All-Inclusive Month :: Introductions

all-inclusive introduction + what to know[trip style = all-inclusive]

To some people, all-inclusive vacations conjure up ideas of men in bright yellow bathing trunks playing volleyball; women in high-cut neon tankinis; crowded beaches with a billion loungers; watered-down bevs; bikini contest entertainment; cheesy white columns everywhere; and logos plastered on beach chairs, at the bottom of every pool, on napkins and probably your bedspread. I may or may not be speaking from experience...ok, I am! Yes, these types of all-inclusives exist, but no, it isn't what all packaged vacations are like.

Each friday this month we'll feature a range of all-inclusive topics to help you get to know this trip style a little better, and once you do, decide if it's right for you. A list of all our upcoming topics can be found below.

Getting Over Stereotypes The biggest point I want to get across over the next month is there is a multitude of luxury categories, exclusivity levels and destinations associated with all-inclusives, and although this trip style may not be for everyone, at least consider it. During my quest to continue to discover great getaways, I've stayed at more than a few all-inclusives---some worth forgetting, some worth writing home about. A few of my stays perpetuated the above-mentioned stereotypes, while others were a true vacation treat. From these experiences I've learned to be highly selective while I search for an all-inclusive and choose a resort/brand that I know will match my preferences {more on that next week}.

The Good and the Bad On the positive side, my all-inclusive honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica was an incredible experience complete with sunset cruises on Princess Grace's honeymoon yacht, nightly champagne bottle room service, included manis and dining at the only 5-diamond restaurant in the Caribbean {at the time, 6.5 years ago}. The resort continually exceeded my expectations. On the flip-side, there was the resort we visited in the Bahamas, which had high highs and low lows. Despite experiencing the most fun New Years EVER, because of the intense service fluctuations, I couldn't recommend it to others until management sorts a few things out. Either way, I won't be going back unless they foot the bill...  At  this resort we witnessed events like: 'Jim', who after one too many 'Miami Vices' consumed in the main pool's hot tub, yelled "bombs away" and took a runningjump into the dirty towel receptacle {on wheels}, which by way of knocking over a few pool chairs, almost flew into the pool. Stay classy 'Jim.'

Benefits Aside from the 'Jims' of the world {who you may or may not want to encounter at your next all-inclusive}, one of my favourite activities at an all-inclusive is leaving my passport and wallet in the safe and turning my brain off. Staying at these types of resorts involves tough decisions: wakeboard or suntan, margarita or pina colada, squash or racquetball, sushi or local fare...Here are some of the other benefits: Pay up-front, don't pay again {aside from tipping depending on your resort} Leave your wallet in the room's safe and enjoy Eat at different restaurants every night {depending on your resort} Be as active or inactive as you want Be as invovled or uninvolved as you want Be as social or anti-social as you want

All-Inclusive Month :: Coming Up Friday, Feb 11th - All-Inclusive Matchmaking! Finding the right fit Friday, Feb 18th - All-Inclusive vs Non-Packaged Vacation Monday, Feb 21st - From the Archives :: All-Inclusive Tricks of the Trade Friday, Feb 25th - Fashion Friday :: Rockin' the All-Inclusive

[photo by @tripstyler, taken at Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica]