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7 Deadly Sins of an All-Inclusive Holiday

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…

1. Gluttony

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.

The Market on Las Ramblas

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)

2. Greed

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.

travel after the virus

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.

3. Sloth

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.

Relaxing in the pool in Elounda on a crete holiday

I’ll admit on two 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:

  1. To actually see some of the place you’re staying, not just the hotel.
  2. To invest in the local businesses rather than what are often foreign-owned huge hotels.

4. Lust

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.

A tray of food Description automatically generated

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.

5. Envy

“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.”

hogs for the cause

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.

6. Pride

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 living 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.

best winter sun destinations

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.

7. Wrath

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.

singing on holiday

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.

The trouble with all-inclusive holidays

All-inclusive holidays are great, but make sure you get out of the complex at least half the time you’re there, or you might as well save your money and get an all inclusive bar in at home!

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Janey

Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Very true... but more so in the cheaper all inclusive hotels. I like to do one all-inclusive a year, one city break and one adventure. I can bet you would enjoy a proper 5* all inclusive hotel where it's much more relaxed and civilised, so there's no greedy plate filling, bagsying sun loungers or naff entertainment. I normally stay at resorts around the caribbean and central America and I love having a taste of luxury and decadence, but will leave the hotel every other day for a day trip x

VickyFlipFlop

Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Yeah that's a good way of doing it. I couldn't believe some of the other guests on this trip piling their plates up! I wonder how current events will affect all-inclusives. I doubt it'll be the same for a long time to come.

Ligeia

Monday 15th of April 2013

Great post. I've never gone on an all-inclusive vacation and I've been wondering recently if I might like it and that perhaps I should try it. I must though that your post really confirms all the things (and more) that I worried about. I don't think I would like it. I'll re-visit the idea later in life perhaps but for now I'll stick with the "roam around with no particular plans" kind of travel, which of course causes some stress but the rewards seem to be worth it. Happy travels no matter what kind they may be. :)

Vicky

Monday 15th of April 2013

Thanks Ligeia. I think all inclusives definitely have a purpose, but I agree, they're not my holiday of choice. And I worry about the effect they have on the local economy and people. Stick to supporting local businesses I say.

Elle-Rose Williams

Friday 22nd of March 2013

This is a great piece :) I always associate all inclusive holidays with families and I can see why families always opt for this as it must make the whole parenting thing so much easier if you have a kids club, activities and food readily lined up for the kids. In fact, I can imagine myself booking an all-inclusive holiday when I have kids of my own.

Right now though, I hate the idea. Whilst it must be the ultimate in relaxation - I just love exploring local restaurants and districts too much to restrict myself to the resort only. xx

Vicky

Sunday 24th of March 2013

I'm torn. All-inclusive holidays are so bad for the environment and the local community when you really look into them, I find it hard to accept them and to enjoy them knowing that some fat cat is getting fatter while the locals suffer. I think like anything you need to go into it with your eyes wide open and question anything you don't agree with.

kim

Thursday 21st of March 2013

I'm in love with this! Why? because not only do i agree with EVERYTHING... I've actually stayed in that *cough*prisonHOTEL myself on a family holiday to celebrate my dad's retirement; I recognise the hotel room and the swan towel formations.

Meal time sickened me, as did my surprising homesickness for the UK, because there was nothing at all to do.

Vicky

Sunday 24th of March 2013

Ha, you know which one it is?! Did everyone get sick while you were there too?

Anita Mac

Wednesday 6th of March 2013

I love you 7 deadly sins! I am an adventure person at heart, but have to admit - I am a fan of the all inclusive as well! There is something to be said for a little R&R. I whole heartedly agree with you though....there is no need to fill 3 plates of food and waste most of it! There is nothing wrong with going back up for a second plate - but if you become full, you can never put that extra food back! Growing up with a mother telling me that there were starving children in Africa, I could not imagine wasting so much!

I agree whole heartedly with the get off the resort plan! I could not imagine being a sloth for a full week - even if that is a little of my plan! Get off and actually see something of the island or destination. My last trip to an all inclusive had me going so stir crazy that I was going jogging off the resort just to get out! Did 2 day trips and loved them but that wasn't enough! Was great to be able to support the local businesses off the resort too!

Guess, for some, 7 days of sloth is perfect...for the rest of us, we just have to find the right balance!