Earlier this year, I was #blessed with a trip to Mexico. Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya was a dream, and while I was going to be spending some of my time with the other amazing bloggers on the trip, I knew I’d be tackling some of it as a solo traveler. And actually, for one of the first times in my adult life, I was really excited about that. But as this trip also happened to be the first time I was staying at an all-inclusive, I wanted to share some things I learned that could help you, should the travel bug hit you for a solo vacay.
Sort out your wifi situation ahead of time
I was veeeeery lucky that Secrets had pretty darn good wifi throughout the resort so I could check in with my mom, do some blogging, etc., but that doesn’t happen for everyone (my friend Brooke covered her first solo trip here on Her Philly and pointed out that we are not all that lucky). When I arrived at the airport, there was some confusion about my transportation, and the airport had truly no wifi in Arrivals. I was thrilled I had printed every last confirmation email and travel document before I went, tucked away in one of these trusty neon Poppin zip folders (that I love).
Bring bills for tipping
The services you receive at an all-inclusive give you plenty of reasons to tip the staff. From carrying your bags, to delivering room service, to bringing you your 7th drink by the pool with a smile (/smirk), a little tip can go a long way. I did some research before I went, and found it US dollars are totally acceptable as tips. I wasn’t planning on leaving the resort and I didn’t need to change over my currency for anything else, so this was a welcomed treat. Go grab a bunch of ones from the bank before you go (though some resorts do offer ATMs on-site), and keep some on you at all times.
Enjoy your time as a party of one
While the thought of visiting restaurants alone at a resort that’s made for honeymooning couples could seem only slightly daunting, I’m going to urge you not to give in. I know – it’s tempting to order room service for every and all meals, but getting out not only allows you to experience the resorts’ various restaurants, but the food also is inevitably better. A friend had told me this about all-inclusives in general (and I have no hard research to back it up, but it sounds absolutely correct): because you could call for room service at any hour, they need to have pre-made items/things prepped/an Aramark concept and can’t possibly snag the nachos from the Mexican restaurant to bring to your room on the other side of the resort.
But, don’t feel like you have to do everything
During my stay, there were plenty of times I was sitting by the pool when an organized activity would kick off. Organized activities at resorts are really not my thing (sans the sunrise beach yoga I did on the trip, yes please). Even when the staff asked me about 7x to join pool volleyball, I didn’t feel bad about saying no. Do what’s right for you in that moment. I also stand by this: if that means taking a mid-day nap while the sun is out, do it. It’s your vacation.
Sit back, smile, and enjoy the view!
When I was hanging solo at the spa in the hydrotherapy pools, I had no freakin idea what I was doing. At one stop, I had to lay down on a lounge-like seat, submerged down in the water, with jets hitting me from all angles. There were humans around me everywhere and the jets were pushing my body all over the place, and I was so embarrassed at first. But then, I took a deep breathe (not of water), and laughed. Who cares if you can’t do the hydrotherapy pools perfectly, and if you can’t pronounce all the items on the Japanese restaurant’s menu, or if you’re traveling to a place where everyone around you is a Mr. & Mrs., and you’re still a Miss. You’re here, you’re doing it, and hopefully you’ll be leaving with a full belly, slight hangover, and a nice tan.