[Exposed] The 15 Devils who can make your All-Inclusive Vacay Suck

15 areas where your All-Inclusive Vacation can self-destruct!
15 areas where your All-Inclusive Vacation can self-destruct!

Hope for the ‘Best’ – but have a ‘Plan B’.

Are you heading for sun, sand, sex, and unlimited Dirty Monkeys?

99% of the time, everything goes smoothly and you come home with a tan, great memories, and a grin you can’t wipe off your face.

But 1% of the time the Devils are plotting against you.

In A Nutshell: Be forewarned, there are multiple devils at work trying to make your vacation suck.  Know your rights and have a Plan B.   You probably won’t need it, but if SHTF you will know what to do.

Let’s dig in:

Devil 1. You

  • Are you an expert on the resort you have chosen to spend your hard-earned money?
  • Did you do your research – carefully?
  • Things at vacation destinations can change quickly.
  • It can be as simple as the current General Manager leaves and the new GM sucks.
  • Read lots of recent reviews.

Devil 2. Who you chose to book with.

  • If you book directly with the Resort, see the section Devil 10 on Resorts below.
  • If you use an OTA (Online Travel Agency) then you have to be an expert on your chosen resort.
  • If you use a travel agent, ensure they are an expert on your resort.
  • Notice I did not say Travel Agency.  An Agency cannot be an expert.  It’s a company of people.
  • A person cannot be an expert on (everything) Travel.
  • A person cannot be an expert on every All-Inclusive Resort.
  • But – a person can be an expert on a specific Resort or Resort Chain.
  • Look for someone that specializes in your Resort – and pick their brain – it’s free.

Devil 3. The Supplier of the product that you or your Travel Agent buys through

  • OTA’s and Travel Wholesalers typically buy directly from the Resorts.
  • But OTA’s and Wholesalers work on slim margins.
  • Reputable ones are backed by publicly traded companies.
  • When Covid hit and cancels blew up – it was 3-6 months before your money was refunded.
  • That pissed A LOT of people off.
  • But, most resorts did not refund any faster, and getting through to the resort customer service in a foreign country was brutal.
  • Choose where your product is coming from carefully.

So now you have your trip set up and have made un-emotional, logical decisions on which Suppliers to use.

Congrats.

Let’s get into the individual components:

Devil 4. The Airport

  • Gone are the good old days of showing up for a flight with 10 minutes to spare.
  • TSA lines can be very long – although they are getting better.
  • TSA is using new technology at some airports that do not force you to take out all your electronics, fluids, and shoes off.
  • But if you show up after the time specified by your airline then they can – and will – give away your seat.
  • Covid has created stone-cold customer service staff. They are impenetrable.

Devil 5. The Airline Flight to your destination

  • Oh, what could possibly go wrong?
  • Maybe you’re on one of the 7000 flights canceled this morning.
  • Don’t stand in line – read these tips on What to do if your flight is Canceled.
  • It seems like overkill – but it’s critical you follow these steps – fast.

Devil 6. Hotel Transfers – From the Airport to the Hotel

    • Reconfirm your transfers.
    • Hopefully, you asked if the transfer company your Resort uses is owned by the resort.
  • Some transfer companies outsource their drivers….since the drivers are not employees they can have a bad attitude.
  • If your transfer company blows you off, grabbing a cab is not always easy – the airports don’t like cabs.

Devil 7. Resort Property Owner

  • They develop properties.
  • So they are really good at schmoozing investors, buying land, negotiating with the local officials, and building resorts.
  • It is also their job to choose the Resort Marketing and Resort Management Companies (sometimes they are the same company).
  • If the company they chose does not perform – they can force cost cuts which reduce your service level.
  • Watch reviews closely.

Devil 8. Resort Marketing Company

  • Their job is to keep the resort full of guests.
  • They utilize multiple marketing channels like OTA’s, Wholesalers, Direct Online Marketing, and those emails you get offering 120% off.
  • They build relationships with the retail agencies that sell the most…..
  • If you get to your room and it does not look like the picture…..you have the Resort Marketing Company to blame.

