People are being asked to exercise judgement after restrictions officially lift. Christian Battaglia / Unsplash
People are being asked to exercise judgement after restrictions officially lift. Christian Battaglia / Unsplash
Daniel Flanagan and Zhadyra Darbayeva enjoy the weather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, U.S., July 3, 2021. Mary F. Calvert / Reuters
Over the years, I’ve lived in Playa del Carmen, Mexico several times. I love that city and I recommend it all the time for those looking for a great vacation and for those looking to live in a tropical, laid-back destination for a while.
It’s an easy place to reach, too. I arrive at the Cancun Airport, and if I’m traveling on my own, I hop into a Cancun Shuttle shared transportation for the 50 minute ride down to Playa del Carmen. They drop me off at my accommodation (Reef 28 Hotel or an Airbnb) and just like that, I’m ready to enjoy my time in this great town.
I know that getting from the airport to Playa del Carmen, or even to the Cancun hotel zone, is a major reason for concern for many travelers. The Cancun airport is well-known for being a hassle, with a confusing and intense set-up that makes it overwhelming to book transportation at the airport once you arrive.
It takes time, you don’t know if you’re getting a good deal (it’s very easy to pay too much if you book transfers at the airport) and you’re stuck amongst the crowds of people trying to get out of there.
That’s why I typically recommend organizing transportation in advance and if you’re a solo traveler, shared transportation is the best option. This way, you avoid all the hassle at the airport, your transportation service will be waiting for you by the exit when you arrive and for a very affordable price, you’ll be taken to your hotel or apartment.
The downside of course is that the van will have other travelers too and the driver will drop everyone off in the order that makes the most sense based on the route. But in my opinion, for prices as low as $12 per person to Cancun and $25 per person to Playa del Carmen (not bad for an almost 1 hour ride), it’s worth the extra ten minutes or so that it might take to drop others off before you.
It’s funny because when I was younger and traveling on the lowest budget possible, I would almost never book airport transportation in advance. I would arrive, figure out the local bus or train system and take whatever was the cheapest option, regardless of the hassle or time it took. The goal was simple – spending the least amount of money.
But now, those days are over and the goal has shifted. When I arrive in a destination, getting to my accommodation quickly and with complete ease is what’s important. And when that can happen without having to spend a fortune, such as the case with booking shared transportation from Cancun airport, it’s a bonus and I don’t hesitate to book it.
Arrival at the Cancun Airport in Mexico is always an interesting experience. Usually, immigration and customs are a breeze, but once you leave that area and head towards the exit, this is when things get hectic. When it comes to Cancun airport transportation, many visitors find the process to be a real headache.
It begins with passing a dozen or so rental car and other transportation desks, where the staff will undoubtedly start calling out to you to try and get your attention. Then, a minute later, you enter the welcome hall, where dozens of semi-official looking people will start approaching you, also trying to convince you to use all kinds of transportation services to reach your hotel, Airbnb or wherever you might be staying.
It’s confusing, it can be intense and it’s not a very relaxing way to start any trip to Mexico.
On the other hand, you could always book private Cancun airport transportation in advance, using a reputable company that is known for prompt and professional service and excellent pricing. This is especially useful if you are traveling in a group of 2 or more people as the cost will work out much cheaper than shared transportation.
Private transportation from Cancun airport is also the easiest and quickest way to get out of the airport and be on your way. You just want to make sure the company you choose for your private transfer gives you one clear price so that you are not surprised by any hidden charges.
If you choose this method, you simply walk through the throngs of people trying to pressure you to use their services, head straight for the exit, go outside and then you’ll find your private driver waiting for you. You’ll get right into your comfortable car or van and off you’ll go, without any hassle at all. This works whether you are going to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Akumal or even Tulum, or anywhere else in the Riviera Maya region.
In the end, if you book a transfer at the airport, you need to be really careful if you want to avoid being overcharged. And you also need to give yourself plenty of time as it can take a while to choose a company, pay at the desk and find your vehicle, all while hoping that you didn’t get ripped off.
Obviously, if you’ve just flown in from another country, the last thing you’ll want to do is hang out at the airport for extra time trying to figure out how to get to your accommodation. Doesn’t spending more time on a white sand beach sound so much better?
Have a wonderful, hassle-free trip to beautiful Mexico!
Every now and then while traveling, there comes a week when everything magically falls into place, with one remarkable experience after another. Some moments might have been planned, others spontaneous and several completely unexpected, but together, the result is almost hard to believe, in the best way possible.
That was my past week, while on a spectacular Las Vegas Grand Canyon road trip.
It all began with…
Despite the 118F (48C) temperatures, we roamed up and down The Strip each day, wandered in and out of the hotels and casinos and spent some time in the Arts District and at the Fremont Street Experience. We went to the wacky and trippy Meow Wolf Omega Mart art installation as well and paid a visit to Gorilla Sushi where we partook in their awesome all-you-can-eat sushi deal.
And we stayed at the renovated Flamingo Hotel & Casino, right in the center of the strip. The rooms were large, very comfortable and the location was perfect. During the week it was only $40 per night.
We also ended up in a helicopter thanks to Georgiana. One afternoon she had the random idea to take a sunset helicopter ride over the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and over The Strip. I think it went from being an idea to us being in a helicopter flying over Vegas in about 4 hours. And it was absolutely one of the best decisions we made as the views are brilliant to say the least! (We went with 5 Star Helicopter Tours. They were great and they offer cheap deals through Groupon.)
Next up on the Las Vegas Grand Canyon road trip….
