3 Fantastic Tips To Enjoy Traveling Through Mexico.
Story by Jim Foreman
This happens a lot. Someone heading to Mexico for the first time asks an innocent question, for example: “I live in Dallas TX and would like to visit San Miguel de Allende, hopefully by making it across early in the morning and crossing again by the end of the day. Which crossing should I take: Laredo or Mc Allen?” According to Google Maps the distances are minimal, 706 vs. 756 miles.
706 miles in one day across the US isn’t an easy ask: You’re looking at 12 hours minimum even if gas and restroom breaks are limited.
With this in mind, pulling off such a challenging trek in an unfamiliar place should be enough for you to question why you would need to travel such a long distance in a single day.
The US and Canada have reputable highway infrastructures. You can travel between 70-90 MPH using the cruise control and reasonably predict your time on the road. Across the border, the same estimates don’t apply.
In spite of this, many in the US crossing the border for the first time will overplan their vacation, and of course this begins with folks overestimating the time they plan to spend on the road. Furthermore many Americans will meticulously plan their trips down to the tiniest detail, in addition to this being unfeasible, such planning can have adverse effects, for example, driving at night, a big no-no.
Despite that, most first-time travelers grossly overestimate the distance they can travel in their
For some reason, people who have not driven outside of the USA or Canada don’t believe traveling can be any different than what they’re used to, back at home. Furthermore, many Gringos, mistakenly believe that because doing something is fine at home, such as driving at night, that it’s okay in other countries.
For seasoned overland travelers, estimating travel time will probably seem second nature. Still, one can glean some useful car driving tips and techniques here.
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Travel time estimates South of the border should be multiplied by at least 1.5. This means if it ordinarily takes 2 hours to get somewhere in the USA, it’ll take 3 hours South of the Border.
We’ll simplify it, in a moment. First off, Mexico like nearly all of the rest of the world uses kilometers for distance. One kilometer is roughly .6 miles. For gross estimating, 3 Km is close to 2 miles. (1.8 is closer, but we’re keeping it simple.)
Curiously, there are 1.6 kilometers in 1 mile. Here’s where it is simple. For time estimates, merely treat the kilometers as miles, and you’ll be traveling smart and safe with a reasonable prediction of how long it takes to get somewhere.
Don’t be in such a rush. It may be Bingo Night in San Miguel de Allende, but consider breaking your trip up over two or three days. The worst thing you can do is to act like everything is a rush. It’s not! Slow down. Take it easy. Stay a night in Monterrey. Stay another night in Zacatecas or San Luis Potosi.
Traveling like a white-knuckled zombie on the toll roads, recreating a version of the ‘Cannonball Run’ is foolish on dozens of levels.
There are lovely destinations that may not be precisely on the fastest route. Check them out.
There are also 111 Pueblos Magicos in the Republic that are well worth a visit.
Don’t make hotel reservations in advance unless you’re traveling during Christmas or Semana Santa. Reservations lock you into a destination and a schedule. Reservations also lead sensible people to do daft things, to not lose the reservation.
Embrace the Mexican culture and allow your mind and personage to be free. Set off without an exact schedule. Arrive when you arrive and enjoy this amazing country.
Estimating Travel Time
The worst thing an American or Canadian can do, when traveling, is to act like a frantic American or Canadian. Chill out. Relax and enjoy the life you claim to want. That means not making neurotic up-to-the-minute plans and letting yourself be embraced by the culture.
If you’re good traveling 300 miles a day back home, expect to travel 300 kilometers. If you prefer 500 miles per day, expect no more than 500 kilometers a day.
All things considered, traveling South of the border is easy and should be part of the fun. Just make sure you have your passport, tourist visa, TVIP (if required for your route), high-quality Mexican Insurance Store Mexico Insurance for cars and a good attitude.