Though we don’t want to knock them all (and we’ll surely hit another at some point in our lives ), here are 12 reasons why all-inclusive vacations are usually just about the worst option for young professionals…
1. It’s Not Always Cheaper than a Regular Vacation
Sure, an all-inclusive vacation may offer a quick fix to escaping the Polar Vortex. At first glance the prices seem pretty affordable for a week of sand and sun. But read the fine print; at some all-inclusive resorts, things like Internet, spa services, and activities all cost extra. Sometimes, choosing to pay-as-you-go on vacation can be cheaper.
2. The Room Rarely Looks Like it Does Online
Have you ever been to an all-inclusive resort and had your hotel room resemble the luxurious room (complete with an amazing ocean view) you saw online? Probably not. Even worse, is it just us, or do many all-inclusive resorts remain in a perpetual state of construction (which you don’t find out about until you arrive)?
3. The Food Usually Sucks
If you’re a self-proclaimed “foodie,” you’ll be sadly mistaken when you lay eyes on the resort’s buffet, complete with its lineups of hungry people (many of whom are also not so easy on the eyes). Although the food in one of the a la carte restaurants is often fresh and decent, at most resort buffets, the food is mass-produced for hundreds of people. Not only is it often a far cry from 5-star cuisine, if it doesn’t make you physically ill, you’ll be sick of eating it by the end of the week.
4. It’s Wasteful
Whether it’s at your local Chinese family Chinese food restaurant, or at an all-inclusive resort, buffets are always wasteful. Period. After all, they invite the perfect opportunity to try all six desserts – and only have one bite of each. The harsh irony is that many of the local residents outside of the resort gates are literally starving.
5. You’ll Downgrade in the Booze Department
If you’re used to Grey Goose and pricy wine, you won’t likely find it at a typical all-inclusive resort, unless it’s available at an extra cost. This means that – though you forgo a hefty bar tab from a typical night out – the booze won’t go down as easy. And the hangover will probably be that much worse.
6. The Over-Drinkers Kill Your Vibe
Despite the bars stocked with cheap alcohol, all-inclusive resorts call for a little over indulging when it comes to booze. Hey, it’s still free, right? The resorts are a place where even virtually non-drinkers find themselves all sorts of daytime drunk. Don’t even get us started on the rowdy scene that goes on in the resort’s “night club.” Basically, everyone parties university-style – even if they’re 60. And that’s not good for anyone.
7. The Constant Noise Makes it Difficult to Relax
It’s not just the drunk people that make all-inclusive resorts so noisy. Between the screaming children, blasting top 40 music, and the activity staff screaming into megaphones, it’s often difficult to do what you came for – to relax.
8. The Wristband is Not a Cool Accessory
The mandatory neon green or purple wristband is a real outfit killer, and cheapens those Instagram shots. Not to mention, it leaves tan lines.
9. There’s No Culture
The only sense of culture you’ll get in abundance at an all-inclusive resort is the culture of western world overconsumption. There are few things that are locally authentic about a massive all-inclusive resort, and if you don’t venture off its property, you’ll experience little about the surrounding local way of life. And no, the crappy live entertainment barely counts as a “cultured” experience.
10. It’s the Same Thing Every Day
Speaking of a cultured experience, such a vacation requires you being able to curate it yourself in terms of wining, dining, site seeing, and exploring. An all-inclusive vacation, on the other hand, usually means the same thing every day, with the only variety being the featured activity.
11. The Off-Site Activities are Damn Expensive
If you want to partake in any extra activities offered by the resort – from horseback riding to a catamaran snorkel – expect it to set you back at least another $100-$150 USD. Of course, you could always venture of the resort and explore the local towns and cities – and you pretty much have to – it’s easy to feel like you really should stay on the resort to get your money’s worth.
12. Your Trip is Entirely Dependent on the Weather
If you do spend time at the resort, you had better hope that the weather cooperates. The best thing about an all-inclusive is the simple, effortless, one-stop shop to the sun and sand. If it’s cold, rainy, or hurricane weather, you’re pretty much screwed – the entire time.