20 Jan Rules for Intentional Travel: Avoid Resorts
I can’t recommend this enough. I know people are often concerned about safety and hygiene, but in my opinion, high-end all-inclusive type hotels just block you from the people and culture around you. They might create jobs, but the dynamic between workers and guests isn’t one of equality and cultural exchange so much as a paid servant bringing you dinner they couldn’t afford to eat themselves. Often, the resorts cluster together and overtake an entire town or area, hogging the best beaches and views. And what’s worse, is they create a boom-bust cycle: resorts build bigger and newer all along the beachfront and then retreat out of business and leave hollow ruins of curved balconies and open air bars. In other words, there is generally a lack of stability and sustainability in these type of businesses. Think about notorious resort places: Cancun, The Gold Coast, The Riviera. Sure, glittering pools and silky sheets and high rise hotels look beautiful, but there’s often a negative economic impact on the area directly around it. Most of the money spent tends to stay in the hands of foreign developers and owners, while prices of goods and land skyrocket. (See: Spread the wealth.)
Think about the joys of the alternative to resort-style vacations: if you go to the Dominican Republic, you see life as the Dominicans themselves live it. If you got to Thailand, you eat food that’s more representative of the culture rather than based on presentation (and it’s cheaper to boot!). If you go to the Mexican Coast, you can relate more to the Mexican people and their cultural identity, as opposed to seeing them as waiters and bellhops waiting to serve you. You can go anywhere in the world and swim in the same chlorine pools, login to facebook via wifi, drink familiar iced Coca Cola with a straw, conjure up a hot shower on a moment’s desire. But then what’s the point of leaving home? Instead, try swimming in a Panamanian river, haggle for a book about meditation in Kolkata, taste some new tea from street stall in Asia, and (gasp) trade in the comfort for some adventure.
Stay tuned for more great stories and reflections as Ingrid digs deeper into more of the Simple Rules for Intentional Travel.
About Ingrid: Ingrid is a wanderlust at heart. She’s lived all up and down the west coast, studying environmental science and Spanish at the University of Portland and studying how to grow vegetables in Colorado and Washington. Her favorite activities include rock climbing, eating ice cream, and writing letters. Her travels have taken her from the Caribbean to East Asia and many destinations inbetween. The next places she hopes to travel to are New Zealand, Japan, and Norway.
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