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Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Mexico, North America, RTW, Travel Info

This Is How I Plan: Mexico


So big news: I’m going to Mexico. After spending 2 months in Canada I had to leave. So after checking out multiple flight options around the world, the cheapest round trip ticket I could find was to Mexico. And well, I’ve been dying to see Mexico for a long time. It is RIGHT THERE just south of Canada (Ok not JUST, but as Canadian’s distance is relative). So This is how I plan:

Booking Flights

Kayak.com

Kayak Toronto-Cancun

Vayama.ca

Vayama Toronto-Cancun

Company Websites

American Airlines - Toronto to Cancun

I spend a few days, a few weeks, cruising through flight prices. I find some great deals and sometimes I find squat. I didn’t find the best deal on this flight, but it is affordable for me, and it had convenient times. With 3 days of decision making, I think my $417 Round-Trip flight was great – especially considering I am flying back in December which general means increased prices for the holidays.

Destination Planning

Lonely Planet Guidebooks

These are some of my favourite guidebooks. I am a sort of collection. I don’t typically bring them with me when I travel as I also have the digital copies of them – but prior to leaving, or simply when I am in need of inspiration, I read through a Lonely Planet guide and highlight everything I want to do. I am a huge planner so these are great for maps and transportation options.

lonely planet - central america

Other Travel Books

I love to be inspired by travel and pictures is one of the best way for me to decide “I’m going there”. I’ve read through many books, mostly picture books, and highlighted where I’ve been and where I want to go. The full page colour photos taken by professional photographers? Get me every time. I book my tickets almost immediately. So I scoured the index for the Mexico section and had more of a selection on what I wanted to see.

Travel Books

Online Forums

Other people have been here before and done this before. I know this and I like this – I try to head their advice. I scour forums, such as BootsnAll for advice on my destination. Forums cover all topics from Safety, to Itineraries, to Sights and Activities. Great for a more personalized view on a destination.

BootsnAll Forum

Other Travel Bloggers

And one of my FAVOURITE ways to garner information is through reading the blogs of my fellow travellers. I love reading their stories and oogling at their pictures. They make me feel like I was there – they share so much and open my eyes to things I may never of found on my own. Other travel bloggers are amazing.

TravelingCanucks.com Travel Blog - Mexico Posts

I have read about Mexico a lot but I never wrote anything down. I wasn’t planning on visiting. But now I am. So I start reading up thing that intrigue me. I find out about Day of the Dead in Oaxaca from November 1st-3rd. Write that down. Then I research my obsession on ruins. Which ruins to see, and how to get there.

Cities & Sites to Visit

Then comes out Google – The best invention since sliced bread. (yeah, I used that metaphor). I love photos, especially colourful ones. So when I google a place and the photos are stunning, I write it down as another potential destination. If I am that amazed by what I see I MAKE it happen. A must-see destination. So lets show you what I googled and why they became must see places:

 

Playa del Carmen – Surrounding it: Cenote dos ojos, Tulum, and Coba Ruins

Campeche – Surrounding it: Ruta Puuc and Uxmal

Valladolid – Attractions near By: Cenote Dzitnup and Zaci, Chichen Itza, and Convent san Bernardino de siena

Oaxaca – Attractions: Day of the Dead Celebration, and Monte Alban

Palenque – Attractions: Palenque Ruins, Rio Bec Ruins, and Calakmul Ruins

San Cristobal de las Casas – Attractions: Laguna Miramar and Yaxchilan Ruins

 

Then I realized Tikal was in Guatemala, the neighbouring country to Mexico. So I extended my search into Guatemala and came up with these places:

  • Coban
  • Antigua
  • Semuc Champey
  • Flores

Creating the Itinerary

I open a trusty excel file and date it: October 16th all the way to December 5th. That is 51 days to plan for. So how do I fit everything I want into it? So I fiddle around with how many days I might want to spend in each city depending on how many places I want to see there and how great a distance it is to my next destination. A map with highlighted destinations on it helps with the routing. Add in distance in Hours between destinations and the price listed in the Lonely Planet (as a reference only)

Mexico Brief Itinerary

And then I research deeper into each destination. Prices of sites, restaurants to visit, activities to partake in, and anything else I can discover! So that is how I plan. It is flexible but it helps me gain a better idea of what I will do and how I will do it.

Have you been to Mexico? What do you suggest as a MUST-SEE?

13 Comments

  1. If you are coming to Mexico, you are always welcome to come visit ME in Mexico City! You can go to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, see Lucha Libres (Mexican Wrestling) or Bull Fighting (before it becomes illegal), or see a football match in a stadium that can hold over 100,000+ people :) Plus in one of the largest cities in the world, there are tons of other things to do as well.

    • I don’t know if I’ll make it that far! I’d like to but I have to wait and see. The closest I think I’ll be is in Oaxaca for Day of the Dead festival. But if I do go I will most CERTAINLY get in touch with you!

  2. This is how I tend to plan trips I want to take. Not the actual trip, funnily enough, but the ones I know I want to do some day. I hate being blocked into a timetable, but for future dreaming and anticipation it’s just so much fun!

    • I plan potential trips like this all the time! This isn’t a “set” schedule, as it is completely flexible, it is just one way for me to know I can fit everything in that I want to do in the time frame. If I want to stay longer in a place because I love it or I want to leave sooner because I don’t – I can. I don’t book most of my accommodation until a few days before I plan to arrive. The hostels are just the places I hope to stay when I do arrive!

  3. Wow – you are so much more organised that I am! I usually just draw a calendar on a piece of scratch paper and write my travel schedule on that, ha! 😉

    Great post :)

    • Yeah most people are like that but I simply love to plan and organize – I think it is fun. I make up both imaginary and real plans depending if I have a booked flight OR I want to inspire myself to finally book that flight!

    • That is why I am going there over all other cities celebrating. SO EXCITED!

  4. Do you plan to visit Chichen Itza as well? One suggestion: if you are travelling there from Cancun/Playa, do not take the organized tours. Rent a car and do Chichen Itza, cenote (pick one) and Valladolid within one day on your own.

    • I rarely take organized tours – only when they are the “cheaper” option. So mostly only to inaccessible places. There are the local buses I was going to hop. I’ll have to get to Chichen Itza next time I stop in Mexico! Thanks for the tips though.

  5. Wow!! 51 days in Mexico? That is awesome. I just spent 9 days there and has a great time. You got a good deal on the airplane ticket. I got mine from LAX – Mexico City for $380. So you got a really good price from Toronto.

    • I spend many hours searching for those budget tickets. Always super happy when I find a bargain. My 51 days turned into 25 but that is ok – the change was necessary. Just means I’ll be back soon.

  6. Looks like you have this trip coming together nicely! Enjoy Chitzen Itza. I highly recommend taking a tour on site. It is so fascinating. Was there for a group function and our guide was awesome. Did the tour plus time to explore. You’ll have to do Tikal another time. If you do – stay at one of the places just outside the park for the night – also well worth the effort!
    Anita Mac’s Recently Posted..French Quarter Bike Tours – two wheeling it through New OrleansMy Profile

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