While researching for our trip to Cuba, we looked at many options to try and figure out which was the best way to visit. In the end, the most cost efficient way to go was to book an all-inclusive holiday from Canada to Cuba, which for about $1000 (or £600) per person included flights, hotels, food and drinks for a whole week. So not a bad deal! I was never an all-inclusive holiday kind of person but I’d never tried it, so it was an interesting experience. I still don’t think I’m an all-inclusive kind of girl, but I have a better pespective on it now. If you’re also not sure, I’ve put together the pros and cons of all-inclusive holidays below:
>> It’s all thought out for you
If planning stresses you, then this may be the perfect kind of holiday for you. The flights, the bus to the hotel, the hotel, the food, even the activities, are all planned out for you. It’s the perfect way to book while you’re home and really immerse yourself in your trip without having to stress about it while you’re there.
>> No need to spend your time cooking
This was a big one for my dad. We were thinking of booking a self-catering place in Cuba but because he cooks at home he wanted a holiday where he didn’t have to think about cooking for everyone every day. This was perfect for him. We got fed on time every day and could appreciate just sitting, eating and being together.
>> You can focus on relaxing
Since everything is thought out for you and planned out, it’s the perfect kind of holiday if you want to really relax. You have your room, which they can clean every day, they tell you when food is served, so you only gotta show up, and the pool and beach are a few meters away. You can just lie around and enjoy the sun (but put sunscreen on!).
>> Good deals
One of the biggest incentive for this kind of holiday for me was the price. Coming from the UK, we were thinking of flying direct from London to Cuba and booking an airbnb. However the cost ended up being better to fly to Canada and then get the package holiday. At 1000$ or about £600 per person for a week in a hotel, including flights, food and drinks, it’s a great deal!
>> It’s all thought out for you
Yes I know it’s the same one as the ‘pro’, but bear with me. I particularly enjoy planning holidays. I actually plan dream holidays just for fun. Booking a holiday through an agent felt freeing but also like I didn’t have anything to do or research, which was weird.
>> Stuck with tourists and tourists alone
So, let’s be frank, this kind of holiday attracts a certain kind of person. Maybe you’re one of them, and that’s okay. I’m not here to say they are terrible, but I’m just not that kind of person.
We went to Cuba for Cuba first and foremost, for the adventures and the discoveries. The sun and relaxation are bonuses! But we saw the people who never left the pool side, and those who told the guides to speak French/English for their convenience. It felt like the people had come on this holiday with blinders and not with an adventurous spirit. Which is okay, but we felt out of place amongst that group.
>> Buffet food
Just before we left, the Brit was at the barbers and a guy had come back from Cuba and was talking about how bad the food was and how he ate pizza the whole time. We laughed that he was very Scottish and left it at that. But, and I hate to be that girl, the food wasn’t good. Buffet food is often a bit lacking because it takes a lot to cater for 100s of people. But just generally it was lacking a lot of spices and seasoning. It was all very flat and bland. My father who was so happy not to have to cook was desperate for some spices.
>> Non-stop advertising from the company
Another wee thing that irked me on this holiday was the fact that the company that we booked the packaged holiday with kept trying to sell us stuff. On the plane, upon arrival, through the week. And really expensive stuff too! There was some interesting stuff of course, but I would have rather they told us once and advertised it on a wall in the hotel instead of keep hammering it in.
>> Not being able to enjoy the city
Packaged holidays are often in slightly remote places, outside cities, where the beaches are magnificent and the water cleaner. This is great and peaceful, but it also means you can’t get the real experience in that country. We had to book ourselves a stay in Havana to make sure we got to see the capital. Most people we talked to, people who came back years after years, had never gone to see Havana, which is sad.
Have you ever been on a packaged holiday? What was your experience?xx