Middle Class Problems: All-inclusive holidays have all but destroyed one of the pleasures of foreign travel


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Of course the very idea of taking a holiday presents its own set of middle-class problems. But it's when you've offset your guilt and decided that you really must get away somewhere/anywhere soon, that the fun really starts.

You want to do something worthy and soul-nourishing, but your mind and body insist that what you really need is to do as little as possible. So you investigate options. And what you will mostly discover is that the only hotels/resorts you can afford to go to now operate something called the "all-inclusive" deal.

The first time we heard the phrase, we opted out. We wanted the freedom to explore the region, eat when and where we wanted, and cling on to what we perceived as our independent spirit. Turned out we were miles from anywhere and were the only people there who had chosen to forgo the wristband. Staff looked at us in bewilderment and scrabbled round for menus with think-of-a-number-and-double-it prices on.

We would not make the same mistake again. On our next break we were subjected to watered-down drinks, limited food choices and the feeling that we were cattle vying for position at the trough.

It is, in theory, a decent idea – to have no surprises at check-out. In reality, we are probably paying for more food and drink than we could possibly consume and killing off thousands of local food outlets in the process.

So this seemingly harmless idea has all but destroyed one of the pleasures of foreign travel. Worse than that, those wristbands leave an unsightly white mark on your bronzed arm.