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AI vs. on our own

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Tulsa, Oklahoma
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120 posts
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AI vs. on our own

Another post. LOL. We have plans to stay at the CasaMagna, and it does have an AI option. Our main purpose of the trip is to veg out and maybe take one day for an excursion.

We've also considered staying at The Royal, as its AI rates are cheaper.

Any suggestions?

Riverside...
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1. Re: AI vs. on our own

For me I prefer AI. When I go on vacation I don't want to have to think about where to go eat and how much is it going to cost. We are not big drinkers, but I go through about a dozen bottles of water a day. I don't like worrying about costs while I am vacationing.

There are many people that enjoy the EP plan and eat off the property for most meals. I like to go on vacation and kick back and relax. We usually take 1 day to go and do excursions. We do end up eating off the property at least once during our stay though.

Springfield...
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2. Re: AI vs. on our own

I'm with PennyPenguin on this. When I go to Cancun, I like AI. Depending on where your resort is, it's a real pain to get up in the morning, get dressed, grab a bus, go eat...then back to the resort. Doing it three times a day is wasting my time. I like being able to just relax and not have to worry about where to eat. We do like to take some tours and eat out since we're already away from the resort. If you're resort is within walking distance to restaurants, that would make it much easier to not go AI.

Muncie
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3. Re: AI vs. on our own

It seems like everyone always says the same thing on this site when it comes to this question. I don't like to worry about having to carry money, go out of the resort to eat and I drink 8 to 10 bottles of water each day. Well I guess I am weird. I don't like to spend the extra 100 to 200 dollars a day for all inclusive and then most of the time not get the comparable food or drinks for my money. I also then feel like I must eat 3 meals every day and drink a lot to get my money's worth. I hardly ever eat three meals a day at home and I know I don't drink alcohol every day. And I never drink 8 to 10 bottles of water at home. So why would I do it there? This is why so many people get sick in Cancun and blame the water or fresh fruit. It isn't that, it is over eating and drinking too much. I should say that I like to eat good food everyday and good drinks when I want, and I have never had trouble getting bottled water cheaply, they sell it everywhere. And I enjoy trying different restaurants everytime we go. I figure I break about even on ep versus ai, but I get alot better quality of food/drink, and get to experience new things on every trip. I have done both, and both are fine, but unless you're 350 lbs and an Alcoholic, I recommend EP. No matter what you choose, you will be in Cancun, that is the best part.

Elmira, New York
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4. Re: AI vs. on our own

I find AI for a vacation to be a good deal for several reasons. B4 I go into that, let me say I'm faaaarrrr from 350 lbs, nor am I an alcoholic.

1) Convenience. When I vacation, I prefer the least amount of stress as possible, and that includes walking around trying to find a decent restaurant.

2) I can lock my money in the safe with the passports and credit cards and not worry about pick pockets or purse snatchers.

3) When we travel we NEVER eat Micky D's, diners or chain restaurants. We eat in nice restaurants and that can get expensive. I usually budget 250 per day for food (2 people), 250 per day for the hotel room which equals about the same price as an AI.

4) Drink prices. Let's face it, cocktails can get expensive espically in larger metropolitan areas. So can wine in a restaurant. We usually drink more on a trip than we do at home...we're on vacation. Let me also add that we're past the college age of funnels, shots and drinking games.

5) I don't intend to sound elitist here, but travel for me is not about pinching pennies.

6) Quality of food: there is no guarantee the food will be any good when picking a restaurant from the street. I've eaten in restaurants that were obscenely expensive and been disappointed. I've eaten in some cheep places that have been surprisingly good -- and visa versa. Read the reviews for the AI and see what most people say about the food. It's a reasonable guide. The more restaurants an AI has, the better the choice.

An AI may not be a good idea if:

1) you want to spend more time touring than at the hotel.

2) you don't drink at all -- not even wine with dinner.

3) you're on a real tight budget.

