Going Places: Book a trip to a beautiful resort in Mexico where sun, sand and salty margs await.


By MARILYN ROBITAILLE


I’m packing my bags for a week in paradise at the Mayan Palace in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.


I know what some of you are thinking. You wouldn’t go to Mexico right now if somebody paid you to go. Everybody has a different level of risk they’re willing to take, and you must take a personal inventory to determine your travel comfort zone.

Unfortunately, in Texas we’ve been bombarded by all the negative news about Mexico, the border, drugs and cartels. My friends outside of Texas have a far different view. I’m always surprised at the number of Europeans, Australians and folks from New York that I’ve encountered at the big Mexican resorts.


If you’re setting aside your fears to head to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, then heed a few simple words of advice, so you’ll be prepared for a stress-free getaway.


With a simple Internet search, you can encounter any number of Mexican resorts that will cater to your every desire. Read the fine print and decide if you want an all-inclusive or another kind of arrangement. Then do your research.

Mayan Palace is currently not offering all-inclusive, so I’ve perused their on-site restaurant options and prices mentioned on their website. Our suite has a full kitchen, so we’re not planning on eating out every meal.


Granted, nobody should be chained to the stove and actually cook while on vacation, but with a little planning, you can manage an easy breakfast and lunch if you have a kitchen. Save bigger splurges for dinner, and you’ll have more time beach-side.


If you like having your first cup of coffee in your pajamas, then start with a shopping list.

My travel companion and I will bring a few items from home, but we know of several places available by taxi and near the resort where we can buy a few supplies.

The main theme of any resort trip should center around the beach, pool, and the spa. We won’t spend much time away from the resort property, but we have noted a big Mexican market we’d like to visit. We’ll take the advice on transportation from the hotel concierge and plan to be picked up at a designated place and time by a taxi provided by the resort.


If you don’t speak the language, load a translation app on your smart phone. The most sophisticated versions will not only translate signage when you point your camera toward print, but they will also speak any English phrase you enter via text in the foreign language. I have both “Translator with Speech” and “Translate.”


Taking normal precautions always makes sense regardless of where you plan to travel. I know my passport will be less safe in the bottom of my purse or beach bag than it would be locked in the safe in the room. I keep a copy of my passport with me, but I don’t venture out with my actual passport after I’ve arrived and gone through customs.

As far as currency, I’ll be exchanging a few dollars into pesos before I leave, but not more than I could afford to lose. For potential big purchases (like silver jewelry), I’ve checked out-of-country banking fees and selected the most reasonable card to use.


I’m making file copies of my bank and credit cards in the unlikely event I had to cancel one of them. My to-do list also includes sending travel notifications to the bank and credit card company.


A little planning gives you peace of mind when you’re plunging yourself into a new environment, especially one that promises to be stress free. For now, I hear the beach and the white sand calling me.


The biggest decision I plan to make next week is whether or not I want salt on my margarita.