Home Exchanging Myth #8 – A Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort in the Caribbean is Cheaper than a Stay in a Vacation Rental

With a stay at an all-inclusive resort, you’re housed, fed and entertained… but at a steep price! You’re paying to have someone do almost everything for you. As with any project you have likely worked through in your everyday, non-vacationing life, there’s a higher cost to having another person do something for you versus doing it yourself.

A stay at an all-inclusive resort is a true, ‘just show up’, straightforward vacation. But the ‘sameness’ of the daily activities, food and overall experience is not for everyone. In fact, the term ‘all-inclusive’ is misleading since you often pay extra for the use of certain motorized sports equipment or a higher quality of wine at dinner. A paradigm shift is needed in the way we view all-inclusive resorts. We have to move away from referring to them as ‘all-inclusive’ and start referring to them as ‘pre-paid’ vacations.

All-inclusive resorts follow a standard model of offering their guests a minimum of three meals daily, soft drinks, most alcoholic drinks as well as gratuities, entertainment, group activities and the use of sports equipment all within the price. And this price is calculated on the assumption that you take advantage of all that the resort has to offer. In the morning you may opt to have a lighter breakfast however you have ‘pre-paid’ for a much more extensive one. Similarly with amenities at the resort… they have been ‘pre-paid’ whether you use them or not. You may choose not to watch the live nightly entertainment but a portion of your ‘all-inclusive rate’ has already been allocated to pay for the entertainers and wait staff who cater to guests throughout the shows. I personally can do without seeing another Michael Jackson impersonator or singer lip-syncing to Meat Loaf!

All-inclusive resorts can be great for certain occasions or at certain stages in your vacationing life. Unfortunately people often over pay with an all-inclusive rate, especially those who are light to non-drinkers and those who don’t eat large portions at every meal. All-inclusive resorts are simply not for everyone!

Given the vast number of negative reviews from past guests, it seems that a stay at an all-inclusive resort often does not live up to one’s expectations. The troublesome part is that you have ‘pre-paid’ a vacation that you aren’t pleased with and locked into it, unable to make any changes while you’re there. After day three of your stay, you may experience flavour fatigue from on-site restaurant meals. Unlike a vacation rental you don’t have the flexibility of preparing your meals or eating out selectively and all the variety that comes with that.

A stay in a vacation rental will save you money… you’re not paying for services, amenities and entertainers you don’t need or want. With this option you will have flexibility and choice. You can eat when and what you want, visit attractions and take excursions based on your schedule and be entertained the way you want to be!

With a vacation rental there are no hidden charges. During the booking process you would have communicated with the homeowner or property manager and negotiated and confirmed (via the rental agreement) what is included in the price of the accommodation. By clarifying this prior to signing the agreement you won’t end up with surprise charges for parking, internet access, pool heating and energy usage.

Although the accommodation expense is likely the main component of your travel expense, staying in a vacation rental allows you to save your travel dollars. It gives you a ‘pay as you go’ option to enjoy your holiday in a tropical paradise, on your terms and budget!

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About homeexchanging

Author of 'Home Exchanging: Your Guide to Enjoying Free Vacation Accommodations'. Expert advise on how to monetize your home to pay for your vacation stays. Follow me to learn how!
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