Okay, hear me out. I know the popular way to do Mexico is the all-inclusive style. burying your feet in white sand, sitting next to a crystal blue pool, drinking bottomless drinks. However, when you travel with family it can become a hassle having to meet up everywhere, going back and forth from room to room. Enter, Mexico, VRBO style. Don’t get me wrong I love my all-inclusive as much as the next person. However, we recently took a trip to Cabo with our family which meant trying to get four different families all on the same page. My personal opinion: if you are traveling with a big group renting a home is definitely the route I would consider taking. There are positives and negatives for both situations, and every trip is different, but it made connecting with the fam dam much easier. So let’s jump into renting a home vs. doing an all-inclusive.
If you are new to traveling you might wonder what the differences between renting a home and staying at a resort might be. The obvious difference between the two is how all your food and drinks are paid for. When you rent a house the cost of food and beverages is not included, you must pay as you consume. The cost is separate from your housing cost. When you stay at a resort, the price for food and alcohol is included in the cost of the hotel you pay upfront, making it unlimited. Luckily, alcohol is not too expensive in Mexico, especially if you split the cost between a few families. As far as food, I find it kind of nice that you’re not stuck to resort food. While I love resort food and the fact that you can get it any time you want, nothing beats a good authentic chimichanga.
Another big difference between the two is entertainment. Resorts typically have a wide variety of activities going on throughout the day to keep people entertained. There are nightly shows you can attend for free, as well as a club or disco. If you are stuck at the resort with nothing to do, chances are there is some kind of game, activity, or event happening that you can join in on. When you stay at a rental, it is up to you to come up with all your activities. This can mean an added cost if you decide to go out.
I know what you are thinking; paid hotel, entertainment, food, and drinks. All you have to do is relax. Why the heck would anyone choose to rent a home over an all-inclusive? Stay with me though, and let me tell you some benefits of renting. If you are trying to stay on a budget this might be the way to go, especially if you split the home with others. You can cook any of your meals as most houses come with a fully equipped kitchen. If you are traveling with kids, like we do, it is nice to have a kitchen to clean bottles or any other baby necessities. It is handy to have common areas to spend time with family and not be crowded by strangers.
What are some of the similarities between the two options? I was pleasantly surprised to learn renting a house didn’t mean losing out on several amenities that an all-inclusive provides. For example, the concierge service. When you stay at a hotel, there is a concierge service available that will book all your excursions and transportation. The house we rented came with the same service. Anything we needed, we could call our concierge and she would get us hooked up. From restaurant reservations to booking excursions and transportation, she was always there for us. Similar to an all-inclusive, houses also come stocked with everything you might need such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, towels, robes, even a pack-and-play if you have little ones.
I can’t say it enough, renting a place to stay was extremely convenient for us. Especially with the little ones and having multiple groups. Remember every trip is different, though. Both options are great for specific situations. Renting might be better if you are doing a budget trip or need a kitchen area. Whereas, an all-inclusive is better if you want to have a carefree vacation on an exciting resort. Realistically though, can you go wrong with either situation when you are in a tropical oasis? I would love to know your thoughts. Which do you guys prefer? Drop a comment below and let’s chat. Also, be sure to check out the review of my favorite place to rent in Cabo San Lucas