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Why go to an all-inclusive?

Haughton, Louisiana
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8 posts
13 reviews
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Why go to an all-inclusive?

Not trying to troll, but starting to plan a trip for next year. We have never been to an AI and i just cant understand why i would want to go. When we travel we love the local flavor, we meet locals, eat local food, love to hit the local food/fish and craft markets. Also tour historic areas/buildings. Drink coffee at a cafe, then hit another, just visiting and people watching. . SO... is this possible at an AI? tell me about what you really get. Thanks.

Calgary
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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8 reviews
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1. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

From what you've described, AI probably won't suit you very well. It's not that you CAN'T go off the resort and meet locals, try local restaurants, visit the sites etc. but if that's what you like to spend most of your time doing, it just doesn't seem smart from a financial perspective to pay for the amenities of an AI (including food and drink) if you're not going to be there most of the time to enjoy them.

Why do people choose AI? I'm sure there are a myriad of reasons but two that spring to mind are:

- AIs are a very relaxing, "no brainer" way of taking a vacation and perfect for someone who wants to spend a significant portion of them time chilling out on the beach or by the pool. For those who wish to be a bit more active, most resorts have tons of amenities, gorgeous pools, organized activities and even kids' clubs. By contrast, most non-AI hotels are much smaller and whilst they may be absolutely lovely, they don't usually offer quite so much in the way of amenities;

- budget control. It's not that AI's are necessarily cheaper than non (in fact, they often they may work out more expensive) but you can quantify the EXACT cost of your vacation up front (other than tips and discretionary spending). This means one less thing to think/worry about and no scary credit card bills to deal with when you get home!

I remember a poster on these forums ages ago describing the difference between AI and non as being akin to the difference between a vacationer and a traveller. I think that's a great way of putting it but, unfortunately, such terminology can result in the travellers somehow thinking they are superior to mere vacationers. IMHO, neither is better or worse that the other; they're just DIFFERENT.

The great thing about this part of the world is that no matter which vacation style you're after - AI or non - there are lots of choices at varying price points.

Happy travels - no matter what your style!

San Jose, California
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for California
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104 reviews
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2. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

I agree with Llisa completely. I am generally not an AI person, but I have had loads of fun at one and would consider one in the future if I was looking for relaxation at a resort.

Mexico City, Mexico
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311 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

I too agree. However I would add that, for me, it alse has to do aith where am I going.

For example: I'm a beach person and I'm in love with the sea in Cancún. I just love the sand and the color of the water. Now, Cancún is like the Ai Kingdom, and most beachfront hotels are AI, wich is perfectly fine with me since I go there to enjoy the sea. Besides, theres not so much of "local culture" there. And since I'm not really interested in going out to explore that part of Cancun that much, an AI gives me what I want and expect for a vacation there. We did ended up going out to walk for an hour or two everyday at night while we were there because we cant be "locked" in the hotel all the time, but again, that was part of what I expected going to Cancun.

However I wouldnt even consider going to an AI in Huatulco because there is so much more culture and food and beautiful bays that I love to explore and I'm not interested in staying all day at the hotel in just one bay when there are so many to see!

And for the Riviera, I would go to another AI but one of the most isolated ones. I fell in love with the peace and tranquilify at night in one of those. Also the beautiful sky at night, so many stars i'm not used to see in the city. The catch was obviously we were not really close to the town so again not much local culture to see, but a very different experience

With all of this I'm saying is I chose an AI or not depending of the kind of experience I want to have. Even though this 3 places are in the same country the experiences are totally different.

As a side note, even when I'm not a heavy drinker I do enjoy my beers with my food and hey, at an AI i cant really calculate the price of them, whilst when I go to a restaurant I know it will cost at least 35 pesos when I know a sixpack is 63 in a supermarket... That just looks ugly lol.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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14,945 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

I've never done all inclusive, mostly because I don't enjoy large resorts. Much prefer small, as in less than 20 rooms, properties. Even better if they're locally owned/operated.

I also consider finding new foods and restaurants to be one of the great joys of travel. I also really do not want to have to dress for dinner on a beach vacation. I want to be able to wear shorts/capris, a decent shirt and flip flops.

I don't spend a lot of time lounging by a pool/beach. Maybe two hours a day, absolute tops, usually less. I'd rather be wandering. On the beach, in a town. Stop for a drink when I'm thirsty, for food when I'm hungry.

I do understand why people love all inclusives, they simply aren't the way I choose to travel.

Haughton, Louisiana
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8 posts
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5. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

Thanks all, you have helped. Jeanh, i am much like you, a couple hours at the beach and i am good, unless i am fishing. And we don't drink, so see no need to pay for that. We do occasionally take a trip to hang out and chill, but love to hit the local markets and cook when we do, kinda hard at an AI...

Edmonton
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6. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

Some AI resorts sell day passes. Might be a nice way for you to check it out.

Stowe, Vermont
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60 reviews
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7. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

This area of Mexico is quite Americanized. It is not a destination for tons of local flavor as a local market includes Wal*Mart. If you are headed to say, Tulum, you will find what you're looking for. Other places... not so much. I love the area, but it is not an area I would go to to get a dose of Mexican culture; it is a bit like the environs around, say, Disney World in Florida. Very touristy. We do AI in this area of MX because we like to chill, and the prices outside of AIs have gotten very high just because they can. My husband is Mexican born and raised. We go for the beaches, alas, not for a dose of culture. Other areas of Mexico are so rich in that.

I bet you'd like Merida! Sounds like Cancun would give you hives :)

Edited: 07 July 2014, 16:25
Surrey, Canada
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345 posts
79 reviews
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8. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

For us we have young children so our answer might not make much sense if you don't have kids. We liked that everything is there - no worrying about where to find a restaurant that caters to families, no need to find activities to keep them busy if we just want some downtime, etc. Before we had kids we would sometimes pick an AI, sometimes not for the reasons other people have listed and your own reasons provided - sampling the local culture, meeting lots of new people, immersing ourselves in the lifestyle where we are travelling, etc.

colorado
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399 posts
41 reviews
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9. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

For my family, AI is the best way to go. I have 3 (now adult) boys that all have size 15 shoe! They eat lots and now they drink too. Even though we always leave the resort at least a couple of times during the week to get a bit of a change of scenery and take in some local beach bars and restaurants, it's still a much better value for us to go all inclusive.

Bloomfield...
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
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3,571 posts
203 reviews
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10. Re: Why go to an all-inclusive?

All great answers: I go for kid and not -kid reasons:

Kids - we have three that like to eat (and now) drink but more importantly, like to try new things. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to buy two dinners for one or a couple kids because they wanted to "try" something and then did not like it. With all-inclusive, they try anything they want in small portions so as to not waste and then they get to know what they like prior to us being at a nice restaurant at home. They also just happen to need that $3 bottle of water or pop immediately as we walk out of the restaurants. I like that they get to try things to see what they like and more importantly - what they do not - before it costs be $25 a plate.

Without kids - my wife and I tear it up. We have just a couple of casual drinks when the kids travel with us, but when we do adult-only, we start at breakfast and keep going all day long. My wife is a firm believer that the better the worse the alcohol, the worse the hangover. We like VIM as it has by far the most top shelf alcohol selection without any of the games (just ran out - maybe tomorrow). It is out in the open, poured freely and not watered down.

Finally, since I am the money conscious one in the family, I plan the vacations and like knowing what the cost is before we leave (minus spending cash).

Sounds like AI is not your thing.