Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Republica Dominicana, Caribbean, travel, photography

All-inclusive holidays: Yay or Nay

Fill your life with experiences, not things.  

Have stories to share, not stuff to show.

 

When it comes time to plan your holidays, do you do your own research and focus on every detail from airfare to ground transportation to ocean-view room to à la carte meals and activities or do you prefer a less stressful and value-packed offer?

From my own experience, I prefer the latter since it truly does offer more than the former.

Let me share with you two examples that demonstrate an all-inclusive holiday

Are All-inclusive holidays truly worth all the hype? Come and read my experience :)

is a seriously good deal (for couples, families or solo travelers), if not the best.

Among my favorite and memorable trips we find two that were planned in different ways.

Let’s look into it.

Trip 1: Varadero, Cuba

Varadero, Cuba, beach, travel, photography, TS76Beach at Melia Varadero

As the travel enthusiast of my family, I was asked to organize a family trip to the Caribbean for the holidays.

We had a maximum budget, thus I had to keep it in mind when selecting the destination and also companies offering all-inclusive packages.

I narrowed down the options to 3 countries:

Cuba


Varadero, Cuba, Caribbean, travel, photography
Varadero, Matanzas

Dominican Republic


Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Republica Dominicana, Caribbean, travel, photography
Punta Cana

Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Caribbean, travel, photographyOcho Rios

My family and I had never been to any of them, thus it would be a first for everyone. Since we always heard a lot about Cuba more than the other two, we decided it would be the place where we’d celebrate New Year’s.

I will be very honest, I did not do all the work by myself, I actually called a family friend who happens to be a travel agent and we worked together.

We discussed everything from the time we wanted to leave (I am not exactly a fan of 6 a.m. flights thank you very much) to the hotel star rating and its location to the type of room we wished to book.

The benefits of all-inclusive packages are many:

Airfare

Transportation from the airport to the hotel

Room

3 daily meals

Unlimited drinks

Free activities

 

Basically, all we needed to worry about is what to bring and what do for the entire week.

So it was pretty easy once we had the approval of all members of the family after consultation.

We made the payment and the proper documents were issued. The only thing was to wait for the big day.

Needless to say, our trip to Varadero and La Habana was one of the most memorable and cherished trips ever! Even a decade later, we still talk about it and reminisce.

 

Trip 2: Cancun, Mexico

beach, Cancun, Mexico, travel, photographyPlaya Delfines

Family and solo trips are completely different, night and day. As you know, I am a restless individual and like to go on my own adventures.

One of my dream destinations had always been the Riviera Maya in Mexico, so one summer I decided to take a week off and go explore the region.

This time I planned everything independently:

Plane ticket

Travel insurance

Airport shuttle

Apartment rental

Public transportation

Food and snacks

Drinks

Taxi fare

and souvenirs.

Again let me be honest with you, it was a lot of work and a bit stressful and it shouldn’t be that way. All that just to save a few hundred dollars and yes have the freedom to do more things.

However, there were things I should have taken into consideration but did not think about it. Sometimes life teaches you valuable and important lessons for good reasons.

The flight was great; I got a pretty good deal. However the transportation company made a mistake in my booking and I had to wait an extra hour for the vehicle to pick me up.

The apartment I stayed in was not what was shown in the pictures on the website and sometimes there was no running water or electricity.

As far as public transportation goes, it was good but not necessarily the best.

I had to budget every day for my food and drinks and had to look for trustworthy establishments where I felt it was safe to get food and drinks.

Since I could not trust transportation late at night, I had to take taxis back to the apartment and at the end of the week.

In summary, the total of that trip was pretty high, much more than I anticipated or budgeted for. Luckily I reserved some extra funds just in case but I felt that I should have opted for something more organized or a set price if you will.

Regardless of that, I did enjoy the sights and nearby cities like

Playa del Carmen

The island of Cozumel

Punta Sur, Cozumel, Mexico, Caribbean, travel, photographyPunta Sur

And stunning Tulum

Tulum, Mexico, Caribbean, travel, photographyMayan ruins and Caribbean sea

They were all well worth it and I was surprised at how nice and friendly the locals were and how they helped me when I needed it.

As I look back, I realize that even if the destination was stunning, I could have had a much better time had I chosen to opt for a package instead of going way over my budget and stress for unnecessary reasons.

So those are some of the valuable travel experiences that taught me quite a lot and now know better!

As the old saying goes: “you get what you pay for” and I couldn’t agree more.

How about you? Would you like to know how you can save on your next holiday? There is a cool all-inclusive calculator you can use, give it a try!

Now I’m turning it over to you.

Tell us,

 

All-inclusive holidays: Yay or Nay?

 or

Do you prefer to have complete control by booking your trip by yourself?

 

Share your two cents with us!

I can’t wait to read your thoughts, comments.

Until next time, hasta luego.

Happy Travels, Felices viajes!

Tashi Delek, all the best.

K 🙂

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4 thoughts on “All-inclusive holidays: Yay or Nay

  1. Iana Mañana says:

    My family and I took our first all-inclusive trip last year to Jamaica. After that, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to fixing together our own package. All-inclusive wins by far. It makes everything so much easier, less worries, and getting the payment out of the way early allows you to vacation without stressing about figuring out cheap places to dine.

    • Traveller Soul says:

      Yes, they are great for families but also for solo travelers (even if it feels and looks strange to see someone on their own but who cares, if you’re confident and need some time alone, it’s totally fine!)

      In the subsequent trips, I always check to see if I can get a better deal by combining flights/hotel/transportation.

      Paying upfront for everything is already a big relief and you know you’re getting a great deal.

      Yes, looking for affordable places to eat or restrict yourself due to budget is NOT fun…especially when you can have unlimited mojitos at your beck and call!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂

  2. EmelyeKay says:

    Did my first all-inclusive last summer to Jamaica, and it was fantastic! For an island destination it is definitely the way to go. When planning trips to cities we like the a la carte planning for a little more freedom and flexibility.

    • Traveller Soul says:

      Yes, when going to an island or any resort a package is truly the best bet. The only worries you have is how much sleep you get, what to eat and what to do with your time 🙂

      Even for city trips, I’ve booked a package (airfare, hotel, car) which saved a few hundred dollars had I booked them separately (especially the hotel room which can cost quite a bit).

      If some people bargain in person, search engines or companies do that for you online 🙂

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