Jamaican Me Crazy – A Rant
There are only two ways to travel. One way is to stick to your comfort zone and come home with a tan. The other is to break free of everything you know and come home a new person. Today I will fight for the latter.
In the first Wanderlust Wednesday I shared how our Hawaiian wedding sparked an obsession with travel. Wanting to celebrate our first anniversary in style, I booked a surprise trip to what sounded like a romantic island getaway. With limited travel experience, the package deals that included the flight, lodging, drinks and meals seemed like a bargain.
To this day, we’ll both tell you that was the worst trip we ever took. But there are no regrets. We would have tried it sooner or later and I value how swiftly it pushed us toward independent travel. Although the only way I would take that same trip again is if it was free, I’m grateful for the lessons that we learned.
It’s hard to argue with all the drinks, food and activities you can consume, for one low price in a warm and sunny locale. But all-inclusives are not all that they’re cracked up to be, especially for our personalities. I get the allure. I see the Groupon deals and think, gosh it would be nice to just lay around on the beach and relax and not have to worry about our travel budget. While I could easily handle that for a couple of days, it would get boring quickly.
Admittedly, I only experienced resort life once. I’m sure there are better resorts with higher quality food and better activities. But life is short and the world is huge.
Here are the top five reasons I’ll never stay at an all-inclusive again.
1 – The food is repetitive, unhealthy and vaguely resembles the local cuisine.
They keep their costs low by serving the same ingredients over and over, limiting the availability of the good stuff, and filling in the gaps with cheap junk.
We love food. Good quality, nutritious, and local food is one of our favorite parts of travel. It’s our connection to a place long after we return home. Not having access to this food decreases the value of our experience.
2 – The free drinks are great if you enjoy drinking out of Dixie cups.
Like the food, they keep their costs low by limiting consumption. I’m not trying to get day drunk, just give me a full beer. I’ll take my own bottle of wine on the balcony of a vacation rental over all you can drink 4-ounce beers any day of the week.
3 – You’re sheltered from the true experience of the culture.
After two days we were bored beyond belief and needed to bust out and explore. I thought we were going to have to bribe the security guards to let us out of there. They said it wasn’t safe, but we persisted. We learned that we need to stay in places where we can come and go as we please. What good is a place if you can’t get out and explore it?
4 – The only foreigners you talk to are from Wisconsin.
Sconies are perfectly fine, but I didn’t travel 2,000 miles to experience Midwest culture. In each Wanderlust Wednesday, I reference to how the people helped change us for the better. We’ve come to expect that growth.
5 – The “adventures” are manufactured and overpriced.
When you’ve had your fill of beach, pool, snorkeling and kayaks; resorts are more than happy to sell you an adventure. These experiences are often inauthentic, crowded and expensive – like this popular Jamaican attraction. Jer and I have been to countless waterfalls elsewhere and we never paid a $20 admission. To this “adventure” I say, no thanks.
Learning that resorts are not for us was a valuable lesson. Knowing who you are and how you fit into this world will only enhance your travel experience. If you are someone who enjoys the simplicity and relaxation you find at resorts, I encourage you to consider stepping out of your comfort zone and taking the road less traveled next time.
Here’s some inspiration.
- How the Nicaraguan People Restored Our Faith in Humanity
- Learning to Linger on the Road to Hana
- Taking the Road Less Traveled Through Greece
- Exploring Minnesota’s North Shore
Cast your vote, all-inclusives, yay or nay?
Why or why not?
Share in the comments below.