The Cost Of Tropical All-Inclusive Vacations

Ohh tourism! It’s my favorite thing. I LOVE to travel and have been fortunate to visit beautiful countries around the world.

I remember a few years ago when I was still in college going to my last class before spring break started. I couldn’t wait to get it over with, run to my dorm and pack my bags. Tomorrow I’d be heading to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic that I had saved up for the whole semester.

My last class happened to be a Human Rights lecture. I believe the professor planned the lesson accordingly before leaving us out to travel during our week break.

During that hour and a half we learned about the truth behind tourism. Afterwards, I walked slowly home and had a hard time getting excited to travel.

Instead, I just felt guilty.

Most of the most sought after destinations are in developing countries. Out of the most populated 20 countries visited, 14 of them are underdeveloped.

About 80% of the travelers on vacation are from pretty wealthy countries, like the US, Japan, Canada and some European countries.

These vacationers have certain social norms that are expected. Due to these assumptions, they expect to receive specific resources that are very limited in the country they are vacationing in.

There are a number of serious conflicts that arise from these expectations and harm the locals in the developing countries. The most severe being water consumption.

Boy, are we spoiled off water (I’ll admit I am).

Did you know that on average, one single tourist visiting a developing country consumes equal the amount of water a local in the country uses to produce rice in 100 days in…wait for it…ONE DAY?!


It may sound shocking at first, but if you really give it time and think about it,  this all makes perfect sense.

So many of us love finding travel deals. All-inclusive resort are made to appeal to us because they seem like heaven with a beachside view and awesome sunbathing spot.

The truth is though, these “luxurious” private resorts contain gigantic pools and jacuzzis. Not to mention, how many towels do you use in one day?

One for the pool, maybe another to layout on…oh, and another after a shower. Oh, yeah, and maybe one more for the bathroom floor near the bathtub.

The daily laundry housekeeping alone requires a ton of water use!

Many all-inclusive resorts and cruise line ships also own their own private property on the beach. Only guests are allowed to use this water. No locals allowed!

Then there’s golf, which is a common popular activity on vacation. The courses are gorgeous when you travel!

Well, let’s not forget that in order to maintain a well kept golf course, a lot of water must be consumed to keep the land healthy, beautiful, and eye catching.

So to make more money from keeping it appealing, golf courses use equal amounts of water as a village of 10,000 people, according to the United Nations reports.

Like I had mentioned previously, I love, LOVE, love to travel. Once I win the lottery I’d love to go on a long vacation traveling all over the world.

I have taken many trips in developing countries and have stayed at private resorts, as well as cruise lines. I’m not going to lie about that.

But, I’ve stopped since being awaken with the truth that is hidden.

It can be tempting when I wish to go on a vacation and see an amazing deal on Groupon for Mexico or Puerto Rico at an all-inclusive resort. A deal so stellar that I can afford it! I sometimes daydream about it and try to convince myself to just forget about the facts…but I can’t.

This needs to change, and I cannot support it.

About the author

Jade Mason

  • A lot of these resorts help fuel the economy for these countries but I really wonder what the long term damage of them are.
    I have also been lucky to travel a lot and I have stayed at everything from high end resorts to backpacker places.
    While both offer a different experience, getting out with the locals and doing what the locals do is always so much more rewarding then spending your time wrapped up in seaweed at these resorts.

  • It’s hard to figure out because for some developing countries, tourism is taking over the local’s dependency on agriculture growth. But in underdeveloped countries, many are often dealing also with very corrupt governments…so how much of the money is helping them out from tourism?

    When visiting such countries, like tropical islands that only cost $600 for a week at an all-inclusive resort and/or cruise line there usually aren’t back packing places.

    In my experience when I’ve gone, we’ll ask the hotel where to visit and they always cannot stress enough to stay in the specific zone. If you leave it’s no longer land for tourists. It’s the real country. It’s the life that when you’re vacationing you’re not seeing. You’re seeing a set life experience dressed up. The outskirts are the majority of the country, and are often extremely dangerous and suffering from poverty.

    It’s a sad truth, that I don’t know the remedy for.

  • After Life

    The point of traveling to me has always been to understand the essence and energy of wherever I am traveling to. I don’t get that by exploring in a way specifically designed to make westerners feel pampered.

    I’d rather be out there doing what the locals do, as close as the way they would naturally do it. Learning about their culture and their outlook on life.