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All-inclusive vacations: thumbs up or down?

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As you head out on your commute and get back to the grind, you may be tempted to check out some deals for a tropical getaway.

But when you go to places like Mexico or the Bahamas, do you prefer the convenience of all-inclusives or is it all about living like a local?

A new survey finds many of us feel the pull of both. We have a love/hate relationship with the resorts.

More than half of those asked say they’d like a different kind of experience than what you normally get at an all-inclusive; many say they feel like they’re missing out on authentic experiences of the place they’ve chosen to go.

Perhaps that’s not too surprising, given about a third surveyed by Travelocity.ca say they don’t leave the property when they go to one of the resorts.

However, 65 per cent like how easy and relaxing an all-inclusive can be.

Brad Davies with Virtually There Travel says what he’s seen is in line with the findings. He’s found people who stay at their resorts tend to be younger, adding those travellers often do that because of the fixed price.

“The trend I’m seeing — I’m going to call them the ‘seasoned travellers’ — they’ve done the all-inclusives every other year for the past 15 or 20 years. What seems to be coming up more frequently is they’re involving a charity component,” he tells us, noting some people help out with local infrastructure projects or help teach English.

“It can be before or after the holiday, and the reason for that is they feel a responsibility to put back, and then they tack on an all-inclusive holiday at the beginning or at the end.”

“The reason I say they’re ‘seasoned travellers’ is they tend to be retired or semi-retired, and they’ve got more time to both enjoy a holiday and to put back as well,” he explains.

“Many people, when they go down to an all-inclusive resort, they have intentions of spending say, three or four days in the resort and doing a couple of days trips,” adds Davies.

“But once they get involved in the swing of things in the resort and they see the activity calendar, they very seldom wander past the front gate. And in some cases, that’s a lack of experienced travelling. In other cases, it’s a language barrier. But again, as travelers mature, they recognize that it’s a brave new world out there, and there’s lots of things to see and do; they can enjoy the all-inclusive holiday as a base and then send out almost reconnaissance parties for a day or so, and just have a look at the local culture — maybe visit a local school.”

Davies says the limiting factor is time, adding if someone is starting their career and doesn’t have much time off, they’re more likely to spend all their time in the sun. If someone is older and has more vacation time, they’re more likely to spend time at a resort and helping out in the community.