10 Things I Learned On My Family Vacation

by Julie Cole
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I recently surprised my 6-pack of kiddos with the announcement that our family was going to go on an all-inclusive beach vacation.  I explained that they better enjoy and appreciate it because it would be the first and last vacation of this type on my dime.

I was hesitant to do an all-inclusive because, quite frankly, lounging around and not really doing anything doesn’t turn my crank. I don’t lie on beaches or sun myself poolside. I don’t just “chill”, and my regular speed doesn’t involve a lot of R&R.

So I was concerned about what I would actually “do”, but then I found out that our villa came with a Butler.

Yes, Butlers still exist.


On top of not knowing what a Butler would do for us, I was horrified when my young son said that he was contemplating what he “might like to name our Butler”.  I suggested perhaps the Butler, being a HUMAN and not a PET, was going to come with a name.

This was going to end badly…..

However, after experiencing an all-inclusive, this is what I learned:

1. I actually CAN relax. It takes a couple of days to get in the groove and I don’t think I could do it for more than a week, but slowing things down feels pretty good (in moderation). Unplugging was a refreshing change as well, and not something I’m entirely used to doing.

2. Having other people feed your humans every single meal and not having to wonder “what am I going to feed the people” is pretty much heavenly.

3. I can get used to a Butler. Since coming home I had to get myself a beer and it wasn’t cold and I could blame no one but myself. The struggle is real.

4. It’s important to remind your kids that although they are getting waited on hand and foot, they better not get too used to it. Once home, reality sets in quick and re-entry can be tough.

5. Kids learn a lot through play. My kids had an amazing time exploring the ocean, swimming, scuba diving and meeting new friends. However, know that if you’re looking for a truly educational experience, you might want to widen the net beyond an all-inclusive resort.

6. If waste drives you nuts, prepare yourself. The food waste drove me to the point of distraction. It was truly disturbing.

7. We all like clean sheets, but I had to reject the constant changing of bed sheets. The thought of all the water going into washing perfectly good sheets made me twitchy.

8. Talk to your friends who have been before. I have a collection of friends who provided me with the best tips about where to eat, what pool to hang at and general tricks of the trade.

9. Consider taking the kids out of school. I reluctantly did so after the sticker shock of seeing the price of these places during March Break and other holidays.

10. Although we met some super nice families and enjoyed ourselves socially, these places are full of rich, white people. I’ll just leave it at that.

What is the ideal kind of holiday for your family? Have you done an all-inclusive before and what did you love about it?



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