I did it – to the disgust of a few travel snobs I know – I went on an all-inclusive holiday to Sharm el Sheikh courtesy of easyJet holidays. It was cool y’know. A free bar for 12 hours a day, you get to try different foods, no worries about carrying any money round, a fun pool, great staff at the hotel, and sun loungers you could sink into and soak up the sun from.
During the 7 days I was there I did notice a few things though, a few things that shook my core and made me question humanity…
Without a doubt, every day at every meal time, the other holidaymakers would race down to the restaurant as soon as it opened and pile their plates high with at least three of everything. And not just one plate. I like to eat, but I was literally appalled by the gluttony of the other guests. And the fact that most of it was wasted at the end sickened me all the more. If you’re not going to eat all the red jelly, why take so much so there’s none left for anyone else? (yes I am bitter)
All those quips I’d heard about guests getting up early to mark their sun loungers are true. I couldn’t believe it. I was up at 8am on some days to scuba dive in the Red Sea, take my mum snorkelling, and get to the Savoy Hotel in time for my spa treatment and 80% of the sun loungers were taken. On the two mornings that I did spend by the hotel pool no one came out to use them until at least 10, I call that greed. They must’ve actually got up early from their hotel bed to bag their sun lounger so no one else could have one. Rude.
It’s hard to motivate yourself on an all-inclusive holiday. Your food’s there when you want it, waiters bring you drinks as soon as your glass is finished and the hours just while away sat around the pool. It’s easy to stay in the complex all week without ever feeling the need to get out – well it was for my fellow guests. Some of them had been there for two weeks and not left the hotel. This is very, very wrong. I’ll admit on to occasions me and mum got up late, slept by the pool and then had an afternoon snooze in the air conditioning of our room to top it off. But for the other days we were out and about exploring.
You need to get out of your hotel for two very big reasons:
- To actually see some of the place you’re staying, not just the hotel.
- To invest in the local businesses rather than what are often foreign-owned huge hotels.
Lusting after things at home and home comforts seemed to be a big problem from chatting to my new friends around the pool. McDonalds, KFC, their comfy clothes, the internet, the way their mum made gravy – holidays are the time to leave these things alone and experience a new way of life. The trouble is, when you’ve locked yourself up in an all-inclusive there’s nothing to fill your mind. In my eyes, one of the most important aspects of travelling is to leave it all behind and experience something new, not lust after the home comforts.
“Her omelette was definitely bigger than mine.”
“I was stood at the bar for ages then as soon as a local came up, they served her right away.”
When I was on my all-inclusive holiday in Sharm el Sheikh, I often overheard guests quip a few variations of the above. The key thing to remember here is that you’re not actually in any rush, what for? Your sun lounger? And that you can just go and get another omelette for god’s sake – see Greed above.
Being too proud to go on an all-inclusive holiday is a sin in my eyes. I’ve gotten a lot of stick for one minute camping in the Serengeti in Tanzania, and the next chavving it up at an all-inclusive in Sharm el Sheikh, but it was great.
Another pride-related sin on an all-inclusive holiday is not making the most of the free bar and free activities. Sadly I was so hot and not feeling my best I only made the most of the unlimited gin and tonics on two nights, we also joined in the aqua aerobics and highly discounted trip to Soho Square put on by the hotel. Never be too proud to say yes when it comes to all-inclusive holidays, but only take what you need.
This is the deadly sin I was most guilty of in Sharm el Sheikh. The evening entertainment was horrendous and the constant noise sent me crazy – my mum felt my wrath. They had karaoke night which is awful at the best of times, but when you’ve got a group of Russians belting out the local hits at Wembley-style volume until midnight, that’s when it really gets bad. They were having a great time, I know, but I wasn’t.
There were belly dancers, hot coal walkers, comedy sketches and fire-eaters, none of which impressed me. The trouble with an all-inclusive holiday is that you hand over all control. You can’t choose where you eat, drink, do anymore, or what you listen to at night.
All-inclusive holidays are great, but make sure you get out of the complex at least half the time you’re there.