Binge drinking Brits, bad entertainment and a buffet full of chips. I’ve got to be honest. These are a few of the things that first pop into my head when I think of the term package holiday. And I’m not alone, right?
For people with a passion for travel, going on holiday opens up many more possibilities than just getting a tan and drinking copious amounts of Pina Coladas (but don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy this from time to time). I’ve experienced package holidays myself, but now that my travel obsession has become my career, I couldn’t think of anything worse than flying to a beautiful destination and never leaving the four walls of the resort. For us travel loving folk, going on holiday means seeing a new part of the world, rediscovering our sense of adventure and digging our teeth into a new culture. So does that mean package holidays are totally off the radar for us?
All-inclusive gurus First Choice got in touch with me to see if they could change my mind about the classic package holiday myths that I have picked up over the years. As part of a campaign to try and convert non-package holiday believers like myself, they whisked away a family of 4 to the 5* Baia Lara resort in Antalya, Turkey. First Choice created a documentary of their trip and they sent me the final video to see if the families’ experience could change my views.
I watched the video and could relate to most of the couple’s reasons why they avoided booking package holidays. They thought that all-inclusive resorts are full of bad food, no culture, brashness, loudness and are untidy – all fair points I thought. So I was interested to see if their perceptions would change after experiencing the holiday.
Once out in sunny Turkey it looked like they had a great experience and despite it being buffet restaurants in the hotel, they said that the standard of food was excellent. Food for me is a huge part of travelling and I couldn’t think of anything worse than eating plain old British food whilst away. I was really pleased to see that the buffet restaurants were serving authentic Turkish dishes, and that the décor of the hotel had Turkish influences too.
The family went on boat trip day excursion during their trip which allowed them to get out of the resort and actually see a bit of the surrounding area of Antalya. I adore boats and being surrounded by the sea, so this looked totally up my street! It’s great to see that experiences and excursions like this are available on an all-inclusive holiday, but of course it’s not part of the all-inclusive cost, which is probably why a lot of holidaymakers avoid it. Total shame as day trips like that can often be a holiday highlight!
That said, some specialist hotels these days offer some amazing activities included in the hotel stay. I spent a week at Sivota Bay The Retreat in Greece this June and whilst it wasn’t all inclusive, it did include unlimited water sports within the hotel such as water skiing, wind surfing, dighy sailing and more. The food was also gorgeous and had a served Greek food from a different region of the country every night. It was amazing, and certainly nothing like the god awful package holiday stereotypes that programmes like ITV’s Benidorm conjure up.
So here lies the big question – would I book an all-inclusive holiday now?
Since seeing the video, I do think it is possible to explore the culture and local surroundings of a package holiday resort. The only thing is you just have to work a little harder to experience it, as being in a huge resort means everything (bars, restaurants, shops) is so conveniently on your doorstep. Although booking an all-inclusive package holiday wouldn’t be my first choice (‘scuse the pun), I think they’re perfect for those looking for a stress free, convenient and good value getaway to have fun in the sun.
JOIN THE DEBATE
Are you an all-inclusive lover or a non believer ?