All-inclusive resorts sound amazing at first. What could be better than a one-stop vacation spot? You simply book your stay and everything else is taken care of for you. These resorts sell themselves as having amazing rooms overlooking serene, tropical beaches, complete with all the food and drink you could want. Plus lots of romantic opportunities and fun in the sun await you. That is, according to the TV commercials. In reality, all-inclusive resorts in sunny locales are not always everything they are cracked up to be.
Usually, the photos on resort websites are not of the base package you are actually purchasing. In order to get that secluded romance suite with a 24/7 butler, ocean view, and top-shelf booze, you will need to pay hundreds of dollars in upgrade charges once you arrive in paradise. Not to mention all of the things that can go wrong with a tropical vacation! From injuries on your adventurous excursions to hurricanes to bed bugs, you never know what can happen! And when you are paying that much money on a getaway, you definitely want it to be carefree.
Keep reading for 20 reasons you might want to reconsider that all-inclusive resort vacation this year!
20 19. Messy, Messy, Messy
Let's be honest. Ocean pollution is a real problem. Whether you actually throw your trash on the beach and it floats into the ocean or it gets dumped in the water by your garbage company, we all need to be better about making less waste. This photo is one reason why. Just steps away from the beach where you would be lounging on vacation, tons of trash has washed up. Who knows what you could step on or brush against when you're just trying to frolic in the water? I'm not sure if garbage water or the green pool is worse!
19 17. Hurricane Horror
The one downside to picturesque tropical locations is that they are also in the prime location for hurricanes. These terrible storms can ravage huge areas at once, meaning your entire resort could be destroyed. If you do plan an all-inclusive resort vacation, do not book during hurricane season, which lasts from about June to November. Oftentimes when hurricanes do occur, resorts will not give you a refund because it's not their fault, plus they are already out a lot of money. So if you don't want to have to cancel your trip or worse, have to evacuate, choose a different destination.
18 15. Spring Break Bummer
When you were in college, you and your friends probably dreamed of (if not actually attended)a spring break trip to a sunny place. Now that you're an adult, having thousands of drunken 20-year-olds running around your resort probably doesn't sound too fun. So if you want to take a vacation to an all-inclusive resort, plan to avoid booking during February or March. These are the peak times for college students to travel on their school breaks. If you want to party with a bunch of teens, that's fine, but being at a resort during spring break is anything but relaxing and quiet.
17 14. A Hairy Situation
I'm not saying that you will always find gross things like hairs in your food when you stay at an all-inclusive resort. However, it's way more likely than if you took your vacation elsewhere. For one thing, the kitchen has so much food to prepare each day with the unlimited buffets and plated meals that they barely have time to breathe, let alone inspect plates before they go out. Health check standards in many of the countries with all-inclusive resorts also are not usually as strict as those in the USA and Canada, so you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
16 13. The Honeymooners
Taking a romantic trip with your sweetheart to a tropical place sounds magical. However, having to see other couples showing too much PDA can be a real turn-off. Everyone at all-inclusive resorts seems to think that they are the only people there, like they show on the TV commercials. No one wants to see you rolling around on the beach or sloppily kissing as you wait for your drinks from the bar. Because these resorts are so popular with honeymooners, you're bound to see way too much public affection. Those who are offended by this type of behavior should skip these places!
15 12. Attack Of The Kids
Planning a quiet, romantic resort trip with your partner? Make sure to book an all-inclusive resort that is only for adults. If you don't, your vacation could be ruined by tons of kids running around. Family-friendly resorts are a nice idea in theory, but when you're trying to relax by the pool and kids keep splashing you and yelling, it gets annoying super fast. At the very least, check to see if your resort has an adults-only area (usually pools or parts of the private beach) where you can escape the screaming munchkins and actually enjoy your vacation.
14 11. Delays For Days
Getting delayed on your way to your vacation can put a damper on the entire trip. Instead of spending your first day or two relaxing on the beach, you're forced to sit around in a crowded airport instead. This can be especially true when you are traveling to an all-inclusive resort. Many people go here to get away from the cold in winter, which is also the time when the most planes get delayed for weather. Even if your resort has its own airline, their smaller planes will likely still leave you stranded in case of snow. Bummer!
13 20. Up For A Swim?
When you see commercials on television for all-inclusive resorts, they always feature sparkling blue pools where you can relax if you get tired of the beach. Well this resort's pool could not be further from that beautiful image. The dead grass, shrubs, and weeds all around it are not very inviting. And if you are willing to swim in a swamp green pool, I think you'll have more problems than being hot in the sun! You would be better off taking a cool soak in your room's bathtub than trying to swim in this pool.
12 10. Oh, Rats!
You would be surprised how many resort kitchens have rats skittering about in them. They are attracted to all that buffet food (just like resort guests are) and will sneak in to taste some. This can happen even more easily when lots of employees are running in and out of the kitchen or they leave doors hanging open because it is so hot in there due to the tropical climate. On an island? Chances are rats will come around your resort because there are fewer food sources for them. You never know who you might be sharing a meal with!
