Tuesday, September 28, 2010

peter, paul, and mary take a trip

 Nostalgia can be an eccentric tour guide.

Yesterday I was making my final plans for my return home to Mexico.  Plans that turned out to be a bit more convoluted than I had anticipated.

Maybe it is my age.  Maybe it is my love of music.  But the more I tried to focus on setting up my airline reservations, the more I could hear Mary Travers's warble:  'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane/Don't know when I'll be back again.

I thought my return to Mexico would be rather simple.  I was going to buy a motorcycle and head south around the end of October.   

That plan fell through when my right ankle refused to heal enough to handle the weight of a nice road bike.  There would be nothing more humiliating than dumping an eighteen thousand dollar piece of machinery simply because I had the ankle of a ninety year old anchorite.

That left airplanes.  And I knew snowbird season would quickly limit my options.  About six weeks ago, I look at flights to Manzanillo for 30 October and 6 November.  Almost completely full on both days.

My return date depended a lot on the Latin American Bloggers' Conference in mid-November.  Because the conference is on the other side of Mexico (in Merida), I decided to fly -- until I saw the prices for internal flights in Mexico.  I could fly to London from Portland for the price of a ticket.

But I remembered a little trick used by a Mexican business friend.  He often takes flights from one Mexico city to another by adding a leg to a city in the United States.  His advice was sound.  I could save $500.

So, here is my drill.  I will be flying to Cancun from Portland on 10 November where I will meet up with a blogger friend.  We will drive to Merida for the bloggers' conference, and spend a few days touring Yucatan.  There should be plenty of blog tales there.

Then I will fly to Los Angeles from Cancun -- and on to Manzanillo.  Even flying first class, I will save money.

There is a lesson here about the downsides of airfare regulation.  But that is for another post.

For now, I am simply happy that I have plans to be heading to Mexico on that elusive jet plane.  Fueled with nostalgia.


Dan in NC said...

Holy Smokes Batman! You certainly weave a rather tangled web for traveling! How much extra TIME are you spending to save costs? I guess since Mexicana has gone the way of Pan Am, others have jacked up the costs of flying to make up for the lack of choice? I know that my flight to DF was 330 last Nov, but is now closer to 600! Look forward to your blogs from Merida, and your impressions of the White City!
Dan in NC

Jonna said...

Steve, what are you missing here? It's really cheap to fly within Mexico if you use national airlines. Did you check Click! which is part of Mexicana and still operating? My friends flew from Merida to Monterrey - 2 tickets, round trip, for $3000 pesos total. You can fly to Tijuana so cheaply that I'm trying to get my son to drive down and fly from there.

Steve Cotton said...

Dan -- But it will be a lot of air mile points.

Jonna -- I may have been able to find some cheaper flights. But getting in and out of Manzanillo is a pain. This method will give me an opportunity to know some of the bloggers better. I look forward to seeing you there.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I think it all depends on how the stars are aligned. I have found fares as low as $120 round trip to Monterrey (Aerobus hubs there) and then onward to other Mexican destinations. Then again, I have looked and not found anything on any airline for under $300. Another alternative if you want to see the countryside is to take a 1st class bus. More leg room than a plane, better service, you trade sitting around in the terminal waiting for a connection with riding in a bus watching a movie or reading a book,or looking at the country side.
If you are eligible to get a INAPAM card (FM3 and be over 60 years of age, at least those are the rule in Merida), you get 50% off on bus travel. There is limited availability, but usually you can get the discount. You also get 10% off on air travel with in the Republic, subject to restrictions of course.
You will like it here in Merida!!

NWexican said...

I say thumb your way down... There must be at least 60000 RV's heading that way in the next few weeks...

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

See you at the blogger festival. It will be worth all the crazy flying.

Anonymous said...

Dear Heart,

Jets are not fueled with nostalgia, but with high octane petroleum taken from deep within the earth.

That de-regulation of the industry has made it personally reasonable for an individual to use more of that precious commodity to save money for himself just might be an argument for kind of re-regulation.

Oh, I know, that would be limiting freedom, but nothing like the limiting of freedom when the oil runs out.


el jubilado said...

Going thru customs/immigration twice would be enough for me to look for inter-Mexico flights

Anonymous said...

If your ankle is still bothering you, you can have the airlines meet you with a wheelchair. They will whisk you through customs. I have to do the wheelchair due to my health and I was surprised how they put you ahead in customs. Just a thought. It is kind of embarrassing when you are much younger than most of the people in chairs.

Babs said...

Have fun! But there are many, many Mexican airlines now that are very inexpensive. Write down Interjet - most flights are $150 US round trip. I believe they fly to Guadalajara from Oakland, Ca. (don't know that price) and then the bus from Guada to Barra de Navidad is around $27 US.
Just a few alternatives when you DO start traveling in Mexico........
See you in January in Melaque?