The Planning Process: Step 1
Well here we are, finally planning our first 3 month trip. This is a dream come true for someone who’s wanderlust is in her DNA. Next January we will pack up the Mini Clubman and head to Mexico for 3 months. The amount of work that goes into planning a trip like this is somewhat daunting. We are so fortunate to have friends, Caroline and Bob, who have done this, have lived in Mexico and who want to caravan with us. We are also fortunate to have a friend, Redbeard, who must hold the world’s record on crossing the Mexican border. He is helping to guide us with his knowledge and experience. AND we are fortunate to have long time friends, Laura and Myrna, who can check on things like our condo choices and give us their feedback. These friends are just a few of the reasons we decided to spend 3 months in Mexico.
We have been traveling to Mexico since 1998. We have gone at least once a year and for no less than 2 weeks at a time, so we are extremely familiar with the Yucatan. We even had a travel website, Sac-be, that was chock full of information about the area. But even with this amount of time spent in the rich and diverse country we feel we have so much more to see.
11 months is a long time to spend planning and we are hoping to help others by sharing our experiences leading up to the trip and during it.
The first thing we decided to do was to work backwards with our trip. We knew we wanted to be in Puerto Aventuras for the month of March, when our friends would be around. We chose Puerto Aventuras for many reasons. First it came highly recommended by friends who live there. It is a self-contained community and we figured, after weeks of driving, we will want to just plant ourselves somewhere where we can walk to restaurants, shops and the beach. We also feel it is a place that will allow us to get plenty of exercise – swimming, walking, kayaking, golf, all within walking distance. The Mini and our dog Maya will welcome the break. It is also close to the places we love so we can visit Tulum, Akumal, Playa, Puerto Morelos, Villadolid, just to name a few.
We started our search for a place to stay in Puerto Aventuras through Airbnb. The thought was we would be there 1 month, though we very well may stretch to 6 weeks. We hit the jack-pot when it comes to help. The condo we are looking at has a rental manager, named Patrick. He also works for Best Playa . Patrick has been the most responsive host we have ever dealt with. If you are considering a rental in Playa del Carmen or surrounding areas I would recommend you start with Patrick. He has answered my constant and numerous emails and has even offered to meet our friend and let her see the condo before we book it. That alone is incredible.
Working backwards gave us the peace of mind of where we would end up before we head home. It also is a place we hope friends will come to visit. We are not going to stress about how to get home or where we will stay on the way back. We will leave that open figuring there will be places we see on our way down that we will want to hit on the way back.
The next part we are working on is crossing the border. Caroline and Bob and Mike and I all want to see San Antonio, so that will be our first “real” stop - or should I say “pleasure” stop - and possibly the point where we will meet up. We will be driving from Charleston, SC and they will be coming from Philadelphia. Our first stop will probably be Mobile, Alabama.
Redbeard has been a wealth of information for this important piece. Traveling with dogs makes this a little more complicated. Redbeard recommended we spend the night before we crossed the border at Eagle Pass and La Quinta will take dogs. The first night in Mexico we will stop at Matehula, at La Palmas. Then we will head to San Miguel Allende where we are now looking for a place and figuring how many nights to stay. This stop we want to be long enough to experience this well-known, tourist city ex-pat community.
So now you know as much as we do. We have our opening and our closing, now to fill in the blanks. We would love to hear from others who have done this trip or dream about doing it and share recommendations.