We rented a car, and left Vegas. First stop – the massive Hoover Dam. It was pretty interesting to walk across it but the heat was brutal and we didn’t stay long. A couple of hours later we took a fika break in the town of Kingman, Arizona. By sheer luck, we stumbled upon the absolute cutest little bakery (Cupcakes by Jan) run by the absolute cutest and most welcoming elderly woman, who happens to also bake some outstanding cupcakes. This was an excellent find.
Then we continued driving, eventually arriving at the wonderful Grand Hotel in the town of Tusayan, near the entrance to the one and only Grand Canyon National Park. The very next morning, off we went into the park…and I’m not sure what to say about it apart from ‘go there if you haven’t been!‘. The Grand Canyon is mesmerizingly beautiful to the point of absurdity.
We spent that night in the very pleasant little town of Williams, Arizona (there’s a wide range of accommodation here), located on famous Route 66. Here we walked along the main street, checking out the historic shops, saloons and eateries, many of which seem to be left unchanged from a hundred years ago.
After a solid sleep…
This day was surreal as well and not an original part of our Las Vegas Grand Canyon road trip. As we were driving through Bullhead City on our way back to Las Vegas, we suddenly decided to go full force and continue on to Death Valley National Park. So, from Arizona to Nevada to California we went, and despite the driving time, we managed to arrive in the early afternoon.
Inside the park we visited Zabriskie Point (unique mountains and mud formations), Artists Palette (mountains full of colorful mineral deposits), Badwater Basin (lowest point in North America) and the Mesquite Sand Dunes (huge, silky desert sand dunes) as well as driving through a ton of other gorgeous landscapes.
The temperature did reach a ridiculous 130F (55C) though, so it was somewhat impossible to be outside the car for more than a few minutes at a time. But it also seemed to keep people away as we only encountered a handful of others during our entire time in the park, making the experience even more special.
So yes, this park is AMAZING. I had been to part of this park before but I honestly forgot that the landscapes were so damn otherworldly and mind-blowing. Again, AMAZING!
Finally, late that night, we pulled back into Las Vegas, promptly passed out in our hotel room and woke up the next day ready to fly back to Florida. And back in Florida is where I am now after that crazy, insanely memorable, ‘this is why I travel’, too-good-to-be-true kind of travel week!
The post A Spectacular Las Vegas and Grand Canyon Road Trip appeared first on Wandering Earl.
The southeastern Australian state of New South Wales is well known for its national parks, coastal cities, and rugged coastlines. Visitors travel hundreds of miles to explore the Blue Mountains, various surf beaches, and even dozens of wineries within The Hunter Valley region.
As familiar as you might be with the offerings of NSW, discovering group activities can be a little harder. If you’re about to set off on an Australian adventure, here are some not-to-be-missed experiences for you and your loved ones.
Travelers exploring north of Sydney in NSW may end up in one of Australia’s most significant wine regions. Consider the Hunter Valley wine tours as a fun, educational group activity that teaches you about some of the finest wines in Australia.
The Hunter Valley has made a name for itself with Shiraz and Semillon wine varieties, and many family-run and world-renowned wine brands call this region home.
While pleasing everyone on a group trip is not always easy you won’t find too many people saying no to an adventure through one of New South Wales’ many national parks.
Explore the world’s oldest cave systems within the Blue Mountains National Park, and conquer your fears with a ride through the mountains on the Scenic World cable car. There is also an abundance of hiking and bushwalking activities, such as the Sea Acres walk in Sea Acres National Park and the White Sands Walk in Jervis Bay National Park.
Even if you’ve explored the world and have already seen your fair share of culture, your travel group will likely be amazed at the offerings in New South Wales. An eclectic mix of European and Aboriginal history is on display in the many museums, art galleries, and festivals across the state.
Check out Aboriginal rock art in the national parks, explore gold rush towns looking for precious gems, or even pay a visit to various filming locations. New South Wales has provided the backdrop for many famous movies, including Planet of the Apes and Mission Impossible.
If your group is in the mood to experience more local produce after going on a wine tour, you may even be just in time for one of the state’s many famous beer and wine festivals, cultural festivals, and food festivals.
What better way to spend your vacation than getting up close and personal with Australian wildlife and nature. New South Wales offers many different wildlife activities, such as whale watching, zoos, and sanctuaries. If you’ve never seen a koala or kangaroo, there are plenty of opportunities to get quite close to them and grab that first glimpse.
While you’re outside in nature, you could also be exploring some of the most famous waterfalls, such as Winifred Falls in the Royal National Park, and Belmore Falls in Kangaroo Valley. Travelers heading along the NSW Coast may even decide to take a break in one of over 100 ocean pools from Yamba to Bermagui.
Groups planning trips away from home often find that some of the most competitive rates are in winter. While the weather may not be easy to predict, you can at least be ready for winter activities. NSW is home to many standout ski resorts – even some of the largest in the southern hemisphere. Get your skis ready for over 60 miles of cross country trails at Perisher, or visit the highest ski field in Australia, Charlotte Pass.
Life is all about making memories, and there’s no better way to do that than with your closest friends and family. While you’re planning your next group adventure in Australia, consider making the journey to New South Wales where wine tours, ski trips, cultural experiences, and more await your attention.
The post Fun Group Activities in New South Wales, Australia appeared first on Wandering Earl.
From left: Joel Cabrera, Chief Travel Officer and co-founder of Zoom Vacations, walking with his boyfriend Matt on the beach in the Maldives. Landaa / Zoom Vacations
The travel industry gathered at Westminster in London to protest on June 23. Jason Clampet / Skift
The UK expands list of green light countries for non-essential travel. Dannyman / Wikimedia
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