All Inclusive resorts are ideal for quick vacations where you just want to relax on the beach and have everything taken care of for you. They’re also great when you intend to spend most of your vacation absorbed in a romantic interlude with your partner.
When your goal is to see a variety of different things or travel around a country, an All Inclusive resort isn’t always the best choice.
You can stay at hotels but that can get expensive, especially if all your meals are being eaten at restaurants. It can be painful to see your breakfast bill each morning when all you really wanted was a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee.
Timeshares and owner rental pools are becoming increasingly common. They offer a nice option for people intending to travel around or stay in one place for a longer period.
I’ve stayed in condominium units that are rented out in various places including Spain, California, Florida, and, most recently, Belize.
The place in Spain was a private apartment rented out by the owner of the home. She had brochures and maps available for us as well as free laundry facilities and lots of suggestions on driving routes, places to see, etc.
The two in the United States were both time shares and were not that different from resorts except you didn’t have free bar and restaurant privileges.
The one in Belize, Sapphire Beach, was part of a rental pool. It too was a resort type location only it was on a private beach. The management and staff were absolutely excellent, offering lots of advice and helping us locate and book tours that we wanted to go on.
There are many advantages to renting a condo unit. Here are some of the ones that may make it more useful to you on your next vacation.
#1: Better monitoring possible
I travel frequently with my teenage nephews, both of whom look older than they are.
I accept that they are going to drink some alcohol while we are on vacation. Both are or were at the time of travel, close to the age of majority and I’m not silly enough to think they never drink.
However, at All Inclusives both tend to get served without question leading to more drinking than I would like.
Call me old-fashioned but I like to have at least some say on how much they indulge. That is a lot easier when we’re sharing a unit and tend to travel together than it is if they are wandering around a resort where alcohol is constantly available.
#2: Cheaper meals
Eating at restaurants can get very expensive and the food at many All Inclusives isn’t always suitable if you have special dietary needs.
Most condo units have a full kitchen, including fridge, stove, microwave, and utensils. This means you can do some or all of your own cooking.
This is particularly nice when it comes to breakfast and lunch and you would just like something light. It’s also great for late night snacking.
#3: Same amenities
Most condominium units are part of a group that has a pool at a minimum. If they don’t have a restaurant on site, they are generally located near a well-populated area with lots of restaurants and stores.
There is a bit more privacy because there are usually fewer people and at least some of the people reside there, so they aren’t out to spend all their time partying as much as possible. They’re quieter neighbours.
Here are a few things you’ll want to consider if you do rent a condominium for your next vacation.
If you intend to travel around, you are likely planning on renting a vehicle and location may not be as important a detail. If you intend to walk though, you will want to make sure that it is centrally located to stores and public transit.
Carrying your groceries a few blocks can be difficult for some and awkward at the very least. There is also no point in being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to get anywhere other than a taxi.
Do not trust the advertisement, look it up on a map and make inquiries.
#2: What is included
Most units have kitchen utensils and bedding at a minimum. Some also have towels, etc. Ask in advance.
You do not want to arrive and discover you have no sheets and you bought food that requires pots and pans you don’t have to cook it in. Some places include regular cleaning, especially if they are part of a resort.
Private rentals can be great but they can also be a bit of a crapshoot. Whenever possible look for recommendations and reviews. Like a hotel, things like cleanliness and staff are very important to most people.
No place has a 100% perfect rating but watch for trends. If everyone is saying it’s a dive, chances are good you won’t be thrilled with it.
Some places are adults only while others are geared towards families. Are you staying at party central or a retirement villa?
Think of the things you want to do and the atmosphere you enjoy. If you’re planning on a quiet, romantic vacation you may not want to be surrounded by shrieking children.
Whatever you choose – hotel, condo unit, or All Inclusive – the trick is to do a bit of planning to make sure that your vacation gives you what you are looking for.