Summer Vacation – All Inclusive Resorts vs. Own Your Own

Is it just me or is the year flying by? Summer is upon us and that means most of us will be getting away sometime over the next 90 days and for those that are, if you were wise, then coupleonbeachthe planning process started a few months ago. Even with the internet, and some believe because of it, it takes even more time than before to plan for a summer vacation mainly because we’re obsessed with finding the best deal possible. Now there have always been two schools of thought when planning an excursion. In one camp are the Do-It-Yourselfers who aren’t afraid to manually plan each day step-by-step, from meals to site seeing to activities. Those that want to get into the experience by going off the beaten path and mixing with the locals. They may even go so far as to pull out an actual map that is printed on paper and folds. On the other side are the ‘non-finger-lifters’ who’s idea of a holiday means not having to do a thing. If they bring kids, then they want the activities to find them rather than the other way around. “On Vacation” means and their idea of exercise during this time is raising their hand to signal that they need another drink delivered to their beach cot. No doubt this is a subjective argument, and much depends on where you choose to spend your coveted down time, as some destinations are safer than others, but we’re going to try and compare all-inclusive resorts vs. living off the land and where some of the most popular destinations are.

couplesittingonbeachNow obviously based on our previous post one can surmise that we are big fans of vacations with neighboring waterways, particularly in the Summer months so that’s where we’ll start planning our getaway. Moreover, if you’re going to be by water that usually means resorts so your first question is do piece your trip together, maybe staying at a couple of different top hotels in order to see something different or do you go for the all-inclusive resort that caters to your every whim and ensures you won’t have to move the car once you arrive until it’s time to fly home. There are pros and cons to each, but make sure to do your homework as there may be some unexpected quirks that may put a damper on your getaway.

I must say I am in the camp of betting off the beaten path and seeing what town is all about. Don’t get me wrong my wife and I can sit on our cots and order drinks as good as the next guy but I also like to be able to take a day and experience the city when the opportunity presents itself and most of the time cruses and all-inclusives don’t offer that experience. But what they can offer is a level of relaxation that is hard to match and part of that luxury is not having to lift a finger once you hand your luggage over to the porter and with all of the amenities they have available now AIs can make a case to win your consideration. Among the more popular chains for this is Sandals, partially because of their ubiquitous commercials, but they do put a nice package together, and you’ll find them in some of the most picturesque spots including Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, and Bahamas. The Sandals class of resorts is for adults only so if you’re planning a family vacation than you’ll need to look at their ‘Beaches’ resorts as an alternative. Beaches follows the theme of being in some the most desirable beach locations of Turks & Caicos, Negril, and Ocho Rios, all within 90 minutes from Miami Beach. They say the “devil’s in the details” and one of the confusing things when planning ahead for a vacation was locking down the price of the room as it seems both Sandals and Beaches work on a ‘dynamic’ pricing model. On the website the pricing is listing with a starting price and an ending price which varies depending on the time of the year. The “from” price is calculated by using the current rates in their system based on a per person, per night, 7-night vacation for stays during the low-season months. Takeaway? Make sure you get an exact quote for the time of the season, the number of guest, and the type of room as the pricing can vary several thousand dollars.

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