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Is living in an all-inclusive resort cheaper than paying rent?

Does living in your apartment cost more than staying at an all-inclusive resort?
Posted at 7:35 AM, Feb 28, 2024

Dreaming of sitting by the pool daily and endless cocktails on demand? One man decided to find out how much the permanent vacation lifestyle would cost if he moved to an all-inclusive resort. When comparing monthly costs, he discovered it might actually be a bit cheaper to live at a resort than at his current apartment in Seattle.

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Ben Keenan, 31, did some math and calculated he spends roughly $4,000 a month on living expenses, including rent, utilities, auto expenses, Wi-Fi, a gym membership, food and entertainment. In comparison, he found an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico, priced at $4,445 for the entire of month of April. He took to TikTok to share his surprising findings. His video has racked up 5.9 million views:

@ivebentraveling

Honestly, kind of a joke but kind of serious – I might just find myself on a beach somewhere sucking down cocktails and WHAT OF IT 😩 #allinclusive #allinclusiveresort #resortlife #livehack #mexico #dominicanrepublic #travel #travellife #travelmeme

♬ Funny video “Carmen Prelude” Arranging weakness(836530) – yo suzuki(akisai)

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“Yes, that’s $500 more than what I normally spend on rent, but bear in mind, I’m not paying the most expensive rent out there compared to what other people in Seattle might be paying, for example,” he explains in the video. “Also, is that $500 worth me never having to do a single ounce of laundry, or any of my cleaning or whatever?”

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He also notes in his video that he only included the expenses he currently pays for that you would also have access to at an all-inclusive resort.

So how do his calculations work out when compared to the cost of living in some major cities throughout the U.S.? Here’s how it breaks down:

Chicago vs. Cozumel

In the Windy City, the median rent for all bedrooms and property types is $1,957, according to Zillow. In comparison, a 29-night stay at the Wyndham Cozumel Hotel & Resort in Mexico for the month of Aprilwill cost you as little as $2,862 if you book through a third-party service like Traveluro.  Keep in mind, though, that in Chicago, you’d still have to pay for food, utilities, internet and more, all of which is included in the all-inclusive resort price.

So once you add those in, you could actually be paying less if you spend the whole month in Mexico. The Wyndham in Cozumel also includes nightly entertainment, a free introductory scuba session, an open gym, three restaurants and four bars.

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Phoenix vs. Dominican Republic

Median rent in Phoenix comes in at $1,915, similar to Chicago. A single person’s monthly estimated monthly expenses outside of rent are $1,120, bringing monthly total living expenses to $3,032. Or, you could go to Blue Bay Villas Doradas in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic for the month of April for about $4,357 through travelup.com, which is slightly more — but not a whole lot.

Both locations offer plenty of sunshine, but only one offers as many pina coladas as you wish.

New York vs. Jamaica

The Big Apple is notorious for its sky-high living expenses. The average rent in NYC is $3,428. Even without additional living expenses like utilities and food, you’re already close to a month-long stay in a Junior Suiteat the five-star Bahia Principe Jamaica, which comes in at $6,912.

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Stay Stateside or Indulge in Full-Time Resort Living?

While breaking down the math shows some interesting comparisons and provides food for thought, it’s worth considering factors beyond cost. If you opted to live at an all-inclusive resort full-time, it would limit your job options, and you’d likely be moving away from friends and family. You might like the idea of nothing but sun and fun on a daily basis — but after a while, you might be itching to go off-campus, which would then increase your expenses.

But some people — like those who work fully remote or retirees — might find living on a cruise ship or at an all-inclusive resort perfect for their lifestyle as well as economically feasible.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.