Budget is always top of mind when it comes to planning a trip, and I’m always looking for deals for myself, my husband, and our first grade daughter. After two years of parenting during a pandemic, we were all itching to get away.
So when a Facebook ad popped up offering five days at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for $399, I clicked. The idea of a vacation without cooking sounded amazing and the price was cheaper than I expected.
My husband, always skeptical, thought it sounded too good to be true and asked, “What’s the catch?”
He was right: there was one.
We would have to attend a two-hour timeshare presentation to receive the deal. The trade-off seemed worth it: five days in Playa del Carmen at the four-star hotel Blue Bay Great Emerald hotel with two pools and unlimited food and alcohol.
I booked the deal and crossed my fingers that it was real. And so it was, but not everything went as expected. That’s how it was.
Our all-inclusive resort in Mexico was better than expected… but we had very low expectations
When we landed in Mexico, both my husband and I were afraid that no one would be waiting for us, that our room was dirty, or that the whole thing was a hoax.
But someone was waiting for us at the airport to take us to the hotel, which was an hour south of Cancun. There, we found a dimly lit, plant-filled open-air lobby, and were whisked by friendly staff in a golf cart to our room at the far end of the property, where an iguana and a deer crossed our path.
Then came the moment of truth: our room. It was simple with two queen beds, a terrace overlooking the palm trees, and a fridge stocked with soda and water.
As we walked to the breakfast buffet the next day, a few details made me think the property was a bit dated (the club area had photos of Magnum PI and Elvis), and I noticed the beach was full of seaweed. But we couldn’t complain. Maybe other all-inclusive resorts were more luxurious and had better food, but I was happy I didn’t have to cook and my daughter couldn’t believe she could have unlimited dessert.
Finally, we had to attend the timeshare presentation.
The timeshare presentation was back in Cancun and it would take at least four hours to travel. The hotel started hassling me to schedule it from the moment we arrived, and they wanted us to go on the first day, but I delayed them until the third day when it rained.
The presentation was in a luxurious complex with stunning crystal clear pools that made our hotel look shabby. Mind you, to use them, we’d be forced to spend $100,000 on a timeshare there.
We were then taken into the sales room, where every few minutes a bell rang indicating that someone had signed a deal. I pretended to take notes on my computer while googling, “How to get out of a timeshare presentation.”
We declined their deal to shop in the fancy setting, but before we left we were sent to a small room to book our ride back to our hotel and one last sales pitch was foisted on us: for 3,000, we’d get three vacations for the next three years. , in addition to a stay in this beautiful property in Cancun.
“Not bad,” my husband said, wanting to buy the offer. “Think about it: That would take care of our winter vacation and we can get our summer vacation for free,” he said.
But on the hour-long drive back, I became the cynical one. Reading the fine print, I saw that the Cancun property was under construction and they couldn’t tell us in advance how much we would have to pay for a stay in the summer season, which would come in addition to the $3,000, or what properties would actually be available when we wanted to travel.
I wasn’t ready to commit and convinced my husband to drop the offer.
I would give up a day of vacation to attend a timeshare presentation again, in exchange for an economic offer
With travel prices skyrocketing, I keep looking for budget vacations, especially all-inclusive resorts. The lack of planning and cooking was priceless, and for me, the lengthy presentation was worth the cheap price.
I will gladly attend another timeshare presentation for a cheap price and will definitely book another one of these offers as long as my husband promises not to buy a timeshare.
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