The ultimate vacation debate: To all-inclusive, or not to all-inclusive?

Feb 1 2019, 4:09 am

When planning your vacation, the number of options to choose from can be overwhelming.

Do I want to be warm or cold? Active or lazy? Should I go somewhere new or to a familiar favourite? Where will make my friends the most jealous back home? Do I want my first meal to be pizza or tacos?

You know, all the usual life-altering dilemmas.

Our Mapped mission is to guide your wanderlust in the right direction, with help such as our top picks for every type of traveller in 2019. But even once you’ve selected your destination, the question still persists as to what type of accommodation to choose.

A popular choice by many sun-seekers is to go with an all-inclusive resort: the all-encompassing vacation option that includes lodging, amenities, food, drinks, and activities all in one package.

Over here at Mapped we tend to go for the more off the beaten path adventures, but we would be blind to not see the perks of opting for an all-inclusive resort. (Did someone say bottomless piña coladas?)

So whether you’re looking for a solo escape, spring break rager, or week of family bonding, all-inclusive resorts may be something you should consider.

Here are five benefits of choosing an all-inclusive vacation package for your winter getaway, along with a counterargument for each.

Pay for everything up front


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We know, budgeting is hard. How are you supposed to know how much you’re going to spend on a week-long vacation, when you can’t even decide whether to splurge for guac at Chipotle?

With an all-inclusive resort, you know what you’re paying right from the get-go, and all your necessities (read: all the banana daiquiris) are covered after that.

The downside: All-inclusive options are certainly not cheap. There is almost always a more affordable way to vacation on your own, although it may be less glamorous and involve less buffet dinners and margarita refills.

Avoid dealing with that pesky transit


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All-inclusives really are a one-stop-shop, and if what your heart desires is to post up and stay on your resort grounds for your entire vacation, that is what your heart shall receive.

There’s no need to bus or taxi to the grocery store to get food, make that late-night liquor run, or trek around the region to find stuff to do. The resort will typically have a pool and a beach, and combined with food and booze, and that is really all most of the guests are looking for.

The downside: Many vacationers may get cabin fever from being cooped up on the resort grounds the whole trip —  and also, isn’t experiencing the local transit part of the adventure!?

Soak up the guilt-free laziness relaxation


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Yes, your resort has everything you need, and this means it is easier than ever to get your R&R.

You will be surprised how easy it is to waste a day away going from buffet breakfast, to lounging on the beach, to lunch, to sipping mai tais poolside, to buffet dinner, to enjoying the evening entertainment or making your own at the disco.

Whew, that tired us out just writing that. Now time to go crash on a king-sized bed and do it all again tomorrow.

The downside: Depending on your travel style, you may prefer to be out adventuring than relaxing at a resort. Take some time to figure out what you want to get out of your trip before booking.

All the activities


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If relaxation bores you, or certain family members are more restless than others, don’t fret: all-inclusive resorts provide a wide array of (free!) activities to choose from.

The little ones can play at the playground, kiddie pool, or crafts table. Athletes can play water polo or beach volleyball, or hit up the resort gym. That rowdy bachelorette party can partake in the outrageous poolside activities hosted by the resort staff like obstacle courses or twerking contests. You are still busy drinking your mojitos, so you’re all set for activities.

The downside: These activities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and again, adventurous travellers will not be satisfied by watching those middle-aged ladies attempt to do water aerobics.

Ease of excursions


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It’s tempting and easy to spend an entire weekend soaking up all that your resort has to offer, but each resort typically offers a variety of excursions to explore the surrounding area on day trips as well.

From snorkelling to ziplining to whale watching, the resort will plan everything out for you, and you won’t have to stress about arranging transit, or wondering if you’ve booked through a legit tour company.

The downside: Pricing, pricing, pricing. Resorts take a premium for booking these tours, and you would likely save some mula if you put in a bit of groundwork and booked directly through the tour operator.

Ultimately, each style of vacationing has its perks, so do your research and make sure you’re getting what you deserve in a dream vacation. But when in doubt, remember that ANY VACATION IS A GOOD VACATION, so make the most of it!

Kellie PaxianKellie Paxian

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