Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mexico (Again!): How We Do It

Please forgive the silence here - Leo and I are once again in the land of sun, fresh food, and music (oh, and limited internet access).  This is our third trip to Mexico in just over a year.  I know I’ve mentioned in passing on the blog that we had a hard time recuperating financially from my layoff and after closing the café – so how exactly are we able to afford these trips?  Travel to Mexico would not be possible for us except for the following circumstances:

  1. My mother is flight attendant and can get us deeply discounted “buddy passes” to fly for a fraction of the cost we would pay retail.  Of course that means we fly stand-by and therefore have been stranded in random cities on occasion – but it’s so worth it.
  2. My family owns a home in Mexico and we have several family members willing to host us.  After the plane fare, lodging would be the second biggest expense – so eliminating that makes it much more affordable. 
  3. Because we have a home (and therefore a kitchen) we are able to eat many meals at home.  We go to the market and buy fruits, veggies, fresh meat and tortillas and have feasts of authentic Mexican food without breaking the bank. 
  4. My mother is able to join us and help me wrangle Leo, suitcases, and general travel craziness.  This has been especially helpful this trip as I’m entering the third trimester of pregnancy and am much more tired and slow-moving. 
  5. I don’t hold an out-of-the home 9-5 job.  jb is the main income-earner in our home which makes my schedule much more flexible for these (sometimes last-minute) trips.  Leo makes sure everyone knows it, too – making it a point to tell everyone, “Daddy working” when they ask why it’s just the two of us. 

Take away any one of these factors and trips would be VERY rare, if not out of reach all together.  Naturally, most people don’t have this perfect storm of travel luck – but when we realized that we had this opportunity we made sure to take advantage by saving and putting our money towards travel.  We have especially focused on it now that Leo is under two and still flying as a lap child.  I hope we can still make these trips once bug comes along and Leo has to have his own (discounted) ticket.  I’ll have to be extra nice to my mom if I want her to help me with TWO kids for six hours of flying, a layover and a two-hour bus ride.

Even at just 22 months, it’s clear that Leo has really benefitted from these trips.  Exposure to another culture and climate is invaluable.  Seeing him absorb the sounds and smells of the market, dance to ranchero music, and enjoy fresh exotic fruits and new foods makes it clear that these experiences are really helping carve his sense of the world.  Another benefit is that these trips have overlapped with his verbal development; reinforcing our efforts to teach him Spanish at home.  I think that considering I’m the only Spanish speaker in our home he is doing pretty well – but the vocabulary boost he gets from each trip is so obvious.  His language skyrockets after just a few days of immersion.  Because of all this, even if we have to scrimp in other areas, we think the money put towards these trips is well spent.  


  1. SO FUN AND DELICIOUS! I'm glad you're seeing the wonderful impact it has on Leo...but how is it going for you? Are you able to relax and enjoy the sun?

  2. Sounds like a great way to travel and see family and learn the language!!! More power to you!

  3. Ronnie2/13/2013

    My husband and I are traveling to Nuevo Vallarta with our 16 month old and I'm concerned about a car seat!??? Any suggestions? We are staying in a resort, but if we go town or out on day trips, do we carry the huge carseat with us!? Help!

  4. Hi! If you are renting a car, many rental places have carseats available to rent - the catch is there is no way to ensure that they are in decent condition and up to your standards until you arrive. I would recommend taking a carseat - perhaps buy a lightweight inexpensive one just for travel (I know the one I have in our car is much bulkier that the one I've used for travel) and you can buy a bag for the carseat that you can wear on your back. I've see the carseat backpacks on amazon.

    Good luck, and I hope you have a great trip!