Hello! I’m Vanessa and over at Random Thoughts & Acronyms I write about money, vacations and my plans to leave Montreal once and for all.
Since Michelle is on vacation this week and I love vacationing, I’m going to write about the hidden costs about “all-inclusive” vacations.
The first all-inclusive I took was to Varadero, Cuba and cost about 400$ for 4 days. Not bad, I thought! When I got there however, I found out that Cubans are especially notorious for asking for money and tips. On my second all-inclusive trip, I went to Samana in the Dominican Republic.
- 1$ to tip the woman who brought me water every meal at the buffet.
- 1$ as a tip for every drink that I had.
- 2$ tip each day to the maid who tidied my room.
- Each excursion that I took required a tip of 5$
- On a horseback riding excursion, the tour guide recommended that we tip the horse-owner 20$!
• A trip to Havana cost me 80$
• A “jeep safari” cost me another 80$
• The horseback riding excursion cost me 90$
At a resort, there are always extras that you can take advantage of in order to have a nicer trip. These include:
- Specialty dinners either offered by the resort or in a local town (50-100$)
- Imported drinks and drinks from outside of the resort usually run about 5$
- Spa/massages (50$+)
- Motorized sports (50$+)
- Room safe: The last resort I went to stressed that there had been robberies in the rooms but long-term guests said that they’d never heard of any. We decided to be cautious and it cost us 15$
- Bottles of alcohol can range from 2$+ depending on the quality and bottle size
- Cigars: If you are able to haggle you should be able to pick up a pack for maybe 0.75$/cigar
- Souvenirs! I love scavenging souvenir shops in each city that I visit and always buy a fridge magnet. If you get caught up in all the kitschy things, you will fill up your suitcase and have to leave your umbrella behind in your hotel room (not that that’s ever happened to me… :P)
Since I live in an area that isn’t too sunny, all-inclusive vacations usually entail the purchase of small things that I don’t really have lying around
- Sunscreen – I discovered that Dollarama sells SPF 45 which is a Godsend since the only other time that I bought sunscreen I spent 13$ for a teeny-tiny bottle
- Flip flops – Old Navy had a sale two months ago, 2 pairs for 6$!
- Bathing suit. Don’t ask me why I didn’t have a bathing suit… I also don’t have a beach towel but they’re usually included at all-inclusives
- Aloe – I burn so quickly and aloe is the only thing that I’ve found effective
- Sunglasses. My brother broke my only pair last summer and I didn’t replace them until the weekend before I left for the Dominican :S
So, finally I will leave you with Vanessa’s Travel Tip. When faced with exorbitant food costs past airport security, go to duty free and buy a bag of M&Ms. The peanut ones are caloric enough to sustain you until you get fed on the plane but at only 10$ a bag, it’s an amazing value!
My comment: I’ve never been on an all-inclusive vacation but I have definitely thought about it. $400 for 4 days sounds like a great deal, but tips and other costs definitely add up!