Vacations at stunning resorts simply can’t be beat. The shimmering blue water and the white sandy beaches. The high-end cuisine and the five-star service. All are amenities that one looks forward to enjoying when taking time away from home and a busy and hectic life. The average person works long hours at a job they’d rather not be at just so they can afford to live one week out of the year in the lap of luxury.
As swell as vacationing at a paradise resort is, there is a seemingly gold medalist of the hospitality group, and those are the all-inclusive resorts scattered around the world.
All-inclusive resorts are a step above the rest when it comes to the things they offer. Fine dining cuisine, specialty beverage menus, additional amenities, and sometimes even private resort-only activities are included in these “package prices” along with the price of your lodging. Although these all-inclusive “deals” may seem like they give you the most bang for your buck, it’s not always how it seems.
Now, not all resorts and not every all-inclusive vacation package is riddled with scams or is out to get your money, but there are enough out there that you do need to proceed with caution the next time you book an all-inclusive package at that tropical resort. Here are 20 shocking reasons why.
20. Timeshare And Vacation Scams
Just as big as they are in America, the lure of timeshares is a huge factor in other countries as well. Most scammers and conmen specifically look for people who are on vacation; they know they can take advantage of them. Just like with any timeshare, you get to sit in a room with other people and hear why such and such property is blank in value and why it’s so beautiful and why you need to pay for a piece of it immediately. Sometimes they use an elegant and FREE breakfast or the lure of a prize at the end of the spiel. No matter what they say or what they are “giving” you, the result is the same, you don’t actually own anything and now you’re out your “initial investment.”
19. Insects And Infestations
We hate to break it to you but if you are under the impression that vacations are bug-free, think again. In fact, a lot of the most popular hot spots that attract tourists are tropical islands filled with tropical insects. If you thought that your all-inclusive vacation in that luxury beach-side resort included bug spray and a personal exterminator, you thought wrong. Just because a resort is “all-inclusive” does NOT mean that you won’t have insects in your room; it doesn’t matter how much you paid. If you have the pleasure of staying in a less than luxurious hotel, do yourself a favor and pick up some insecticide and mice traps along the way. Maybe even your own sheets. There are horror stories of the things people found in their “clean” room while on vacation.
18. It Might Be Cheaper To NOT Buy The Package
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. We get the reasoning behind buying the “package deal,” you get all the things on the list for one great price that claims to be a “deal.” The problem is, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy it all separately. If you think you are getting duped by your all-inclusive “deal,” just do a little research and find out for yourself. Chances are at this point, you’ve already discovered the price of the package deal. Now, search for a room at the same hotel for the same nights, you might just get a lower room rate. But, on top of that, a lot of people that compared the prices saw that they were being charged an insane amount for other amenities, such as “included meals.” At certain resorts, these all-inclusive packages were allotting hundreds of dollars for food alone each day! It was cheaper to pay for food separately. Make sure to look into these “deals” to see if they’re even deals at all.
17. …Although Your Travel Agent May Try To Force You
If you feel like you’re getting some unnecessary pressure from your travel agent to jump on that “fantastic” all-inclusive resort trip right this second, it’s because you probably are. It turns out that most travel agents make a good chunk of money off every commission package deal they make. That means they might not have your best interests in mind, they just want to have their pockets lined with commission checks. The easiest way to prevent that is to buckle down with a laptop and a glass of wine and figure out how to book that dream vacation yourself. Take your time, read plenty of reviews, and get suggestions from family and friends. You’ll do just fine and you won’t even have to pay the agent’s fees.
16. Raw Sewage
This is one nasty fact they won’t show you in the tropical paradise brochures. When you are traveling to and vacationing in another country, you are in another country. That means the laws, permits, and regulations that you and your fellow citizens follow may not exist, and where they do, they’ll most certainly be different. This is something that cannot be helped, you don’t live there, so there’s no sense in arguing it. If a massive sewage pipe bursts and the stench of human business wafts through your room because builders used haphazard methods in the first place, what could you really do about it? What if the whole city smelled that bad? Sorry to have to tell you but some do, some are absolutely filthy. Some resorts, even the ones that offer all-inclusive packages, literally sit in the stench. Sadly, you won’t know until after you’ve arrived. It certainly wasn’t a fact the front desk was going to tell you over the phone, or you might not have come in the first place.
