That Cheap All-Inclusive Beach Vacation Might Not Be All It Sounds

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If you and your boys can swing it financially, you’ll pick a beach and crash it for spring break — but here’s my advice: Don’t just pick a place because it’s unbelievably cheap and a friend of a friend’s cousin supposedly had a threesome there. Do a little research, even if it’s not as intense as the research you’ve been doing all semester.

I had a killer spring break senior year of college, but my buddies and I also made some mistakes that cost us a ton of money and chances of hooking up. And the biggest mistake we made is one that a few hundred seniors made along with us: We fell for an impossibly affordable, all-inclusive trap. If there’s one law of travel (and life in general), it’s “you get what you pay for.”

When a town becomes a spring break destination, it changes, becoming super effin’ busy for nine days per year, even if it’s tumbleweed-slow the other 356. That turns the entire town into a dope fiend — it wants that hit of tourism money, and it doesn’t want you to go anywhere else, so it starts offering you deals.

Any other week of the year, college kids shouldn’t be able to afford to fly somewhere and stay in a luxury hotel, but the addicted towns give you rock-bottom prices just so you’ll buy booze and tip their bartenders. The Bahamas was the junkie who threw my buddies and me the sweetest deal: $800 each for a round-trip flight, five nights in a hotel, a couple tours and booze cruises and free admission to six clubs.

Not one of us googled a single thing about the trip, so none of us realized that for a measly $50 more per person, our package could have been way nicer. When you’re in college and you hear “$800″ vs. “$850,” your first thought is, “I’ll take the $800 so I have $50 more to spend on beer. Life hack!” That made sense until we realized that our hotel was actually a motel in the middle of a dangerous area, and there were only two taxis and a bus that would drive us to the beach/bars. (That’s two taxis, not taxi companies, by the way.)

So that $50 we saved on the trip got swallowed up by transit costs, and while everyone went back to their waterfront hotels for $850, we were taking rides of shame back to our motel. I was lucky that I was the only one of my friends who didn’t take his cell phone with him on the trip. No one had service anyway, so they all left theirs in the motel rooms. In the first day, my three roommates all had theirs stolen.

That’s right, I had three roommates, and that’s ’cause our package put us four to a room with two beds — so not only wouldn’t girls come back with us, but any encounter would have theoretically turned into group sex. (While no girls wanted to see our creepy, off-the-beaten-path motel, it turned out we were total studs in the eyes of the tropical flying cockroaches.)

Don’t get me wrong, the trip was still dope. I still got to drink on no fewer than 15 boats, make out with a dental school student from Iowa in some outdoor jacuzzi and then again on a bus (I think), and my boys still impersonate me dancing when we hang out. Whether you want to have fun or complain the whole time is up to you.

However, if you’re going to buy a package deal, make sure you know where you’re staying — and if it’s far from the action, pay to get closer. It’s cheaper to stumble home to a slightly more expensive hotel than to overpay a cab driver who sees you as a dumbass tourist too gullible to know better.

Photo credit: @LifeAtPurdue

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