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Back from Vacation

by My Journey to Millions

I just got back from vacation with The Wife, The boy and another couple we are really good friends with (who have “1 and a half  boys” – one is 6 months older than my son and the other is just about 6 months old).  We went to an all inclusive resort in Aruba called the Occidental.

I am a huge fan of All Incslusive Vacations but like with all things in life they have their pros and cons.

Pros of an All Inclusive Vacation

  1. Booze – I have been known to kick back a few and who is above throwing back some fruity drinks with an umbrella in the Carribean (and even further south) heat.  I love when the drink melts I just am able to toss it.  A couple years back The Wife and I stayed at the Ritz Carlton and I found myself having no drinks on vacation since they were $10+ per drink!
  2. There is something comforting that I know all my costs.  There isn’t going to be a surprise from just “living” at an all inclusive resort.
  3. I tend to eat a richer diet.  Every dinner for 5 days I had at least 4 courses. I literally can’t tell you where I do that except at prix fixe restaurant.
  4. Once there I don’t have to worry about anything.  I have a pool, a beach, some entertainment, food and drinks.  All in one location.

Cons of an All Inclusive Vacation

  1. Less likely to explore.  When I travel I make The Wife walk and see everything almost to her annoyance.  While we did some walking around Aruba without eventually sitting down for a meal eventually the convo of “is it time to head back?” is just natural. 
  2. Won’t Eat out – While controlling food costs is HUGE. Also means you won’t experience local cuisine.  While I really enjoyed the food at the Occidental I am sure there are resorts that don’t have the drive to keep up their standards.
  3. May go overboard on food and booze – Again without price and spending limitations one may tend to go a bit overboard with both eating and drinking.

Costs of an All Inclusive Vacation

In terms of actual cost I am not sure you can really compare the two alternatives.  I know I paid $X, but what number does one use to compare food and drinks per day? I would obviously alter my behavior if I am taking out a twenty every time I swam up to the swim up bar.  There is just no way I would have had 3 courses nevertheless 5 sometimes.

I know you can’t completely ignore cost but if the numbers are even close I would jump on an all inclusive!

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Lance 03/11/2013 - 11:15 am

Sounds like you guys had a blast. Maybe this is something I should look into as well. Might make for a good vacation before kids! Any particular destinations you would suggest? It so shoot me an email if you don’t mind. 🙂

Evan 03/14/2013 - 11:12 pm

Don’t mind at all. Aruba was awesome but only have one experience there, Occidental. Next door is the Hilton which is the supposedly REALLY high end (and high end expensive) but that is not all inclusive. My brother stayed at the marriot which he also loved.

If you are looking for cheaper all inclusive check out Domincian Republic. The Wife and I went twice pre-kids and freaking loved it

Lazy Man and Money 03/14/2013 - 11:23 pm

We own at a Marriott timeshare there and have to say that it is pretty good. It’s the opposite of all-inclusive, but allows you to be pretty frugal with making your own breakfast, lunches and alcoholic drinks.

If you ever go back, I’ve got a couple of guides to Aruba on my website.

Evan 03/14/2013 - 11:26 pm

Wish I knew you had that timeshare! I would have hit you up for a deal lol. Maybe we can convince the powers that be that FinCon2014 is there lol

Lazy Man and Money 03/14/2013 - 11:34 pm

We occasionally sell our on Redweek.com. I’ll keep you in mind if we are selling any time soon ;-).

Just in case we don’t, there are some good deals on Redweek. It’s worth a look next time you are vacation-hunting anywhere.

Michelle 03/11/2013 - 12:14 pm

We’ve been on 1 all inclusive vacation and LOVED it!

Evan 03/14/2013 - 11:13 pm

Where to?

Funny about Money 03/11/2013 - 11:13 pm

Nice vacation! Welcome back.

I think all-inclusive junkets are especially good when you have kids along. It’s a lot more predictable, and that makes handling kids much easier when you’re traveling.

My ex- preferred to avoid “tours” and other organized packages, and so usually we made our own plans and did our own thing. But occasionally we would stay at resorts that offered breakfast and dinner as part of a package.

I see that he and New Wife have developed a fondness for all-inclusive trips, though. They went to Italy on one, and he said they had a great time, and I think at least one of their several trips to Ireland was of the all-inclusive variety.

Evan 03/14/2013 - 11:21 pm

The boy did AWESOME on the trip. Plus if he didn’t eat dinner I didn’t care all that much since I didn’t have to pay for it at the end of the night lol.

What type of vacation would you prefer now?

Paul N 03/12/2013 - 5:45 pm

I’m glad you liked your all inclusive.

I’m one who would rather be able to travel and explore more of where I am then stay in one spot. Usually a 12 pack of Corona does me fine for a week when I’m away.

If we take for example just going to Fla. I would start in Naples, go to Ft Myers, then maybe Miami then do Orlando (or wherever I want). When I went to Trinidad, I drove around the entire island. The idea of travelling to me is exploring as much as I can, not staying in one sq mile of space.

I have co-workers who would spend a week on a resort somewhere that looks beautiful on a post card and photos, either drunk most of the day, or recovering being hung over. They make one or two bus trips as a group usually stopping at tourist trap type outlet stores and that’s it. Then they come back saying how fantastic their trip was. I doubt they even remember some of the days.

If you have a plan to utilize everything, some resorts offer a lot of sports/games/diving/boating/gym and more specialized outings etc., then yes. Otherwise I feel you aren’t getting value for your money.

Evan 03/14/2013 - 11:24 pm

I think I would LOVE to explore. When we do go on these types of controlled vacations I still make The Wife explore, but no where near the amount you probably do. I think I would like that but never really have done it since The Wife hates even that idea and we have been together for the better part of 12 years lol

How was Trinidad? I feel like I have a bad connotation

Lazy Man and Money 03/13/2013 - 9:54 am

I love Aruba, but you probably didn’t miss much if you didn’t explore. It is mostly a big desert.

Evan 03/14/2013 - 11:26 pm

I couldn’t believe that! I was shocked to see Cactus. I figured since we were 14 miles from Venezuela it was going to be lush and green everywhere

Connor Harley 03/17/2013 - 12:09 pm

Looks like you really had so much fun with your vacation. It feels so good to have a vacation once in a while.


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