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All Inclusive vs. Pay on Site Resorts

I recently had a discussion with a friend about an upcoming Caribbean vacation I was planning for myself, my husband, and a few other couples. She was hesitant about committing because we planned to stay at an all inclusive resort. She has never stayed at one before and said the idea turned her off, because she likes to "experience" the cultures in the places she travels, and she feels that wouldn't happen at an all inclusive resort. I thought I would post a blog, since other people may have the same concerns.


I should start off by saying, I am a fan of ALL vacations!! I LOVE TRAVELLING!! I do not discriminate!! I have my preferences, but as your travel agent, my first and foremost responsibility is to find the perfect vacation for YOU, not me.


So here's the myth: You can either experience the culture, or go to an all inclusive resort.


The truth is: You can have both!!


Your vacation is what you make of it, regardless of the type of hotel/resort you choose to stay in. If you want nothing more than to lay on a beach and have some one bring you umbrella drinks, you can do it. If you want to spend your days scuba diving, zip lining, cave tubing, and ancient ruin climbing, you can do it. You want a little of both? You can do it! The place you stay at does not define your vacation. You do. Of course, the quality of the hotel/resort may have an impact as well!!


My favorite thing about all inclusives is the ease of it all. It is so easy. Anything you need is right there. Relaxation and pampering are at the top of the menu. My favorite thing about not being all inclusive is that it forces you to go out and explore. I've had some of my favorite Caribbean experiences and food at local dives in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. Of course, being all inclusive doesn't mean you can't go out and explore, but you may feel less likely to since you can eat and play for free right where you are.


Location is one of the factors to consider when deciding which is right for you. In places such as Punta Cana, the resorts are often a ways out from towns. And there are few places to stay that are not all inclusive. You have to take a taxi into town if you want to go. No walking into the local village. That said, the last time I was there, we did just that. Got a taxi for the day and bar hopped in local dives. It was one of the best days of our vacation. But, on the other hand, drinks and steak at the swim up bar was pretty good too! There are plenty of tours to experience the island as well. There are other destinations, like the Caymans and Belize, where there are no all inclusives. So if that's where you want to go, decision made! And if you want the best of both worlds, there is a destination for that, too! Playa del Carmen has tons of all inclusives within walking distance to the center of town and the ferry to Cozumel. Montego Bay, Jamaica is similar.


One of the biggest factors, though, is budget. The great benefit of the all inclusive is that you have paid for your entire trip before you leave. You don't have to spend another penny if you don't want to. No worries about $10 beers or $50 hamburgers. You can just eat, drink, and be merry. If your budget is flexible, there may be more wiggle room for on trip expenses. As far as cost per night of the stay, there are luxury and budget friendly options in both categories.


If size is a factor for you, there are boutique all inclusives and large resorts that are pay on site, so we can definitely find the right one for you either way.


All in all, there is a perfect vacation for you. Keep an open mind, and make the most of your trip!! It is YOUR dream get-a-way!!

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