Written by: Shani Fowler
The school summer holidays have come to an end and many of us have been on our summer vacation. As the sun tan fades and we get back to the school and work routines of normal life, it might even already seem like a dim and distant memory, although the credit card statement can probably serve to remind us! We may even be thinking as far ahead as our next summer holiday – well we need something to keep us going don’t we! Many families opt for holidaying abroad and when booking those holidays, tick the box and pay the premium for all –inclusive, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? There are pros and cons to most things in life and the all-inclusive package proves no exception, below we examine a few of those points.
Paid for – less worry
The main benefit has to be that although you pay more than you would pay for say bed and breakfast or half/full board, once you have paid for your holiday you need not really spend much or any more money if you don’t want. It makes budgeting for a family holiday easier knowing that you have paid up front, leaving the food, drink and all those ice-creams already taken care of. You can arrive at your destination and simply relax.
Makes it possible
All-inclusive deals can make travelling abroad possible for some of us that otherwise might not be able to go, especially the larger families. The deals can be really good and make it within reach of the family budget.
Once you have arrived at your hotel, practically your every need can be catered for. You don’t need to leave the confines of the hotel grounds if you really don’t want to. Great for those who want to simply relax and unwind and have everything at easy access.
Some holiday destinations aren’t considered safe to wander around and in those circumstances it is recommended you don’t leave the hotel, rendering all-inclusive as the sensible, if not the only option.
Whilst there are benefits to all-inclusive holidays, sometimes the culture of it can lend itself to wastefulness, carelessness and greed; essentially bringing out the worst in people. At times (and I have witnessed this) people have a ‘devil may care attitude’ towards food, drink and even the staff.
They can develop an ‘I’ve paid for it, by God am I gonna have it’ frame of mind and begin to be out for all they can get. No one would begrudge people getting value for money and making the most of things, but it’s those who go above and beyond this that spoil it and embarrass the rest of us by their lack of consideration of others. It can make mealtimes and indeed sitting by the pool unpleasant.
All-inclusive usually stipulates on purchase of the package what exactly will be included. This might not be always what you actually want. Alcoholic drinks can be inferior to those you would normally like and may be produced locally. If you want to indulge in your favourite drinks then you will have to pay either full price or a supplement depending on the package you have.
If you are all-inclusive it is likely to inhibit your wanderlust. You might not get out into the resort and sample local cuisine. Also many don’t go on trips or walk around or even get the bus to other places nearby to see the sights.
The all-day drinkers
Whilst it’s nice to sip the occasional cocktail by the pool, (you’re on holiday, you deserve it!) there are the all-day drinkers who can zap the fun and luxury out of this. Drinking all day and night every day is never going to be a good idea, but many on the all-inclusive do exactly that. As time wears on it causes accidents, arguments and a general feeling of unease. Not what you really want on your holidays!
Undoubtedly local businesses suffer at the hands of the all-inclusive holiday package. Bars, restaurants and shops are at the mercy of tourists and rely on their custom for their livelihoods, so it is nice where possible to be able to shop and eat in resorts. It’s quite soul destroying going past lovely restaurants, inhaling the gorgeous smells and seeing hardly anyone sat in their enjoying themselves.
If you are reluctant to leave the hotel you don’t get to meet other holiday makers (apart from the ones at the hotel) nor do you get to meet the locals, you could be missing out on potential friendships.
Holidays should be a wonderful time for families, quality time together and making happy memories; and whilst all-inclusive has its place, it has to be said that is good to leave the confines of the hotel before cabin fever strikes! Do some research if cost is an issue as self-catering apartments can be as cheap if you cook some meals and mix and match with going out to local bars and restaurants. It is, of course, up to inviduals to decide what they want and can afford from a holiday, but it’s always worth exploring all options. You don’t want all-inclusive to be all-restrictive.