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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

TRAVEL | Prepping for Mexico

I have been spending most of this week prepping for Mexico, considering I fly out on Sunday. I had no idea how much I needed to do to prepare.

The thing is, it's a lot different than a beach or family holiday. I'm travelling alone, so I have to be really on the ball for things like printing out my flight details and making sure I have my VISA sorted, as well as studying the airport map (I haven't flown a lot and have never flown alone, so I'm petrified of getting lost and missing my flight!). It's also a 'travelling/hiking' holiday, so throwing a few pairs of shorts, some tops and bikinis into a suitcase just isn't going to cut it.

Therefore, there's so much I've had to keep in mind. If anyone else is ever thinking about travelling alone for the first time or taking a trip with Trek America, here are some ways I've had to prepare - sorry, this is a bit of an adult post!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Lifestyle | Holiday Prep | Preparing for Mexico | Holiday Planning
New nails = necessary. Also shoutout to the boyf for letting me use his hand as a prop to avoid looking like I've got an alien hand (y'know the photo I mean, the one every girl takes to show off their new nail polish!)

BODY PREP
It sounds stupid and not at all necessary, but I've been booking to get my hair, nails and wax done. Timing is essential because it would have been pointless getting my nails done two weeks ago/that far in advance that they would have chipped/the gels outgrown by the time I actually go away, and I also had to leave my hair till quite late so I could get my fringe trimmed shorter. My fringe grows so quickly, so if I'd got my hair done any sooner than last week, it would be in my eyes while I'm away.

DECIDING ON MY LUGGAGE
I actually really struggled with this. Because we're travelling around, a backpack seemed like the obvious choice, but I left it really last minute to find one because I was constantly changing my mind then unable to find one in the right size. We have our own bus when we're there, so a suitcase works too and then I can just transfer what I need into a day bag or backpack - and luckily I now have one on it's way from Amazon. I'm hoping it's big enough but, if not, I have other bags that I can rely. This task has probably taken the most thought in terms of size/comfort etc.

SORTING OUT MY CASH
I've decided to be quite smart and adult-like with this, sorting out my money way in advance. I've budgeted for my time away and have put half on a cash card, whereas the other half I've changed up to take with me. That way I have another option in case of an emergency like if my cash gets stolen or I lose the cash card. TrekAmerica had a nifty deal on a cash card which gave me around a further $40 which isn't bad.

PACKING
Oh, god. I'm the worst at packing but it's been even harder this time because we're going to be doing so many different things and it's not like I'll have time to stop and buy something if I forget it. I've obviously chosen a few pairs of shorts, a couple of skirts and lots of strappy tops, but I've also had to pack one or two long sleeved blouses to cover my arms, a lightweight jumper for if/when it gets cold, walking trainers, pumps and sandals and such. I have limited space too and I'll actually be living out of a suitcase also. I normally do this on holiday and just about manage with a messy suitcase, but I won't have time to be constantly trawling through clothes so I have to be smart about the way I pack.

I've also downloaded an app - TripList - which allows me to tick off items as I pack them. I really need this because normally I just visualize what I need but I've been adding to this list throughout the last couple of weeks (as there's always one or two odd things I remember out of the blue) to ensure I don't forget anything. You can create different lists - so I have one for my suitcase and one for my hand luggage - and you can also see what's been ticked off too.

SOCIAL MEDIA
I've spent a lot of time scheduling blog posts and prepping to share them but I've also learned a nifty new trick for when it comes to instagram. I'll obviously be taking a lot of photos there and luckily Trek America has a few specific hashtags which will mean all photos are saved in your trip hub. I've added some shortcuts in my phone so when on the go, I just have to type in #Mexico to paste them all. It sounds like such a silly little thing but it saves a lot of time (I don't want to spend half my trip swapping between my notes and Instagram to share photos) and will see them posted all in one place.

SHOPPING
Obviously. I did a big shop last week to buy most practical stuff like a travel plug, insect repeller and, er, some more clothes. It was a good feeling grabbing pretty much everything I needed in one long trip (I think we spent the whole day in Milton Keynes!) and at first I wasn't getting very far, finding myself distracted by pretty clothes. But I had a Red Bull, got my head in the game and set off ticking everything off my list.

MEETING FELLOW TRAVELLERS
I can't thank TrekAmerica enough in terms of how this trip has been arranged and I particularly love that there's a triphub you can join online. Here, you can see your itinerary, trip tips and who else is due to join you on the trip. Not everyone has joined online, but a few of us have been chatting in advance and getting to know each other. This has really eased my nerves a lot because of course I was scared I wouldn't get on with anyone once there. We've even arranged to go for a 'pre-tour' drink the night before the tour starts, just to help break the ice.

THE REAL BORING STUFF
And finally, I've printed off all my Visa & flight details (and forwarded them to my sister), made a note of where I'm staying and then make sure I keep it all in one place with my passport and not actually forget it when it comes to it!

I'm genuinely surprised at how organised I am about it all and I think my family are too. My friends are really shocked that I'm going through with it and heading off alone and I think my family are impressed at how organised I've been. Normally I'd be leaving it until the night before to pack and print everything off (normally then realizing I have no printer ink and having to run up Tesco to buy more), then remembering about a hundred things I still need to buy the next day and wasting tons of money at the airport.

However, I am determined that this is going to be smooth running and now my only fears are that a) I'm still going to overpack no matter what and b) I'm going to get lost in the airport.

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