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5 Reasons to Get Out of the Resort

As a professional travel writer, there is nothing I would rather do than travel. I even love hating the security lines at the airport. So, when I say that I love resorts, because of the pampering while lounging on exquisite beaches with frosty drinks, I really mean it.

However, there is something amiss when I hear about a traveler “visiting Jamaica” but never leaving the confines of the resort. After all, most international vacationers will travel thousands of miles away from home on holiday. It would make sense to do some exploring of the vacation spot, no? Still, I know quality resorts offer a wide assortments of amenities: from spa to sport to archery to dance lessons and lots of food. There is no reason to leave the resort.

So, in response to arguments about leaving the lap of luxury for the unknown variables beyond the tall, well-manicured hedges of the resort, I offer five good reasons to get the hell out of the resort, at least for a little while, on your next vacation.


Most great resorts are near great attractions. Whether it be a UNESCO heritage site, colonial town or ancient ruin, all good resorts will help provide a way to see nearby attractions. Take advantage of the opportunity.

Help the Local Economy

Lots of countries make a significant amount of their gross national product from visiting travelers. While I am not suggesting blowing your vacation bankroll outside of the resort, taking a little to spread the love to local businesses has a direct and positive effect on the local economy, and in many stores this means haggling over price, which can be fun.

Save Money

While I love the pampering I get at the resort, extras like meals, gym and Internet access frequently are offered at a premium. Not that long ago, I stayed at a hotel that wanted to charge me $30 for a single day of Internet — even though I only wanted to briefly check my email. I found an Internet store a block away for 75¢ an hour for a savings of $29.25.

Authentic Food

I know, I know. Most resorts do a good job incorporating local cuisine into meal options so visitors can get a taste of the local fair. Still, some of my favorite food memories include locals taking me to their favorite restaurants. Several years ago, I was in Malaysia and was supposed to have dinner atop the 421-meter high Kuala Lumpur Tower. I craned my neck up at that needle in the sky and felt a pang of vertigo. I asked my group’s driver where he was going for dinner and was able to tag along. The meal turned into the most memorable and authentic of my visit to Malaysia.

Real People

After visiting more than 50 countries, one thing has been proven true — while the resort is a wonderful experience for pampering and idyllic beach-side sunsets, the memories I consistently take home are of the new people I meet along the way. The inspiration for my own online magazine comes from a long lunch with a little woman from St. Lucia — who provided the worst food, but the best company ever.

So next time you’re enjoying a holiday at a great resort, consider a few hours to explore a local community. You’ll be glad you did.


  1. Five years ago (or more) you can ask me if I wanted to go on a holiday and stay in a resort and I’d rather die than do so.
    Now, (must be a sign of age on my part) I don’t mind the idea for exactly the same reasons you list here. I find that my expectations for accommodation has increased as I age, and the thought of staying in share dorms are reserved only for when I am absolutely penniless (which hopefully will be never!)

    • Hey Amy,

      I am with you. The last time I stayed in a shared dorm a 19-year-old, who could not hold his liquor, thought man in the bunk below me was a toilet. The man in the bottom bunk was 72 from Latvia. I never want to be that man in the bottom bunk
      Devin Galaudet recently posted..5 Tips to Better Travel Video Production

  2. I just realised my comment doesn’t really make sense.
    I mean, that I like staying in resorts as an accommodation option, not like you say to stay there all the time.

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  3. Love the article! It is sad but true the many people who don’t get off the resorts on their vacations. I don’t think people really understand what they’re missing. Experiencing culture is one of the best things about visiting a new place. Even if you want to sit and lounge at the resort everyday, there should at lease be a couple days of exploring the towns around you while you are away.

    I here the same thing about Jamaica all the time. People think it’s so dangerous that they CAN’T leave the resort. I mean come on! I know there are obviously places you should avoid, but it’s not like you are gonna get robbed and kidnapped the second you step out of the resort. I’ve even heard from friends who have gone that the resorts even recommend they do not go outside the compound. Sad that people are too naive to see that the resorts say those kind of things because they want you to stay and spend your money there!

    Anyway, again I loved the article. And hopefully more people will start to explore the world around them:)

    Happy Travels:)
    tikitravel recently posted..Asia Hotel Rooms- What kind of accommodation is right for you

  4. I know people who live in Jamaica, and it just isn’t that bad. Yes, there are tough places all over but not a great reason to not get a coffee and watch the people go by. I have never regretted getting out of the resort for a day or two and always have a story to tell when I get back.
    Thanks for reading.
    Devin Galaudet recently posted..Free Stuff- The Travel Book

  5. I wrote almost the same article in 2009 and I have to agree with all that was said. For ALL the reasons that are out there my main one still remains that you will NEVER experience a culture unless you immerse yourself in it.
    10 Reasons NOT to stay in a Jamaican resort recently posted..UrbanDK &amp Black Nation Sound

  6. You would be amazed at the amount of people that visit Turkey and never move off the sunbed. I mean, not even once. I even know one gentlemen, who gets up, orders an English breakfast and then sits at the bar for the rest of the day, for 14 days solid. He travels four hours to a different country and then just sits there drinking beer every day. eh???
    Natalie recently posted..Turkish Men – Why Your Holiday Romance Is Doomed

  7. I agree with every one of these. I definitely have my own travel philosophy and your reasons listed are the ones I travel. Honestly, I don’t care for resorts or beach vacation but would rather travel for the other reasons you mentioned.
    Jeremy B recently posted..3 vacations I won’t take

  8. I’ve only done a resort once, in Dominican Republic and I was really tired of the resort thing after 4 days so I walked off it. People tried to stop me to warn me of where I was going but I had the best day drinking beer with the locals in the convenience store. They never see people off the resort so they showed me around town – including the chicken slaughter shop. I won’t forget it.
    ayngelina recently posted..The only place worth eating lunch in Taganga

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