15. They Could Be Charging You For Things That Should Be Free
There are a lot of things that should be a no-brainer when it comes to what’s being offered at hotels and resorts. Just like one would expect toilet paper in the bathroom and sheets on the bed, most would expect things like luggage handling and transportation to and from the airport to be a given as well. Although some resorts and hotels hold on to these high standards, others stoop low and charge for each and every thing. Sneezed twice, that’s a charge. Breathing too much air, charged again. Want a ride to the airport? That’ll be $56.23.
14. They Don’t Care About Your Stay
If the resort is under construction, you’ll be the last to know. Just like with the stench issue we just mentioned, the same thing goes if your resort is under construction. It doesn’t matter if the construction has been going on for the past seven months with eight long months ahead, the resort staff is not going to tell you about it until it is too late. The reasoning is simple, if you knew about the noise, the mess, or the smell, you might have changed resorts or canceled your trip altogether. In the end, the resort didn’t get your money, which is always their end game. This is another time when it is helpful to look up resort or package reviews. If a guest before you was pissed off about the noise, they might have commented about it, saving you the heartache of finding out for yourself.
13. Be Sure To Check The Weather Forecast
This is another fact that could be grouped in with the prior two since it’s yet another reason for you to cancel your stay, hence costing them your money. It seems like one of the first things you would do, but you might be surprised at just how many people just don’t bother to check the weather before a trip. If you are vacationing in a tropical paradise, you probably went there for the sun, sand, and the drinks. Unfortunately, if a tropical storm hits, you probably aren’t able to leave the resort let alone enjoy things like the sun. The beaches will most likely be closed or simply abandoned and a lot of the amenities you specifically booked or bought this vacation for aren’t available. Most of the time resorts will not refund the horseback ride on the beach you missed because of the storm. It doesn’t matter that it was promised as one of the all-inclusive resort activities.
12. Technology Blackouts
This might be seen as a blessing in disguise. However, if you are on a business trip and booked an all-inclusive trip with the specific amenity of high-speed Internet due to its significance in said business, and the Internet or electricity doesn’t work for your entire trip, you’re in a dire situation. Some might say that having the power go out is a blessing that gives vacationers a chance to “unplug.” But, if you were faced with being fired when you returned home, which seems unfair since it was out of your control, you won’t really have the right mindset to “unplug.” Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can prevent, but you can find out where storms often take out power and plan accordingly.
11. Criminals And Other Dangers
Sadly, there is crime everywhere; it’s just an unfortunate fact of life. In other countries, especially poverty stricken ones, criminals run even more rampant than they might at home. The differences can be shocking. When you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, this may or may not mean that there is extra security for the property. Even if there is, there probably isn’t much past the resort, and that’s where the thieves and scum hide, ready to pounce. You might not be offered drugs or cheap women, you might just get your camera ripped from your neck from a man in a car or you might get your cell phone stolen by a kid on a bicycle. Being in an all-inclusive resort does not guarantee the safety of you or your property, no matter how pretty the pictures are.
10. A Cheaper Package Does NOT Always Mean A Good Deal
If you manage to find a vacation package at a lower cost doesn’t that mean that it’s a better deal? Maybe not. Even if both show pictures of beautiful rooms at the same resort, that doesn’t mean that you are getting a great deal, and you’re not getting the room in the picture at all. In terms of the shadier all-inclusive resorts, getting a cheaper package usually equates to you got what we had left. What they had left turned out to be a shabby room with dirty walls and furniture that smells weird. Was it worth saving all that extra money? Sometimes it pays to spend a little extra but it always pays to check the reviews before you stay in the first place.
9. You’re Not Getting The Room In The Picture
Just like we mentioned before, you can kiss that gorgeous resort suite picture goodbye, because you’re never going to see it. You might be lucky enough to walk into the room if you’re taking a tour before you commit to a purchase, but that’s pretty much it. The reason those pictures of the glamorous rooms look so appealing is because they are meant to. They are supposed to whisk you away to this tropical paradise even from the inside of your living room. That’s why the picture is in the brochure, to entice you to visit. Those showrooms are simply that, for show. Your room will look different, sometimes even shockingly so.
