Last Tuesday Thom and I arrived at the Tijuana Airport for our flight to Mexico City. We’ve never flown out of Tijuana before but had several friends who encouraged our decision to give it a try. Even though we had checked in online and had boarding passes, we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. After all, nothing can ruin a vacation like missing your flight. Thankfully, the entire experience went smoothly and easily starting our vacation in the right way.
The Tijuana Airport is as modern, clean and efficient as any we have experienced around the world. Our trip was considered a “domestic flight” because it originated in Mexico, so it was suggested we arrive only 90 minutes before our flight. Because we were early it was easy to obtain our tourist visas and fill out that necessary paperwork. Security was a breeze with only one or two people in front of us and although we did have to put the laptop and our carry-ons though the scanners, we didn’t have to remove our shoes. Once inside we easily found both our gate and a Starbucks.
Our Aeromexico flight was boarded right on time and the three and a half hour flight was as scheduled. Once we arrived in Mexico City, our luggage was unloaded in record time. A taxi to our Bed & Breakfast was a race through the crowded and busy streets of Mexico City.
Mexico City is a big city and it does take while to get your bearings but our Bed & Breakfast, The Red Tree House made that easy. Like a tranquil island oasis, we settled into our room and were invited to join the nightly happy hour where we were able to relax with a glass of wine and meet other guests. That practice is offered every night and is an awesome way to get to know other guests.
As promised in my previous post, here are this week’s SMART Travel Tips for anyone traveling anywhere in the near future along with some background on our particular trip.
1) Always expect the best but flow with what’s happening. Something
that has served Thom and I very well with all our travels is to expect the very best. Of course this is something I write about all the time. Much of what we expect out of life becomes our experience. And even when it doesn’t turn out quite what we expect, at least we aren’t fretting or worrying about things we can’t change even if we want.
Our experience with the Tijuana Airport certainly confirmed this. We went expecting a very smooth and effortless time of it and that’s what we got. Compared to flying out of a major city airport like LAX, the security and lack of crowds made it relaxing and enjoyable.
2) Pick your place to stay (hotel) very carefully. As I mentioned last week I am big into checking into reviews before making any reservation. Frequently,
our favorites places to stay are Bed & Breakfasts or small Inns. By researching great reviews and choosing a location that is central to the heart of the town or city where we are staying, we’ve always been richly rewarded. This time was no exception. The Red Tree House B & B here in Mexico City is awesome. The entire property is immaculately maintained and our room comfortable, clean and lovely. One of the best features is the amazing full breakfast in the morning and the complementary happy hour in the evening. We have met some of the most interesting and fun people possible because both breakfast and happy hour brings us together to get to know one another. By carefully picking our location our trip to Mexico City has been a tremendous success.
3) Use tour guides when possible. Because I am such a great researcher it is
tempting to want to save money when touring sites by doing it on our own. But what we have discovered is that if you are busy trying to remember a few of the details of a place, or read about the background, it is very challenging to immerse yourself in the experience. By hiring a guide you not only can focus on the activity, but a good guide can offer stories and background you didn’t even know you would like to know. Our experience proves to us over and over that a good guide is more than worth the cost.
4) Try things out of the ordinary—you will likely be pleasantly
surprised. Yesterday I tried a mescal martini for the first time—and yes it was great! For lunch we ate at the Coyoacan market and had a mole tostada. Last night we wandered in to a little local restaurant because we were hungry and asked the waitress what was good. Today we went on a bicycle tour of a neighborhood. The best thing about vacation is that it takes us out of our normal routines and making everything we experience new and fresh. Never be afraid to try something new and unexpected.
5) Take the time to meet and connect with others. I love seeing WOW sites
whenever we travel but I’ve learned that what I most remember from any trip is the people we meet and spend time getting to know. Not only did we meet some wonderful people here at The Red Tree House, we also spent the day with a couple of interesting guides who told us what it was like to live in this city. I don’t doubt for a second that we have made new friends.
Mexico City is a huge, interesting and fascinating city. Everywhere we turn there are people, cars, different sights, smells and things to observe. So much is unfamiliar and that is part of the charm. But isn’t that why most of us travel? Travel shakes up routines and asks us to observe the world from new perspectives. It introduces us to new people, places and hopefully new ideas. Ultimately travel can be SMART as long as we are willing to keep an open mind, learn as we go, expecting the best no matter what.