The distance from the airport you fly into to the resort itself is not something many people consider first, but it’s a topic worth considering if you want to find the best hotel for you. Some resort areas benefit from being only a short drive from major airports, though they tend to attract a certain group of people that you may or may not want to mix with.
I’ve spent years going around to different resort areas and researching hotels, along with actually living in some resort areas and seeing the visitors in person as they arrive and depart. It is quite interesting to see how certain travel styles seem to cluster in certain places over and over.
Resort areas far from airports are usually more relaxed
Perhaps the easiest thing to notice about the different visitor types is that people in a hurry, and especially those just in for a weekend, tend to value being close to an airport. This means that even after they arrive they are usually rushing around in their limited time so these places can feel frantic. They are also extra busy because there’s always more traffic in hubs than far away from them, so if you prefer a relaxed holiday you might seek out a location further from the airport.
Resort areas far from airports tend to attact people who like the local culture
Another of the more obvious things when you look at it is that resort areas closest to the major airports tend to be more “international” (generic) in nature. This is true in Jamaica where everyone flies into Montego Bay and some people then ride out to Negril or Ocho Rios for their hotel. There are better examples, but still, the further you get from the airport the more the country feels like Jamaica instead of an American beach on an island.
If you don’t mind cookie-cutter resort areas, and many people don’t, then you will get your best value near airports. But if you enjoy soaking in some of the local culture you might be better off looking for more remote resorts. The same is true in Cancun where you can stay down in the Riveria Maya for a more Mexican experience or stay near the airport in Cancun for a generic one.
Remote resort areas that are suspiciously cheap should be avoided
Considering the two facts above, you’ll often find that cheaper resorts are close to airports and nicer ones are a bit further away. However, in some vacation areas you’ll actually find the absolute cheapest hotels in very remote areas. Since many of us start by looking for the cheapest thing first, this can end up being a bad sign.
The problem with these remote and cheap areas is that they are cheap for a reason and they will also attract nothing but cheapskates. If the least expensive all-inclusive resort near the airport is US$200 per night, then a remote place for US$150 per night is probably an old place that is falling apart. Check reviews carefully before booking a super cheap place no matter where it is.