Devil 9. Resort Management Company

  • Their job is to keep you happy and ensure everything from Food Services to Entertainment to Customer issues are handled flawlessly.
  • 90% of All-Inclusive Resorts sell ‘Vacation Clubs’ aka Timeshares.
  • If you’re not having a good time – you don’t pull out your checkbook.
  • Their attitude sets the pace for everything at the resort.

Devil 10. Arriving at the Resort

  • Reconfirm your resort the day before you arrive – and print the email confirmation or send it to your phone.
  • Check-in as early as you can. Don’t arrive late…..you’ll get the scraps.
  • If you have a problem when you check-in, stay cool and let them try to work it out.
  • If what they work out is not acceptable, ask for the Front Desk Manager. There is one on duty at all times.
  • Ask them to put your issue in the Front Desk Log. So if you don’t get things resolved you can wrangle for a refund or credit.
  • We highly suggest you use your phone to tape or video the conversation so nothing can be misconstrued.
  • Be polite….until you can’t….
  • Resorts don’t like people screaming in the lobby.  Just sayin’.

Devil 11. Local Tours

  • This can be a Clusterfargen, – or no fargen at all.
  • There are a lot of moving parts here.
  • Choose a good company – the concierge can give you some assistance.
  • Go to the tour desk upon arrival – and never go right after breakfast, it’s a mob scene.
  • A lot of the Tour Desk people take a siesta once things slow down each morning so they can be hard to find until the afternoon.
  • If you make a bad decision on the tours you take, you’re F’d…so proceed with caution.

Devil 12. Check-out – Leaving the Resort

  • Watch for charges that are not yours.
  • Since it’s All-Inclusive, in most cases it will be spa treatments or a bottle of wine.
  • Just be sure there are no hidden fees. Or new fees that they try to slide by you.

Devil 13. Return Transfers

  • Be SURE you reconfirm your return airport transfers the day before you depart.
  • If it’s a good company you can use their app to reconfirm.
  • If you are using Uncle Fester’s Transfers then find a way to confirm.
  • Transfer companies sometimes outsource their rides….since those drivers are not employees, caring about you is optional.
  • Grabbing a cab to the airport if Uncle Fester is a no-show is not only expensive but you have very little recourse when you get home.
  • You will be going to the airport early..so that 5:00p flight can mean an 11:00a transfer.
  • Don’t expect to get another day at the resort by booking late flights – you are taking a risk. Especially these days.

Devil 14. Airline Flight back home

    • Arrgghh! Not sure what to say here.
    • Wear sneakers and travel with a carry-on unless your PJ is fueled up and waiting for you.
    • We always overpack anyway, don’t we?
  • Every flight our team and I have taken lately has been a connection footrace – or an overnight in the airport.
  • The airlines don’t want to buy you a night in a hotel.
  • So be prepared with this link – (Flyer’s rights)
  • If you booked through a Travel Agency and your flight is delayed/canceled etc…the Airline will tell you to call the travel agency.
  • That is bullshit. The Airlines are providing the service. Agencies are just resellers. Read the fine print.
  • Just be careful…..Airline rage can get you in all sorts of trouble these days. Being nice generally will get you want you want.

Devil 15. Bonus problem – Mother Nature.

  • Mother Nature can be a bitch.
  • Travel when she is on vacation – which in the Caribbean and Mexico is Nov – April.
  • And chose resorts in places like Cabo or Aruba where it seldom rains.
  • You don’t get your money back if she rains on your parade.

I hope all this helps.

And you now know all the nooks and crannies that issues can hide in.

Travel Safe and Stay Thirsty!

~Jake

P.S.  FYI…..My team and I have been traveling all during this pandemic. 

I felt safer in Mexico, the DR or Jamaica – than I do here in Scottsdale AZ.

The people in tourism-driven countries are trying real hard not to get the spotlight shined on them.

 

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About Jake Johnson 203 Articles
Jake Johnson is a full-time travel bum, who prefers warm climates where the women wear less clothing. We've tried to teach him things like manners and diplomacy, but we've given up and simply rely on our editors to remove the most offensive bits from his articles. We take no responsibility for his inane ramblings opinions - they are his own.
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