Winter break: the joyous time during the college year when many students migrate to popular vacation spots such as Caribbean cruises, Florida, and Mexico. What do all of these tropical destinations have in common? They are all home to well known all-inclusive resorts.
For any of you all-inclusive newbies, an “all-inclusive” resort or cruise is a place where one rate covers all food and drink charges. Sounds a little bit like a place we all hold near and dear to our hearts: the dining hall.
Here are some ways that home sweet dining hall will remind you of the dining facilities from your latest all-inclusive vacation spot, along with some added tips for success in both places.
All You Can Eat
Just like at your college dining hall, all-inclusives let you (and encourage you) to stuff your face with as much food as your heart desires. This allows you to taste lots of different dishes, and you can even take second helpings.
But, it can be a clear disadvantage when you are given the option to eat as many chocolate chip cookies as you want before it’s even 12 pm. Pace yourself, my friends.
Endless Amounts of Unhealthy Food
Back to those cookies… both college dining halls and all-inclusive spots typically don’t just offer cookies. They offer cake, pie, three different types of cookies, and a choice between vanilla and chocolate ice cream at every single meal.
Not to mention the pizza station that is home to three different pies, and the station that is always sizzling with fresh french fries. Yikes.
#SpoonTip: Don’t fear the salad bar. It’s your friend. It remains the only spot you can consistently count on for healthy options. If you’re on vacation, it will help balance out the unlimited piña coladas.
Creativity is Necessary
College dining halls are often blamed for being one thing: bland. That’s why creativity is the key to success (thank you, DJ Khaled).
Whether that means using the microwave to make your own custom pizza bagel, or making an interesting quesadilla with the panini press when your only other option is the rubbery meat dish of the day that they are calling “chicken,” you gotta do what ya gotta do.
The same goes for all-inclusives. If you don’t like the options that you’re given at the buffet, take a bunch of items and make them into something delicious. If the pasta that they’re serving has a boring preparation, bring it over to the salad bar and add some of your favorite toppings. The more creative, the better.
You know the crowd of people that mobs the dining hall stations during prime dinner time? All-inclusives are no strangers to this kind of line chaos. All-inclusive buffets can quickly turn into “every man for themselves” battle zones that can only be compared to the college dining hall when good food is being served.
You also have to be careful about cutting the lines unless you want to make some serious enemies. If you want that morning omelet, you’re gonna have to wait your turn.
The Quality of the Food
As far as how good the food tastes in general, many times quantity compromises the quality of the food making it taste… questionable. This goes for both college dining halls and all-inclusive resorts where feeding the masses comes first and foremost. However, some college dining halls are taking the title of the best in the country.
For example, Virginia Tech’s dining halls serve Maine lobster instead of mystery meat. Some all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean also hold the title for best food, so if you’re a foodie, there is no need to feel like an all-inclusive vacation is out of the picture.
Most of us dread going to the dining hall because we know that we are going to have to see people. And we all hate people (just kidding… kind of). A quick 20-minute dining hall break always turns into an hour visit because you end up seeing everyone at school that you know.
At all-inclusives, there’s the same social aspect that comes with open seating – especially on a cruise where you begin to see the same people over and over and over again, so be nice.