Generally speaking, all-inclusive resorts aren’t my travel style of choice. Over the 15 years that I’ve been travelling, I’ve stayed at an all-inclusive resort twice, and that’s including my recent trip to Cuba. As a serial solo traveller, I crave the type of travel that challenges me and I enjoy the fear of the unknown, which has enabled me to develop several skills to ensure that I never actually feel lonely when I travel. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to test said skills at an all-inclusive resort, which is typically a place where people travel together as couples, families, or groups of friends.
I must say, it was harder than I expected. A few people gawked and were frankly flabbergasted that I was a young female, travelling alone at a resort. I found it difficult to use the traveller’s universal ‘opening line’, which is, “So, where are you from?”, because most people just weren’t open to chatting. And so, in the interest of other solo travellers visiting an all-inclusive, I thought I’d share my survival guide…
Here are 5 Ways to Socialize at an All-Inclusive Resort as a Solo Traveller:
1. Participate in the Entertainment Activities
Most, if not all, resorts have some sort of ‘Entertainment Team’ – a team that is responsible for giving the guests something fun to do other than laying by the beach or pool. I joined a couple of impromptu volleyball matches at the beach with a collection of various guests, and it was pretty fun!
2. Join an Excursion
This isn’t really my travel style, as I prefer to embark on adventures and discover foreign lands on my own, but I figured I had to adopt a little bit of a “when in Rome” attitude in order to socialize. I checked out a catamaran tour and made a few friends along the way while sipping on Havana Club rum.
3. Have a Drink at the Swim-Up Pool Bar
Even if you’re not there to make friends, the swim-up pool bar is just awesome. There’s something about floating around in a pool and then fluttering over to the bar to get a mojito at your leisure that seems enticing. And of course, after a few cocktails, everyone is willing to become friends!
4. Skip the buffet and eat at the Japanese a-la-carte restaurant
I’m almost certain that most resorts have a Japanese restaurant which doubles as an entertaining dining experience. Basically, the Teppanyaki-style cuisine allows for interactive dining while guests sit around the grill – a perfect setting for mingling, and it’s always easy to find a seat for one.
5. Befriend the Staff
This is by far the best option and it certainly fits with my travel style because I love to travel like a local. Almost all staff are extremely friendly and love to chat. I befriended a couple of staff who were kind enough to show me around Havana on their day off, which was the best possible way I could have seen Havana – like a real Cuban!