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!