As a frugal travel and credit card rewards expert, people are constantly asking me how to save on family travel. Although my advice varies, I almost always suggest that families at least consider an all-inclusive resort. My husband and I have been to all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, St. Maarten, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico so far. We even took our kids to an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica for Spring Break 2015 – and all on points!
Even though these type of properties have their pitfalls, I think they offer some of the best value out there for families who travel. Think about it. By paying one nightly rate upfront, you can enjoy beaches, pools, entertainment, and all of your drinks and meals for one low price. This type of pricing model makes all-inclusive trips hard to beat when it comes to affordability. Furthermore, all-inclusive properties make the process of creating a vacation budget a breeze. Huzzah.
Does It Make Sense to Retire at an All-Inclusive Resort?
But, are all-inclusive resorts really just for vacation? If it’s really that great of a deal, why not just retire at one?
This thought crossed my mind, recently, when I was pricing out travel to Mexico. Most of the all-inclusive resorts we were considering were only around $120 per night for double occupancy. That’s only $3,600 per month, folks!
Considering the fact that nursing home care for one person now costs more than $6,500 per month (over $80,000 per year) on average in the United States, living my golden years at an all-inclusive resort sounds like a steal. But, would it really work? I think so. Here’s why:
- The nightly room rate would include all of my utilities, cable television, plus all meals and drinks. Aside from some other living expenses that we’ll talk about later, the nightly room rate all-inclusive resorts charge pretty much covers all of your living expenses. By retiring at an all-inclusive resort, I would never have to worry about utility bills, cable bills, rent, or groceries ever again.
- All-inclusive resorts offer plenty of opportunity for recreation. Have you ever been to an all-inclusive resort? There’s all kinds of fun events to take advantage of, and as a retiree, I know I would never get bored. Aside from having a constant stream of vacationers to entertain me, I would have access to yoga, aqua gym, and pools to swim in, plus the beach and ocean. Some all-inclusive resorts even have kayaks and paddle boats you can use for free.
- No long-term commitment. If I ever got tired of enduring the same “theme nights” over and over, I could just switch things up. After a year or two in Mexico, I could migrate over to Punta Cana or Montego Bay if I wanted. Same deal there, just a change of scenery.
It’s true that retiring at an all-inclusive resort seems fairly affordable, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t come without its challenges. Health care and health insurance, for example, could be hard to come by in a foreign country where I don’t have citizenship. Speaking of that, certain countries only allow you to visit for a few months at a time, which might mean having to switch destinations each time my time ran out.
Other downfalls I can think of include laundry. While some all-inclusive resorts have on-site laundry facilities, not all of them do. Furthermore, I would have to get a cell phone plan that included lots of time for international phone calls or just buy a prepaid phone in each country I traveled to. Either way, that could be a pain.
And let’s face it; I’m not sure I want to end up a drunk in old age. With 24/7 access to alcohol, nowhere to be, and nothing to do, I could see myself getting into a whole lot of trouble.
The Bottom Line
When you think about it, retiring at an all-inclusive resort isn’t such a bad idea. And at age 65, I’m pretty sure a beach chair, a good book, and a constant stream of mojitos won’t sound half-bad. Plus, think of all the people-watching I could do over the years – all the wild spring-breakers and drunk soccer moms I would see. Good times.
I guess it’s too early to plan, but I’m definitely adding the all-inclusive option to my list. It sure beats a retirement home, and it would be a whole lot cheaper to boot.
Would you ever retire at an all-inclusive resort? Why or why not?