8. No Safety Precautions For Diseases Or Illness
It’s like we said, different country, different rules. This means that your resort could do nothing in terms of protecting the guests from diseases caused by the insects and wildlife that live in the same environment you chose to vacation in. How many times have you heard of stories where people go on vacation to either get stuck there with a virus or get hospitalized once they’ve made it home. Some people even die from diseases found abroad, and very few places around the world seem to take any precautions to prevent the spread of the illness or disease. Make sure you buy hand sanitizer in bulk.
7. It’s Not All That Great For The Local Communities
The cultures and communities around the resort rarely, if ever, benefit from the resort and the tourism that comes with it. Resorts paint a picture of beauty and serenity in the forefront, but it’s what’s in the background that really matters. It’s great to have a good time while on vacation but not at other people’s expense. Sadly enough, there are more than a few resorts that give tourists what they came to see while draining the culture and communities around them of everything they have. It’s never a pretty facade to keep if there was harm dealt in maintaining it. Please make sure that the resort you are staying at isn’t cutting down the surrounding rainforests or taking much-needed food from the people in the surrounding communities.
6. Less Than Fresh Cuisine
The pictures online and in the advertising pamphlets that show the food offerings an all-inclusive resort has to give you during your stay certainly makes your mouth water, we feel it too. However, just like how food is plumped and pumped up to look good for the camera, so is the yummy cuisine they’re trying to draw you in with. In more horrific cases, it was found that the food being served in such an establishment was unfit for human consumption. If you think that the heavily ladened buffet was the dining option to go with, consider the fact that buffet countertops, plates, and utensils have been found to have just as much, and sometimes more, bacteria than a public toilet seat. Just let that sink in.
5. Crap Staff
We don’t care what anyone says, it’s the staff that makes or breaks the game. It doesn’t matter who booked your vacation, and it doesn’t matter who the pilot of your plane was, all that matters is the staff that greets you upon your arrival. Get into the good graces of a resort staff member and chances are they’re going to pull some strings for you. This can be anything from extra drink vouchers to an upgrade to a fancier room free of charge. Unfortunately, there is also an opposite of these gracious hosts and that’s the members of the crap staff. These are the workers that could care less about their job, this resort, or your dream vacation, they’re just waiting to clock out at five. They could ignore your complaints or fail to check if room service has actually cleaned your room. We all know these people, we’ve encountered them at one point or another. They exist at all-inclusive resorts too. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine.
4. Dirty Sheets And Other Cleaning Fails
Remember how we said to bring your own sheets? We totally meant it. There are dozens of nightmarish accounts where people stayed in resorts, hotels, or vacation homes and the room and bed were a trainwreck. Just because you think all-inclusive means they live up to a certain cleaning standard, just know, that might not be the case. There are a lot of times when your bed just gets remade instead of stripped and refitted with clean sheets, even if they are changing from guest to guest. Be sure to take a lot of extra showers just in case.
3. “All-Inclusive” Does Not Mean Everything’s Included
By this point, you have probably figured out that “all-inclusive” doesn’t really mean that everything is included. Just because you believe that certain things, like transportation and toilet paper, should be included, they might not feel the same way. Even if you were promised certain activities or amenities and something happened like construction, or bad weather crashes the party, the resort isn’t required to refund you, and they won’t. Even if you somehow manage to find an all-inclusive deal that does include and have everything you want, make sure that you aren’t being grossly overcharged by what seems like a “deal.”
2. Kidnapping And Sex Trafficking
We hear about these tragic stories more often than we would like. Some person is off vacationing, enjoying themselves in one picture and the next picture you see of them shows them on a missing poster. Too many people, especially young girls and women, get kidnapped and then sold into sex trafficking and sex slavery. It’s brutal and gruesome and it happens every day. There are even signs in some cities and resorts that specifically tell tourists and woman alike to travel in groups and to not go out by themselves after dark. You could be stolen in the shadows. The process apparently happens so fast that your family might just find out that you went missing and you’re already drugged and halfway around the world.
1. Meeting A Horrible, Untimely End
The worst possible thing that could happen during a vacation is if you met your untimely demise. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sick people out there ready to do you harm. Just because the place you’re staying at is fancy doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. Just like there are people standing ready to scam you, there are people ready to hold you for ransom too, sometimes at the cost of your life. Other people might just want to rape and kill you. Aruba, in particular, seems to have the issue of vacationing tourists going missing. Always be aware of your surroundings and if you’re filled with too much doubt, just stay home and get yourself one of those virtual headsets. Then you can travel the world from the comfort of your living room.
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