11 9. Annoying Couples Everywhere
As I mentioned above, all-inclusive resorts are popular with couples who just got married or are looking to rekindle their romance. That means that even on the plane ride to your destination, you are bound to see people getting all up in each others' space. Don't they know that they should keep that kind of behavior to the privacy of their room? It's kind of gross and annoying to see and will definitely shake you up, no matter how relaxed the rest of the resort makes you feel. What a way to start a vacation!
10 8. What Do I Have To Do To Get A Drink Around Here?
The thing about all-inclusive resorts is that they are never as empty as they appear on TV. Chances are slim that you will ever be the only people on the beach, in the pool, or at the bar. In fact, because so many people go to these resorts to unwind with lots of alcohol, getting a drink at the bar can be a chore. All-you-can-drink suddenly means much less because you have to wait so long to get those pina coladas. Between the hot sun, annoying drunk people, and busy, irritated bartenders, you might end up grumpier than when you arrived.
9 7. Hot Dog!
Making enough food to feed hundreds of guests three times a day is a lot of work. That is why the buffet selections at all-inclusive resorts often fall below expectations. The chefs are just trying to offer as many options for as cheap as possible, which means a lot of processed foods and other items that can sit under heat lamps for a while. Veggies and meat alike end up becoming weird and overcooked, not to mention flavorless and uninspired. Spend your money on a vacation elsewhere so you can actually try fine dining or more exciting local cuisine flavors.
8 6. Horrifying Hotel
As I mentioned before, the rooms in the photos on commercials and websites for all-inclusive resorts are usually the top-tier accommodations. They require a huge upcharge and are probably not what you booked. When you arrive at your resort, you might be appalled at the sight of the room you were actually assigned. It could be run-down, dirty, or desperately in need of some upgrades. Even if you don't plan on spending much time in your room, it is frustrating to expect (and pay for) one thing but deal with something completely different. Other types of hotels don't usually do this!
7 5. What A View!
Just like the state of your room, the view might not be what you expected, either. There are only so many rooms at an all-inclusive resort that will have a completely unobstructed ocean view. Most rooms, on the other hand, will look out onto pools and other buildings. Hopefully, your view isn't as terrible as the one in this photo, but it could happen. Your choices are to either pay extra for the good view or suck it up and go down to the beach if you want to look at it. These resorts aren't so all-inclusive after all!
6 4. Food Line Fiasco
When there is always food available, resort guests will always be eating. Whether it's a meal or snacks, the never-ending buffets mean long lines for food at all-inclusive resorts. If you go at a peak meal time, prepare to wait for some time before you can fill your plate. And you had better grab everything you want at once or there might not be any of certain dishes left by the time you go up for round two! Also, prepare for people to get pushy, cut the line, and mercilessly take the last scoop of mashed potatoes right in front of you.
5 3. Way Too Rowdy
Even if you don't visit during spring break time, all-inclusive resorts are somehow always full of rowdy, drunk people. For some reason, there is a certain type of resort guest who thinks the place is their personal party palace and will be black-out drunk during their entire stay. They will be loud, get in your way, act confrontational, hold up the line at the bar, and generally act annoying. If you're looking for a relaxing and quiet vacation, an all-inclusive resort can provide that. Just don't go near the pool, the bars, restaurants that serve alcohol . . . you get it.
4 2. Wet Weather Let-Down
When you plan a vacation at an all-inclusive resort, you probably imagine days filled with fun in the sun. Getting tan on the beach, riding a jet ski, swimming in the pool, drinking mai tais by the light of tiki torches . . . all of these require one thing, though: good weather. The minute it rains, your entire trip is pretty much a bust. All-inclusive resorts rely on great weather so there isn't much to do indoors if it rains. Just in case, bring some books and a device to watch Netflix since there aren't many other options!
3 1. It's All Fun And Games Until Someone Gets Hurt
With all of the fun activities, you can do at an all-inclusive resort come lots of risks. From crazy sunburns to twisted ankles to food poisoning to jellyfish stings to concussions from slipping on a wet pool deck, the possibilities are endless! Getting hurt or sick on vacation is the easiest way to put a damper on the trip and with the nature of the activities at an all-inclusive resort, your chances of this are higher than on other types of trips. It makes a nice, quiet tour of Europe suddenly sound more appealing, am I right?
2 16. Burn, Baby, Burn
The sun in tropical locations is so much hotter than you can imagine. If you're from the North, it is noticeably hotter than any sun you have experienced before. This is why you need to prepare your skin if you go to an all-inclusive resort. Slather on sunscreen before you go outside and keep reapplying according to directions. If you don't, you'll end up like this poor lady whose vacation was definitely a painful one. Severe sunburns mean swimming in the pool, splashing in the ocean, hiking, and other typical resort activities won't be very comfortable. Plus you'll be in pain the whole time . . . not fun!
1 18. Don't Bug Me
Bed bugs have always been a major problem for all kinds of hotels. They are tiny and hard to get rid of, not to mention super easy to transfer between people. That means an entire resort can be crawling with them in mere days. Because they literally feed on humans, encountering a bed bug infestation on your vacation will definitely ruin your fun. You may end up with huge, itchy welts all over your body or even worse symptoms like a fever if you're severely allergic to the pests. This is especially bad when you're wearing a bathing suit every day!