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4 Reasons Why I Kind of Loathe All Inclusive Vacations

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All Inclusive Vacations

4 Reasons Why I No Longer Value All Inclusive Vacations

I know this post may not follow popular sentiment.  And to be honest I used to love all inclusive vacations but somewhere along the way they lost their luster for me.  I no longer have them at the top of my list.  Maybe this hobby changed that for me, opening up other possibilities that were not possible before.  Or maybe my preferences have just changed as I have aged.  I am not entirely sure but somewhere along the way they fell to the bottom of the shuffle.

RELATED: Hyatt Zilara Cancun Review

What Happened

I am not entirely sure when the change happened for me.  Maybe it was the fact that vacation budgets are not as important to me as they used to be.  When a majority of your vacation’s costs are defrayed by miles and points you are less of a stickler on the budget.  That is a big key to why all inclusive vacations are so popular, they take all of the budgeting out of the equation.  You pay one fee and pretty much everything else is covered.

They Are Kind of Boring

I think that plays a part of it and the other part is that I find lying on the beach all day tedious and boring.  I didn’t use to feel that way. My tastes could have changed when we had children.  You find yourself with a lot of down time when you have small children since there are not as many impromptu nights on the town or date nights.  Maybe parenthood has led me to want more adventurous vacations.  It is probably a mix of the two.

Very Property Centric

I also feel a little trapped when I am at an all inclusive resort.  They are not usually in the best locations, which leads to people staying on property more often.  Plus everything is already paid for at the hotel so why would I want to eat or drink anything off site?  It would be like throwing good money after bad.

Limited Food Options

The food choices are automatically limited as well.  The food isn’t always the best either, although most people rave about the Hyatt properties.  Even if the food is good it isn’t local food, it is very similar to everything you could get at home.  It is comfortable.

Discourages Exploration

That may the largest turn off for me.  You don’t immerse yourself into the area as much on all inclusive vacations.  You go on a trip to a resort, a beach, and not so much a destination.  I would wager a lot of people never leave the resort.


I guess the theme of this article is that things change over time, us as people most of all.  What used to be valued might not be a high priority anymore.  The deeper you get into this hobby the more your travel tastes may change. Very similar to how we change as we have experiences in life.

Let me know in the comments if you have experienced something similar.

Please don’t get defensive about all inclusive vacations.  They are a great vacation for most people, and they offer tremendous value, I am just not sure they are for me anymore.  The same way some people love taking a cruise and others hate it.  It is a matter of opinion.  This is more about how travel tastes, desires can change over time.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. lol, if choosing to go to Mex including popular places like cancun & playa, best to stay @ all-inclusive resort & not venturing out & about much with recent news of shootings / killings there

  2. We usually do some vacations that are all inclusive, some cruises, and some that are neither to far away places. Just to mix it up, it is hard to keep teens entertained and happy….
    By the way, no matter what dates I try to find nights with points for Ziva Jamaica, I don’t see anything, even a year from now. Any tips?

  3. Different strokes, I suppose. I’ve been to Jamaica more than anywhere else in the Caribbean, and there’s no shortage of non-inclusive hotels that have many of the same faults that you mentioned. I’d suggest the Hyatt Zilara or Ziva in Montego Bay. Lovely, gorgeous rooms, stunningly good food, and fairly easy sightseeing. Oh, it’s also only 25,000 points.

    • I’ve heard good things about those Jamaican properties, but 25,000 points is not cheap – it equals $375 in travel cash. You probably can get a nice room + food/drinks for less than that on this island. Even their own cash rates are around $300 for most dates.
      As for overall trips, I say having a good mix of all-inclusives/cruises and individual exploratory trips through the year is a key to balanced travel.

  4. Lol, Mark, you didn’r even mention the 10 extra pounds!

    Of course tastes change, & hopefully elevate, over time. Which is also why I think you will prefer 2-3 bedroom timeshares & cottages to cramped hotel rooms once your kids are older. Multi-room 2-3 br suites at a minimum are such a relief you can never go back without a great reason (somebody else is paying).

