The weather is just about to the point where it would behoove you to tell your boss you have Dengue fever and then take off for a week or two. But while the summer begs to be taken advantage of with an exciting and exotic vacation, you have to be prepared for what awaits you no matter where you go.
A resort may seem like an awesome vacation destination, maybe some kind of all-inclusive in Mexico or Jamaica where you can just drink the week away under the sun but remember, you won’t be alone there. These people will be with you. The entire time.
The Loud Family
No resort is complete without at least one family that seems to have been raised at a Monster Truck hillbilly jamboree full of monkeys. They have long abandoned speaking voices in favor of yells and bellows and their children respect no laws of man or beast. They run, they scream, they swear, they make messed and they are wherever you are. Want to go to the pool? The kids are splashing each other and yelling. Dinner at the buffet? The kids are pushing and yelling. Heading to the beach? The kids will be kicking up the sand and yelling. And the parents? Possibly blind, possibly just hateful.
Despite the fact a vacation is supposed to be relaxing, the parents of these kids will seem aggravated at all times, but woe be to anyone who complains about their brood as the only thing these people hate more than themselves are other people. Avoid at all costs.
Those That Time Forgot
Ever resort has at least one guest who apparently showed up to celebrate their 100th birthday. This old timer, who may be part of a couple, dusted off their leisure wear from the 1960s and cashed in some war bonds to pay for this trip of a lifetime so they could eat shrimp cocktails from tiny glasses and drink all the lime rickeys the bartender could mix up.
While you’ll want to avoid the Loud Family, pay attention to this old timer because no doubt they have a story or two worth listening to over a drink with an umbrella in it and if there is shrimp cocktail to be had, they know exactly where to find it.
Any resort worth the time of day, but especially an all-inclusive, has at least a handful of people present who won’t even remember the trip. And it doesn’t even matter if the drinks are watered down, they’re still consuming a volume of alcohol that could blind most ruminants.
The Drunk went on vacation for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to party like a rock star who had an abusive childhood. There will be no pictures, no jungle tours or snorkeling adventures, there is only booze and maybe the local nightlife which will likely see them getting robbed or hepatitis.
At some point, this is everyone. Don’t be ashamed if it’s you. But don’t make it obvious, either. A vacation should be approached like a new job – you need to do a little advanced research to familiarize yourself with what’s up so that once the ball gets rolling, you’re not like a deer caught in the headlights. Otherwise you out yourself as the vacation virgin.
A resort virgin is generally easy to spot. He’s the guy complaining about the humidity when he chose a spot on the equator next to a lagoon. He brought a half bottle of sunscreen for his family of 5. He brought blue jeans in July. He brought a Spanish to English dictionary to Brazil.
It’s not that the Virgin is a bad guy, just overwhelmed. He didn’t know enough about what he was getting into and, if he can handle the week, will probably come back again, more relaxed and cooler about the whole thing. But for now, he’s trying to figure out which buffet item gave him diarrhea yesterday so he can avoid it today, when really it’s just the water and it’s going to happen every day because he brought no Immodium.
The most valuable human you will ever meet and guaranteed every reasonable resort has one, it’s just a matter of finding him. This person is no tourist, this is a local who lives off the industry, maybe as a tour guide, maybe selling you valuable items on the beach like bottled water, batteries and sun screen. This person can find you anything and everything you never imagined existed in whatever country you are staying in. If the government allows it past their borders and, in some cases, even if they don’t, this person can get it for you. For a price. Find this person. Befriend this person.
Make no mistake, your friend is probably a little underhanded and is only in this for the money, but a little courtesy goes a long way for someone who makes deals with obnoxious tourists 365 days a year. The nicer you are, the nicer he can be. If you’re not sure where to find such a person, check with hotel staff, especially if you’re at a resort near a town, or one where many locals nearby offer various excursions. This guy always, always exists.
The Buffet Gang
The strangest people at any resort are those who came to eat, seemingly unaware that buffets exist in every city in the world and are usually cheaper than flying to another country. The larger the resort, the more buffet options they tend to have, and the more of these people you’ll find, who just seem to stay there during opening hours and engorge themselves as though they were squirrels stocking up for a long, rough winter. Why did they go all the way to Costa Rica for fatty roast beef and bland pasta salad? No one knows. But they’re taking a hell of a lot of it.
These people are vacation pros. Did you remember to bring high SPF sunscreen? These people met a guy in Guam last year who invented a sunscreen spritz that basically coats your body in a reflective sheen so powerful it not only prevents burns, it may actually cure any skin cancer you already have. Are you heading to the buffet later? These people met a guy when they were here 5 years ago who actually owns a restaurant on the beach where you can enjoy fresh caught, all-you-can-eat lobster and beer for $2 American and then ride home on a unicorn. Is your room too hot? These people found an amazing portable air conditioner on their trip to Thailand in 2009 that fits in a shoe and can cool a room to the level of a walk-in freezer in 20 minutes flat.
These people have no home any more, they’re not American or British or Australian, they’re just rich white people who live by a pool somewhere and have literally stayed everywhere on Earth. There is no foreign custom they don’t know and no food they haven’t tried and despite this, they seem vaguely bored to be here. And they are. Because being here isn’t what they want, it’s to be there. And once they get there, they’ll want to be somewhere else.
Despite their apparent smugness, these people are valuable assets. If you can befriend them at the bar, do so. They have no end of valuable hints and tips for making your vacation better. They will also bore you with 100 stories of places you’ll never go, but that’s OK. Try to keep them on topic and no doubt they’ll have something interesting to share.