Episode 91: A Traveler’s Experience: First All-Inclusive Resort

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After two years of doing this podcast, I’m changing things up for this episode.

In today’s episode, I will be talking to one of my clients, Pam, and she is going to tell us all about her experience staying at the RIU Reggae All-Inclusive Resort (which was also her first flight trip out of the US, as well as her first all-inclusive resort stay).

Let’s go:

[01:53] The RIU Reggae Resort.

The RIU Reggae is an All-Inclusive, Adults-Only resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

If you’re planning to go to RIU Reggae, prepare yourself for the greatest croissants.

[04:21] Pam’s travel history.

Growing up in Nashville, Pam’s parents didn’t take trips to anywhere except grandma’s house.

At the age of 21, Pam took her first flight to visit her aunt in Florida.

The travel bug bit her after she took her first major trip to Freeport, The Bahamas.

[07:00] Pam’s Cruising.

Over the past 9 years, Pam has been traveling on cruises to destinations all around the world. For the price of one ticket, cruises provide everything you could ever need, while also stopping in multiple destinations to satisfy that travel bug.

[08:09] Flying to Jamaica.

Pam’s flight to Jamaica was her first flight out of the US.

She flew out from Atlanta, Georgia, and for those who didn’t know, it’s only a 2h25 direct flight to Montego Bay.

[09:30] Club Mobay.

Regular travellers know that we need to prepare for the long lines in the airports.

After listening to this podcast and checking all of my suggestions, Pam purchased Club Mobay for her time in the airport.

It’s the Jamaican version of the TSA Pre-Check. You arrive at the airport, there’s someone holding a sign with your name on it, and they escort you past the lines of people all the way to the lounge, where you wait until someone comes to pick you up.

For those departing from Montego Bay, don’t go through to your gate if you have a long wait. Stay in the departure lounge, where you have free wifi, bottomless liquor, all-you-can-eat food.

[13:58] Pam’s experience at her first all-inclusive resort.

Arriving at the RIU Reggae, Pam’s experience can only be explained as an open-air resort where it’s covered but you’re also outside, and she was greeted with a glass of champagne on her way to check-in.

[15:41] Booking a room.

If you want to get an ocean view room or a junior suite, you need to book it right from the start.

Pam’s package included a garden view room, and she spent a year trying to upgrade to an ocean view or junior suite, and they were all sold out.

Even though she wanted to have the room upgrade, she went to visit one of her friends who had a junior suite room, and Pam preferred her garden view room.

Here’s the thing: not every garden view room is bad. You have to think about the pro’s and cons, and make a decision that will give you the experience that you want to have.

[19:56] All-inclusive resort vs a cruise.

On a cruise, your food is included in your ticket, but your alcohol is not.

At an all-inclusive resort, everything is included. You can get a drink at any time, no matter where you are on the resort.

With the food options, people think that all-inclusive means buffet-only food options.

Pam went all-out for the experience, and she tried the buffet for breakfast, and also the Asian, Italian, and Steakhouse specialty restaurants. She also went next door to the RIU Montego to have lunch at their buffet.

[21:44] The Food.

While the buffet was acceptable, when Pam travels to other countries, she wants to taste local foods. The buffet at the RIU Reggae was mostly Americanised options.

However, at the buffet, Pam found her daily cream-filled pastry treat.

After the Buffet, Pam headed to the Italian Restaurant to experience fresh, tasty lasagna and other Italian dishes.

All of the food, at the buffet and the specialty restaurants, are included in your stay.

The RIU Reggae’s steakhouse was an open air buffet area that was closed off on certain days as the steakhouse. It wasn’t a separate restaurant like the Asian or Italian restaurants.

Here’s a tip: at some resorts, certain restaurants are open on certain days, so you want to know these days so that you can plan your schedule around those times as well.

[28:25] The Activities.

Pam downloaded the RIU App, which gives you a roundup of all the activities on the resort.

Every night, Pam went out, and she experienced the FoamFest Party, Karaoke, a native show about Jamaica, and Pool Parties.

The atmosphere on the resort would make even the least social person want to sit outside and take it all in.

[30:00] Excursions.

Leaving the resort, Pam went to Margaritaville and to do some local shopping.

If you plan to leave the resort, make sure to stay in your groups, especially doing local shopping, since some of the locals can get a bit aggressive.

[31:35] Sister property sharing.

At the RIU Reggae, if you pay for staying at the resort, you have access to the sister resort, the RIU Montego.

While the buffet at the RIU Reggae was adequate, the buffet at the RIU Montego was on another level.

[32:33] WiFi.

Pam had no problems with WiFi anywhere on the resort.

People know that when I’m booking a resort, it better have WiFi outside of the room.

[33:16] What Pam liked most.

She has been traveling on cruises for the past 9 years.

What she enjoyed most about the all-inclusive resort is that the fun happens faster – just one quick flight and transportation, and you’re at the resort where the fun is waiting for you. You’re also on your own time, you don’t have a set schedule, and you have the chance to take a real vacation.

[34:00] All-Inclusives for drinkers.

Pam isn’t a huge drinker, but that didn’t take away from the value that she got from the all-inclusive resort.

She also drank more at the resort than she ever has in her life, because there was access to it, and often, people bring you drinks while you’re there.

[35:23] Which does Pam prefer?

Having experienced both, Pam is now gearing towards all-inclusive resorts, with the dealbreaker being that they have to be adults-only.

This was a great episode. Pam dropped so many great tips for all of you fellow travellers, and it all came from her own first-time experiences – including the part where she didn’t visit the Club Mobay departure lounge (learn from this lesson, y’all). I hope Pam’s experience has helped you and inspired you to get out there.

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