shopping

All-Inclusive Resort Bracelets

All-Inclusive Resort Bracelets 480 640 Greg Ellifritz

If you happen to be vacationing in an all-inclusive resort, you will likely be given a non-removable wrist band that identifies you as a resort guest.  It also identifies you as a “gullible tourist” if you leave the resort grounds. Those wrist bands broadcast information to a lot more folks than just the hotel staff.

 

If you are ever in a local market frequented by tourists, find a place to sit and watch the stall owners interact with the shoppers.  You will notice that the first place they look when evaluating a customer is the customer’s wrist.

 

If they see an all-inclusive resort bracelet, they immediately know the person is not likely a local.  It also means that the tourist probably isn’t as comfortable traveling as someone who might stay at a local hotel and procure his own meals and drinks.

 

The tourists wearing the bracelets will get approached more aggressively and at a more frequent rate. Prices will automatically be at least 20% higher than the prices quoted to a traveler who isn’t wearing a bracelet.

 

The shopkeepers can recognize the bracelet by the color and emblem.  They will instantly know if you are staying in a luxury hotel or a cheaper resort.  If they recognize the bracelet from the five-star resort where you are staying, your price for their goods just doubled.

 

Additionally, there are several scams locals use on tourists with all-inclusive bracelets.  Scam artists use the bracelets as a topic of conversation and a way to approach the traveler.  They use their resort knowledge as a way to build rapport with random travelers.  You’ll see approaches that go something like this:

 

Approach #1– “Oh, I see that you are staying at XXX resort.  That’s a beautiful place!  How do you like it?  I’ve stayed there several times in the past.  Which is your favorite restaurant there?

You know, that hotel is actually my second favorite place to stay.  Why don’t you take a walk with me and I’ll show you my new favorite place.  You’ll be stunned at how much better it is than the  place you are currently staying.”

 
Approach #2- “Hey!  I recognize you guys!  You are staying at the XXX resort.  Do you remember me?  I’m the person who cleaned your room yesterday.  I was disappointed that you didn’t leave a bigger tip.  Didn’t I do a good job?  Are you too rich to care about the local people here? 

Why don’t you make it up to me right now.  I think $20 US would be a good apology gesture for being so greedy and insulting.”

 

 

Approach #3- “Oh, look at that!  You’re staying at XXX resort.  I recognized the bracelet.  I worked as the tour guide coordinator for that resort for 15 years before starting my own guide business.  I know the hotel’s excursion pricing.  I know I can give you a better experience for cheaper.  Would you be interested in booking a tour with me?”

 
If you are staying at a resort that uses bracelets as identifiers, ask them to place the bracelet around your ankle instead.  That way you can cover it with pants or socks if you go into a nearby town.  Some will accommodate that request and some will not.

 

If they refuse to put the bracelet on your ankle, put it on the same arm that you wear your watch.  That way you can at least partially cover the bracelet with your watch band and make it less noticeable.

 

During my Mexican vacation a couple weeks ago,  I stayed in an all-inclusive for convenience.  They required guests wear the bracelet on a wrist.  Take a look at the two photos below to see how I mostly hid the bracelet with my wristwatch whenever I left the resort for any reason.

 

Standard all-inclusive identification bracelet

 

Same bracelet hidden by watch band.

 

Haggling Tips

Haggling Tips 960 636 Greg Ellifritz

Bargaining and haggling in local markets is a favorite pastime for many tourists traveling in foreign countries.

 

I think the best advice about the bargaining/haggling process was written by Christopher Blin in the book Swimming to Angola.  In that book, he wrote:

 

“1) Think of what they want you to pay- eye level

2) What you want to pay- chest level

3) Where you are after bargaining- somewhere around the neck

4) What the locals would pay- knee to ankle level

5) What they would charge if you forgot to ask the price beforehand -above the top of the head

 

You win the game if you can keep your transaction within the “strike zone”- from knees to chest.”

 

If you want some more haggling tips, I think you’ll like the article below.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Haggling in Southeast Asia