4) you prefer Micky D's, diners and chain restaurants

I think the main consideration of EP or AI would be the amount of time you plan on spending at the resort. If you want to do a lot of touring, then you end up paying for food off the resort and you've already paid for food at the resort. (bad deal) If you want to lay around on the beach all day then AI is the way to go.

Of course this is just my opinion. :-)

Home is where the luggage is.

BSQ
Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: AI vs. on our own

Well, we are of the EP set. In Cancun and every where else we travel.

While some view venturing off property to find places to eat a chore they'd rather not be bothered with while vacationing, we think it is fun and look forward to it. We enjoy trying new places to eat.

Specific to Cacnun, I've never considered it simply because I startving vacationing in the area before the AIs cropped up, so EP is the only thing I know down there, and have never seen a big enough reason to switch. (if it ain't broke, don't fix it mentality).

For what we eat and drink, we don't spend that amount on our trips to Cancun. And yes, we do drink more water & gatorade than we would at home. It's hotter and we sweat more. Gotta stay hyrdated.

To me, finding a place to eat somewhere I've never been, isn't stressful. If it is for you, then AI might be the route for you to take. Dinner is our most expensive meal. I know we can pay close to $200 for the two of us, or as little as $20.

North Wales
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154 posts
8 reviews
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6. Re: AI vs. on our own

Both ways have their ups and downs, if you're self caterring then you are free to eat where you want and yes you will get better food. The thing is with AI is that you just have the freedom to have what you want when you want which I love. I think it is worth it for the extra money and if you can afford to take some spends then you can have the best of both worlds.

For me personally if I was going self catering then Cancun wouldn't even be an option. Like it's been said on here you can get much better food and drink if you do go SC well I'd have to say there are better resorts aswell. Cancun appeals to me when we're doing AI because a lot of AI hotels can be stuck in the middle of nowhere, where as Cancun does offer the chance of being able to wander around and eat elsewhere. If you're doing SC and want the party atmosphere there are numerous European destinations that beat Cancun hands down but unfortunately they don't offer decent AI.

Just my thoughts anyway.

Elmira, New York
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81 posts
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7. Re: AI vs. on our own

I guess it depends upon your objective. When I travel, it's about seeing what the area has to offer so it's EP. When I vacation I lay around the beach all day and Cancun is great for that -- it's AI.

Touring around in a country where you don't understand the language without a private guide and driver can get stressful. Don't get me wrong, we love to travel although our trip to Cancun was about recovering from Paris and Amsterdam -- we loved Paris and Amsterdam, but Europe for us is isn't relaxing.

IMO relaxing is about NO stress and just being pampered. Cancun AI is perfect for the stress-free vacation. That's why we love Cancun -- lay around the beach all day and have a great AI staff to cater to all our wants and needs.

This is why I say EP or AI depends upon your trip's objective.

Again, this is just my opinion. For you, I could be wrong.

Kentucky
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57 reviews
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8. Re: AI vs. on our own

I'm with Danman and BSQ.

We don't like AI mainly because of quality (food AND drinks). Also, I think we would get bored staying at the resort all day, everyday, eating the same food for a week. It seems too limiting for us.

We do not go out for breakfast, we eat at the hotel. We eat lunch at the hotel a lot of times, too, if we are hanging at the pool.

We enjoy getting out for dinner, off the property, and exploring new restaurants, we don't view it as a chore. And we definitely don't eat cheap when we go out, never McDonalds, not even at home.

Ma
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54 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: AI vs. on our own

We prefer to not go AI. Part of our vacation fun is dinning out and maybe checking the area out around the restaurant. We enjoy finding new spots to eat out. For breakfast we usually eat at the resort, but 90% of our dinners are around town. We are not big drinkers so we lose out on that part of the AI also.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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10. Re: AI vs. on our own

Thanks for your input. As we don't drink alcohol, it looks like the EP is the way to go.

Also, since my 16 yo son was excited to see there was a Subway and McDonald's nearby, my guess is we would lose money on him.

You guys are great -- I appreciate all the tips:)