So I have traveled for some time now. I’m used to planning everything on my own and travel all by myself. Every trip from Namibia to the USA to the Middle East was something I planned on my own without any travel agencies helping me.
When I was younger I went to a lot of All Inclusive trips with my family and stayed at the most luxurious of resorts, including the infamous Hunter Chalets in Morzine. We often went to Spain or Greece for holidays and didn’t have to worry about much else than enjoying the vacation weeks and relax.
Now, where I’ve grown bigger I still love traveling. It’s fun to plan a dream trip and get the lowest price possible. I’ve always felt like I was used to traveling and traveling on my own has never been a problem.
This year was the first time in the last many, many years where I went on an All Inclusive holiday. I was really excited about going to Egypt with my boyfriend and dive in the Red Sea. Many things were planned, like snorkeling, diving, shopping, sightseeing, beaches, boat trips etc. But when we arrived I actually didn’t feel like I was that far away from home.
I’m from Denmark and went from Copenhagen to Sharm El Sheikh. In the aircraft there were only Danish tourists, which was okay since it was charter. On the bus tour and at the hotel I recognized all the danish voices. There were so many Danish people around all the time. I felt a bit weird since I went all this way to Egypt, and all people were still speaking danish.
It was not a complete disaster to meet that many danish couples around. They were nice and friendly. And we also had some good talks with them. It was just that I didn’t feel that I was in Egypt as much as I had hoped for.
When I usually travel I like to feel like a local. Living at a friends house, go to the places that the locals go to. At least that was what I did in Dubai, Istanbul, Munich and US Virgin Islands. I always stayed at friends houses when it was possible.
But this time I felt that most of it was just a facade, where I didn’t get to meet the real Egyptians. Of course, I could do my research and find out that Sharm El Sheikh was a tourist destination. But I honestly didn’t think about it. I didn’t remember how touristy the All Inclusive trips could be.
When I came back home, my mom asked me about the trip. I told her that I didn’t feel like I was in the real Egypt due to all the Danish tourists. It wasn’t what I was used to. My mom immediately told me that I couldn’t expect to be a local and feel home in every country I visit. For some people it’s still a big thing to go on an All Inclusive trip. It’s vacation, it’s still Egypt and the weather was nice. What more would I expect?
And yes, I just missed the feeling of being “one of them”.
But I guess she’s right. It’s not wrong to go on a vacation like that. It’s still traveling even though everything is planned and taking care of for you. At the hotel there’s a guide that you use as your mom, when you experience some problems. Isn’t that a good thing? No worries during your vacation. For some people it’s a relief. To me it was like being inside a cage, where somebody told me what I’m not allowed to do, because my danish travel insurance doesn’t cover all of Egypt.
At the same time I felt like all the locals knew Denmark, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But most of the times it’s just because all tourists are from there. In other places of the world people have never heard of Denmark before. They know Scandinavia and that’s enough for me.
I must say, I was a bit disappointed about going All Inclusive. However, I had a very, very nice week with my boyfriend. We really enjoyed the week together. It was kind of nice to have a guide, who would fix everything for you. There were really no responsibilities.
Once in a while it’s okay to go on an All Inclusive trip. To me one week is more than enough. I know it’s possible to plan your own vacation even though you bought all inclusive. But I guess it was just the guidelines of the guide that I didn’t like that much. I felt she talked to me as if Egypt was the first country I’ve traveled to.
Next year I might go on an All Inclusive trip again with my boyfriend. But only once every year. The rest has to be planned to the fullest by me (and him). I love checking cheap flights, nice hotels and finding out how to get around. And maybe even get lost and explore new places. I don’t need everything to be planned ahead. To be spontaneous is more like me.
What do you think? Do you prefer All Inclusive or Plan-It-Yourself trips?