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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Semuc Champey
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)
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.