Opinion | All-inclusive hotels diminish international experiences

By Dylan Gray, Columnist

International travel is easier and more affordable than ever before for most Americans. However, with that blessing also comes a curse. In addition to predatory travel agencies and “tourist trap” locations designed to simply rob you blind while providing a subpar experience, certain methods of travel feel entirely inauthentic and can even be unhealthy. 

This is most evident in the “all-inclusive” style of travel. This model is particularly prevalent at resorts and on cruises. While it may seem convenient and practical to pay a single lump sum before departure and not have to worry about carrying cash or cards, it also tends to offer poor value. 

All-inclusive hotels in Mexico, for example, start at over $300 per night. This is nearly five times more than many of the hotels in similar areas, even at a decent quality. Additionally, the food offered at these resorts and cruises is frequently inauthentic to the local cuisine and of subpar quality. 

Of course, if one is to pay several hundred dollars a night for unlimited food and alcohol at a resort, it stands to reason they would want to get their money’s worth. Unfortunately this idea of sunk cost often leads to guests binge eating and drinking for entire days, and they consume far more food and alcohol than is safe or necessary. This hyper-consumption can lead to alcohol poisoning, nausea and weight gain, among other adverse effects. Having a large concentration of drunk tourists stuck in one resort or one boat can also lead to general belligerence, including fights and other misconduct.

While it may seem fun at first, a week of nonstop eating and drinking can be very unfulfilling and unhealthy. Is it really worth it to travel to another country if you barely remember any of it once you arrive home? There are so many beautiful sights and historic places to see around the world; it would be a shame to spend so much more to see and do so much less.

Additionally, leaving the resort is less cost-effective due to the large sum spent to stay there. Therefore, people often don’t leave their accommodations, and they will frequently miss out on many of the sights around the resort and the country. This leads to a cookie-cutter experience that could be offered at many domestic resorts.

Finally, these resorts and cruises do not offer a holistic view of the country they are located in but rather a playground for drunk tourists looking to party with friends. While this is not inherently bad, it will often leave you wishing you had experienced more of what the country had to offer. All countries have their own unique customs and plenty of friendly locals willing to help you learn about them. Next time you are planning a trip, save your wallet, your liver and your dignity and travel authentically.

Dylan is a junior in Media.

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