Friday, 6 May 2016

The Great All Inclusive Debate

Inspired by a recent Twitter chat centered around package holidays, I started thinking about the pro's and con's to All Inclusive and/or Package Holidays (Are they the same? Kind of I guess).
I've done the whole shebang - I've gone all inclusive, I've self catered, I've slummed it in hostels and I've lived like a queen in a 4* hotel. I've paid someone to do all the planning for me and I've also nearly had a breakdown from the stress of travelling independently.
I know a lot of travellers don't really like all inclusive, package deals because they feel like a 'tourist' or they feel like you don't have an authentic, local experience going through an agent but I don't mind them, depends on what sort of holiday I'm after really.
I'll start with the con's shall I?
1. You stay in one place the whole time
I know this is the biggest problem for most people (including me). Going all inclusive tends to mean you're in one place for 7-14 days and that can lead to cabin fever for some. Personally I'm a bit of an explorer and like to move around every few days, cramming in as much as possible.
2. It can get a bit boring
Unless your hotel has a pool, loads of entertainment, a bowling alley, kayaks and snorkelling spots chances are you're going to get a bit bored after a few days. Especially if you aren't part lizard and get bored sitting in the sun for extended periods of time.
3. You feel like you have to stay in the hotel because you already paid all that money
 BUT because you've paid all that money for all inclusive you feel like going out is just adding to your expenses and what was the point in spending all that money if you're going to go out every night for dinner?
4. Hotel's tend to be really busy and/or lacking in character
All inclusive hotels tend to be all white villa looking things (like the top photo) or like an ugly block of high rise flats - Not exactly Instagrammable. They're also usually heaving with other bargain loving people and that can get a bit much.
5. If the hotel/food are crap then you're holiday is on course to be crap.
Obvs being the tubster that I am, food on holiday is a vital part of my holiday. referring back to point 3, you don't want to be spending loads of money on top of what you paid and if the food is rubbish then you're screwed.

And the positives?

1. You are protected if anything goes wrong.
Most all inclusive/package holidays are protected if something goes wrong (like an ash cloud or unrest) meaning you can get a full or partial refund, or change your dates around. You don't really have that luxury if you plan and book everything independently.

2. It's totally stress free.
Giving someone your budget and an idea of what you want out of your holiday is a million times less stressful than DIY-ing it. I can't tell you how many times I nearly lost my shit trying to sort our transport and hotels out in Thailand!

3. It can be dramatically cheaper.
This isn't always the case but if you are clever, going all inclusive can sometimes be a lot cheaper than paying for everything separately. Depending on when and where you are going you should always look at both options to try and save some cashola.

4. And you don't have to worry about spending money.
Thing is, when you've paid for your hotel and flights in a lump sum, you don't need to take anywhere near as much money with you. Sure you need some for the odd day trip or meal out but that's it. A lot of the time when you travel plan yourself you have to pay for the hotels as you go, meaning you have to be a bit tighter with the purse strings to ensure you have enough money left to cover all costs.

5. Everything you need is included (DUH).
Some hotels are amazing. They have 6 restaurants, kayaks, entertainment, spa's - You name it they have it - Sometimes it's all free, sometimes it's extra BUT package/all inclusive deals often include your transfers, taxes and insurance - Additions that can be quite costly!

And who can forget the cute towel origami?

How bad are my photos by the way? They were taken 4 years ago on a not so great camera and it definitely shows.

What are your feelings on all inclusive holidays? I think it depends what you are after - If you want to just relax and take it is easy they're fantastic, but it's all down to personal preference!

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