Traveling to Mexico for vacations in Playa Del Carmen, PlayaCar, Tulum, Cancun, Playa Mujeres and Isla Mujeres, have been part of our lives long before we met and it continues to be our passion together.
What Places Are on Your Travel Wish List?
Between us, John and I have been to the Caribbean and to Mexico well over 50 times, so it’s a good thing we are both ocean people and not ski resort people, or we may have been vacationing separately!!
We are no longer employed in the “corporate world”, where earned vacation days must be scheduled with respective employers. Now that we are self-employed entrepreneurs, we will expand our travels to the city of Santorini in Greece, Bali, Hawaii (neither of us have ever been) and the Fiji Islands.
We even purchased a decorative chalkboard where we write the next destination location at the top of the board and literally count down the days until our departure. It’s something we see every day when we leave our home, and mark off the days each night so we have something to look forward to and get excited about! So, we have our 4 bucket list trips on our chalkboard for now, and we can’t wait to report back on our adventures after each trip!!
We Highly Recommend Reading Trip Advisor Reviews
John and I absolutely love planning our trips and we spend a lot of quality time doing research beforehand, so we minimize any “unpleasant surprises” from happening after we leave the US. We always check the reviews on TripAdvisor when we book our stay at a resort, condo or beach house. This way we know what “real people” are saying about the place and the surrounding area.
We have made a couple of mistakes by trusting the photos and/or property manager’s descriptions, only to be incredibly disappointed upon our arrival. This is a good reason to always check independent reviews before making a decision.
We requested, on two occasions, a location change when a property we rented through Airbnb was not properly maintained by the management company, and the property was misrepresented on their website. The management company does not want a bad review or to be fired by the property owners, so they are generally cooperative.
John & I pay good money to stay in certain types of places, so we are not going to be the ones inconvenienced. Especially, when we have looked forward to our vacation for months or longer and you shouldn’t either!
Safety Tips for Easy Travel
These are some safety tips that we highly recommend you investigate before booking your trip to another country in addition to checking the reviews.
Check the US Embassy for travel updates regarding safety, travel bans, traveling with pets (if allowed and what is required like health records, rabies shots, certifications, etc.), extended stays, COVID testing requirements for arrivals and departures and passport requirements.
Passports – make sure your passports are not expiring within 6 months of returning from your out of the country trip, as some countries will not accept them as valid entry within this time frame.
The passport office is taking a really long time issuing new, renewals or updating information on existing passports, so check their website for requirements for in-person and/or online applications, the required documentation and their timelines. Do not delay this process or you will find yourself rescheduling your trip and possibly losing a lot of money since there are NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
Make copies of your passports to take with you and place them in your safe, and also leave copies with relatives back in the states, just in case you lose them while out of the country.
Sign up for Global Entry – to make getting through security and customs much easier and faster. This also takes a very long time to get an appointment, and although you can complete the application online you must go in person for the final interview and fingerprinting to get your Global Entry ID card.
Download a translator app prior to departing – the one we use is iTranslate Translator and it was a life saver especially in stores, pharmacies and with taxi drivers.
Reliable Transportation When Traveling
Make sure you book your airport transportation to and from the airport prior to arriving at your destination for the best price and most reliable transportation. AmStar DMC is a global transportation company, and is one that John and I have used for years.
They are reliable, reasonably priced and can also take you on tours and/or excursions while you are there. There are some places you absolutely do not want to rent a car, and Mexico is probably one of those places.
Tips for Driving in Mexico
Drivers in Mexico tend to make up their own traffic (like worse than New York). You don’t want to get caught up in that hot mess! The liability insurance alone is probably 5-6 times the cost of the rental car for this reason, and they will not accept your US auto insurance.
How To Stay Safe When Scheduling Travel Excursions
If you are going to schedule tours, excursions, water sports, etc, book them through your resort, hotel or through your Airport Transportation company for your own safety. They must report who is traveling with them via your passport to their government, so it is another security method in place so there is a record of where you are going, where you have been and when you are expected to return.
If you do not schedule them through your resort or hotel LET THEM KNOW where you are going, who is taking you and when you are expected to return.
John’s Tips on Traveling Solo
Before I met Melissa, I used to travel solo quite a bit. It can be challenging to find someone to travel with as you age, particularly if you don’t have a significant other or someone to travel with. It’s also sometimes worse to travel with the wrong person than not to travel at all, and most of us have been in that situation! Ha! So, my advice, if you are single and you want to go, then go!
Now, I know this is easier for men than women sometimes, but there are many safe places to travel solo. I went to Playa Del Carmen on several occasions solo, as well as Nassau. There are many nice, safe spots in south Florida as well. There are also many single travel groups, so get out there and enjoy yourself!
Please see our upcoming Blogs and our Facebook posts for our latest Travel news and updates. We look forward to sharing these with you!