There’s really just something about Nassau. I know, I know – the Bahamas are a CHAIN of islands, and I get that there are so many other incredible places to visit rather than just sticking to the most populous area.
When it comes right down to it, if I’m going to the Bahamas, I want to do it in luxury. I get that many people reading this want their vacations to feel like a real vacation – i.e., you want something all-inclusive and you don’t necessarily want to feel like a local. Based on my experience, you can really do the Bahamas on a budget both ways – you can grab something all-exclusive that fits your needs, or you can look for some options that will satisfy that need to live like a local. Let’s start with the all-inclusive philosophy – is it really cheaper, better or best?
When it comes to living it up during a trip to the Bahamas, it’s important to remember that all-inclusive doesn’t necessarily mean, “Everything is paid for.” (Of course, don’t forget that wristband!)
What it CAN mean is that alcohol and eats are included. What it normally DOESN’T mean is that things like island tours, spa treatments, and extras are covered (believe me, I found this out the hard way.) When you’re in doubt? ASK. And keep that resort policy bookmarked on your phone! When you’re out and about, dancing and having a great time, you can forget the little things you need to know about the resort, so keep them on your phone and keep your phone handy. Most all-inclusives these days have pretty decent wifi, so it’s a no-brainer.
Why Is All-Inclusive Best for Your Budget?
I know it may seem like all-inclusive doesn’t make a lot of sense when the prices seem fairly high – but here’s the thing. Whether you’re in a super luxury situation or not (and most big brand all-inclusives go out of their way to make this feel like a luxury vacation), those little off-the-beaten-path things tend to add up.
If you’re optioning an all-inclusive versus an, “is this included?” Think about this:
First, the food at an all-inclusive is likely pretty belly-safe. In fact, you’ll find it a little more bland than you might expect in some places, though I find most of the all-inclusive food in Nassau is pretty tasty. And you know what’s a HUGE waste of money on your vacation? Getting sick. It’s really no fun at all, and not fun to navigate when you’re in a different country.
Next, if you’re venturing off the beaten path, you get lost and you lose your sense of self, you’re going to be in trouble. To get where you want to go on the island, you’re probably going to want some kind of guided tour – and those add up! Using a tour or travel service recommended by your all inclusive is a good way to ensure you’re taken care of, but if you explore Nassau on your own, know it isn’t super safe off the beaten path. The security detail can really add up.
Using an all-inclusive not only means sponsored, booked tours, but it also means you’ll have access to hotel staff and concierges who will be happy to tell you what places to avoid and where to go.
With an all-inclusive, all the good stuff is right there. I know it seems cliche’, but it’s very possible your off-the-beaten-path hotel isn’t going to have a pool, decent dining, free drinks or a party every single night for you to attend. Now, don’t think I’m recommending you stay at the resort the whole time – but if that’s your thing, that’s okay too!
Once you’re out of the resort, all the little amenities start to add up, and some of them just aren’t going to give you the kind of comfort you might expect for what you’re paying. All-inclusives are safe, they’re handy and they get the job done.
Tune in tomorrow where we talk about traveling like a local on a budget in Nassau!