To go AI or non AI? | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

What do you prefer and why? Does it make a difference to what country/island you’re travelling to in order to make the decision to go all inclusive or not? The first few times we travelled south, we stayed at All Inclusives, just because it’s so easy and convenient to book them as a package! But after 3 or 4 different AI’s, we decided it’s not really for us and from then on we book our flights and accommodations separate.

I’m just curious to see what the reasoning is for you to book either All Inclusive or not.

I like going all inclusive because I know up front what it is going to cost me. Not having to sort out things like transfers from airport to hotel, or wondering whether it makes sense to rent a car is nice. Also, if you shop for a deal it is pretty hard to beat AI travel. I have seen packages that are cheaper than air only! Because I often travel solo, it is nice to know that the details are taken care of. I have the freedom to venture off resort if I so desire, including overnight stays at Casas if that makes sense to me, while knowing I have a guaranteed roof over my head if plans don’t work out.

I can totally see your point and I think it all has to do with what you want in a vacation (or for us it’s actually more the difference between ‘vacation’ and ‘travelling’.)For me, a big part of the fun is researching the country, the different places to stay, finding out about transport etc. I think as a solo traveler and also if you go on vacation with kids, AI’s are the way to go. It is very convenient just to eat and drink whenever you feel like it, if you don’t like the food, you can leave it, without feeling too bad about it and it’s handy not to bring your wallet to the restaurants.For us, we found that basically most AI’s are about the same, it’s hard to distinguish an AI in Mexico from one in say Cuba or the Dominican. We prefer to see more of the countryside, experience local cultures, local restaurants and markets etc. I know, you can do that too if you stay at an AI, but usually that’s a one day organized excursion and we really don’t like those organized trips. The other thing we’ve found too, that when you stay at an AI and you take say 2 or 3 excursions in a week, you pay double for those days (you pay for the excursions plus the day at the resort, even though you’re not there).

I’m not saying there is a wrong or right way about it, just a different opinion

Cuba, my go to south destination, is all about the beach for me. Since the resorts seem to be on the best beaches, that works out well. I don’t do a lot of excursions. I have gone to Havana from Jibacoa, but that is easily done on your own timetable by hiring a guide and/or driver. Much better than the bus tours. I’ve seen some of the Cuban countryside and towns with resort staff I have gotten to know, and also enjoyed meals off resort in Cuban homes, but mostly I go for the beaches. Snorkelling, sailing, and beach walking take up most of my time, and an AI is perfect for that.

Travelling to other destinations I would be less likely to go AI. Back in the day, I hitchhiked through Europe with a friend, staying in some pretty sketchy walk up hotels. And I have seen a lot of Canada driving my own car, both solo and with friends.

We do AI always. And we don’t do organized tours. If at an unfamiliar place to us, we meet fellow guests who are of the same mind; we get together and plan a tour to XYZ. Than we ask around for a van (sometimes just a car, depends upon how many people are involved), with driver. The driver will stop when we see something interesting, he will make suggestions about places we should see or paladars we may be interested in, etc. When we’re through our tour all passengers pay equally; and each couple is responsible for their tip to the driver. So we have the freedom to drop the local cathedral, market, etc. We can have a long lunch or just keep going; we don’t have to wait for stragglers to come back to the bus. And it is a heck of lot more fun and a lot cheaper than going on an organized tour with everything laid out. Eeeefarm has the right approach as far as I’m concerned.

how do you find those other guests with the same interests? Just curious, like I said we’ve been to a few AI’s before in the past, but usually we don’t mingle too much with other resort guests.

how do you find those other guests with the same interests? Just curious, like I said we’ve been to a few AI’s before in the past, but usually we don’t mingle too much with other resort guests. Some people are very social and know everyone at a small resort in a day or two. My snorkel buddy’s husband is like that. For those of us who aren’t, letting staff members know you are looking for someone with a similar interest in a private tour may help you find them. (some staff have a vested interest in putting people together, especially the ones who can set you up with the driver to do the tour)

haha, I see. Both hubby and myself are pretty much introverts, so we only socialize with other guests to a certain level!

We go all inclusive as well non all inclusive. If we stay with families or we want to explore different parts of the country where they do not offer all inclusive we rent accommodations and enjoy on our own. All inclusive is great if you have certain budget and you do not want to get any surprises but it doesn’t mean that is the cheapest way to enjoy your vacation. In some countries / areas we feel more safe if we are in all inclusive and stay there specially traveling with kids. So personally we love both options and we will travel all inclusive and on our own in the future.

When I was a lot younger and more active, I preferred travelling around, especially in Europe, walking for miles, sleeping on trains, getting off the beaten track, etc. I only discovered A.I’s a few years ago, and now as a senior with some mobility issues I find them absolutely ideal !! I love being able to just unpack once, get settled in, and enjoy the fact that someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning !! I love a nice beach, and the Ocean to swim in….all that, and a couple of good books, and I am perfectly happy !! Have met some very nice people at each of the A.I’s I have stayed at in Cuba, and am just planning my next trip as we speak.

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