  5. Unless you live in a rural area or some flyover state, chances are already have access to wide variety of quality international cuisine at home. I don’t see the point in wasting money eating out in a foreign country to “experience the local cuisine.” I just got back from Paris and the food was more expensive but not significantly better than what I am used to at home. I would have loved to stay at an all “inclusive resort” in Paris and not have to pay 12 euros for a bottle of water every time I ate. Unless you are a “foodie” who has to try out every new restaurant that opens up in town, you would be much better off spending your money on experiences rather than eating.

    As far as all-inclusives are concerned, most are located in terrible areas where there is little worth seeing outside the resort. There is almost nothing worth seeing outside of your resort if you go to a place like St. Lucia, Antigua, or Jamaica aside from crime / abject poverty. People don’t go to those places to experience “Island culture” but rather hang out on the white sand beaches and relax.

    • The fact that there isn’t much outside of the resort may be leading to some of the reasons I no longer enjoy them. We stayed at all inclusive resorts the first few times we went to the Bahamas but actually enjoyed our later trips more when we stayed at standard hotels and were encouraged to explore the island more.

  6. I like the best of both worlds: once/year we’ll do a 3-4 night all-inclusive and relax, but most other trips are exploration. I enjoy seeing new places, but at the same time I sometimes come back from those types of trips feeling I need a vacation from my vacation!

  7. Agree 100%. We would never consider an all inclusive vacation. Why would anyone travel potentially thousands of miles to stay in one place and never get out and experience where you are?

    • Because you have 4 children, its the end of summer and have been with the children 24/7 for the last 3 months and just need to unwind and relax with your SO….nothing but beach, sun, and good food (Hyatt Z.) Perspective brother, perspective…

  8. Totally agree. We’ve become a foodie family. All-inclusives are the antithesis. Bad food wrecks our vacations. In fact, we plan them based on dinners, then lunches:)
    Anyway, the points game defrays so much of the transit/lodging cost that it allows significantly more adventure…mostly again for food. And that’s a great thing…

    • I think that is the main change for me too. Since you save so much on getting there and on the hotels it makes you more willing to spend more money while you are already there.

  9. Same with Cruises, i’ve always thought Cruises and all Inclusives were for Boring people with no sense of adventure for exploring, no wanting to meet new people of the region and uninterested in exploring the food of the region.

    In fact most people who love cruises and All Inclusive’s generally dislike and avoid Hawaii because the Food/Drink is so expensive.

    • I do think people tend to gravitate towards them and cruises because of the simplicity of them. Takes a lot of the effort out of planning the trip.

    • I leave for an Alaskan cruise in 3 days, my eighth one. I will be hiking, watching the salmon run, taking a helicopter to a glacier, and going out on a fishing boat. All the while I unpack one time, food is good to very good, tons of opportunities to socialize or not, or I can sit on my balcony and watch humpback whales blow water into the air, sometimes even breaching or coming near the ship. While I agree that Caribbean cruises can become monotonous, because for me going to a beach with hundreds of people is not my thing, but a cruise is what you make it. And, there are a tons of places to visit that provide plenty of active opportunities.

      • Kijo: I could not agree with you more re the cruise mode!!! I love all types of travel but a cruise to multiple locations where the transportation portion of the trip is on a ship (with lots of options) makes for less time spent in airports, buses, reception desk lines, checking for bedbugs, etc.
        Another instance when ‘Cruise is King’ is when traveling with grown children and their children. IF ‘their children’ are teenagers – do you know how much they eat?? and how Bored they get if not with their friends?? IF ‘their children’ are young, the larger ships have great child care sections.
        A few years back I took my family on the around the Hawaiian Islands ship. We got a suite – so I saw them in the morning and at dinner when we sat at the same table. I had rented a vehicle for the day(s) at each port for about $35 each day – which they all planned what to do with it. Everyone had a blast and it cemented my reputation as the cool, fun grandmother.
        Since then we have taken the on-land trips that I had to plan the heck out of to make sure it was fun (and cool) for all. But as Mark noted – the cruise takes a lot of the effort out of planning the trip.
        It should probably be noted that I had already been to most countries when I was young and immersed myself in exploration. I don’t sit in the sun all day anymore because it can cause cancer and as a single older woman it isn’t always smart to be walking around alone in most areas of the world. I’ve watched all the Anthony Bourdain episodes and multiple other travel shows – so any trip at this point is just mixing up the routine.
        However this article was about the all-inclusives of which I know nothing and never tried because of all the reasons noted by Mark herein.


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