A pool swirls around outside my balcony. The waves of the Pacific rock me to sleep at night. Unlimited food, towels and sun seem to be the motto at all inclusive resorts. Not that I’m complaining about these perks, but I keep having this sensation I am somewhat trapped here.
I look around the pool at my all-inclusive resort in Ixtapa, Mexico. The crowd is mostly English speaking, but a few Mexican tourists seem to have come here for a winter break. I can hardly believe it’s winter here as I load up on my SPF 70 sunscreen. Older couples and families make up this crowd. Toss in a few honeymooners and you have the all-inclusive resort picture. They would never have to leave the resort. Everything is here.
While I would normally be quick to criticize all-inclusive resorts, I cannot make judgments. It is not uncommon in the travel world to hear travelers groan about these places, saying that the package tours are not traveling. They may not be the travel experiences most of us look for, but for some people it is all the traveling they are comfortable with in life.
I am all about stepping outside your comfort zone when you travel. Try new foods. Go where you haven’t been. Talk to a stranger. However, some people can’t. Most in America get two weeks of vacation and would just like to relax and not step outside comfort zones. The all-inclusive resort is perfect for them.
When you work all day and possibly night, you just want to relax on your free time. If that means lying by the pool with book in hand for a week, so be it. I am in no position to judge these people. While I may find the all-inclusive resort a bit suffocating, somewhat bland and boring, I recognize my travel style is just different.
Even though I am at this resort, I think you can make the most of the experience. I just swam for an hour. Was it relaxing and refreshing? Sure. A simple walk down the beach is in itself an experience. With parasailing and waves knocking down grown men, it is a time to clear one’s head and appreciate the coolness of water after walking across hot sand.
You watch as people order fruity drinks and just soak it all in. It is an experience for them, one of reward and luxury. As the sun stings my skin, I am grateful to be near a pool complete with underwater tunnels. I may not be having a rich cultural experience on the resort’s grounds, but for moments, I am fine with that. Travel doesn’t have to be crammed with stepping outside your comfort zone and going off to a jungle somewhere with just your backpack. Sometimes it is just the act of getting away, of placing your mind in a new setting, that can lend you the perspective you were looking for on the trip. Travel how you will and leave the all-inclusive resort goers alone. Perhaps one day they will want to do something different, but in the mean time, cocktails and buffets are calling.
What do you think of all-inclusive resorts and the people that stay at them? Is it traveling?