How to Survive an All-Inclusive Family Vacation as a Traveler

December, 2013

Growing up my family vacations consisted of camping, and visiting my family on Vancouver Island. I had only shared a plane ride with my sister, and one with my mom to the island, if that even counts. Recently, schedules, commitments, and finances aligned and allowed my family to go on an over seas vacation. As you may have guessed, my idea of travel and vacation is a bit different from my parents. When I heard I was to spend my free few weeks in an all-inclusive resort in Mexico,  I was skeptical.

If you’re like me and see all-inclusive resorts in the same league as poetic dystopias just as easily as most see them, as utopias, you’ll understand the title of this post. The bizarre social phenomenon left me uneasy and questioning the global and local social structures, power balances, and  environmental value the resorts reflected. Regardless, I was getting on a plane, which I am always happy to do, however this time was with my family, maybe the only time I would have such a privileged, and I needed to find a way to embrace it.

This is how I had a wonderful time:

 1. Get perspective- turn off your skepticism and social inquisitive brain and embrace the opportunity to have no deadlines, stresses, decisions or to-do list. Seriously, my biggest stress on the trip was deciding what drink to have next.



2. Do the things you love to do but don’t get to do enough at home, preferably on the beach- for me, this was reading fiction that pulls you into another world so deeply that you forget where you are, and practicing asana and meditation.


3. Enjoy what the resort has to offer- Food, drinks, hammocks, entertainment shows, sports, etc etc.- Grabbing a football to throw around with my sister was one of my favorite activities on the beach.


4. Escape!!! – Hop in a taxi and drive to the closest thing to authentic Mexican culture you can find. Discover the Mayan history, do yourself a favor and eat a churros from a street vendor, find tacos, hot sauce, and see how the locals live. Make friends.






5. When you can’t escape, find something natural to appreciate within the resort- This can be hard when the beaches are raked, sidewalks are swept, the churros aren’t real churros, and people are uber tanned, and let’s be honest, there are some fake bits in bathing suits on the beach. For me, sunsets and animals were my haven.











6. Take siestas as needed- My favorite was nuzzled in a hammock.


7. Pick up some Spanish and find some beautiful words.



8. Enjoy activities and meals together, and apart- Having all five of us together for so long was a blessing. I was given opportunities to get to know my family members on a more personal level and within a totally new setting. Although the intention of a family vacation is experiences together, it is important to take your alone time. Everyone will benefit.





9. Unplug- Enjoy the freedom of turning off the screens and electronics, and instead, appreciate the colours of Mexico.






10. Drink plenty of cervezas- but not too many. I know it’s included but be easy on the tequila and remember the delicious pina coladas and bahama mamas are a great hangover recipe. Drink lots of water and don’t spend all your mornings hungover.





One thought on “How to Survive an All-Inclusive Family Vacation as a Traveler

  1. I loved reading this Jen! Im so happy that you had such a great time with your family, bonding and enjoying Mexico together. I am a bit hesitant on going to an all inclusive just because we are so healthy I feel like there isn’t any thing there for us to eat. I need my organic food!! That is the one thing that is stopping us from going. My famiy has been going on vacations every year without me! Kyri is still young so that is another reason. Reading this post has changed my mind about travelling there.I need to just enjoy life there and relax! So if we ever get a chance to go I will take it. I love love love all your pictures. You are an amazing photographer! What kind of camera do you have? Maybe all of our families will travel together one day! That would be cool! Hope you had a great Christmas.

    – Love your cousin Mandy


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