Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
I got to speak at a Maine tourism conference focusing on the “Maine Woods,” the non-coastal parts. I started my speech with 20 things I learned from a crazy four-day roadtrip, one of which was this:
The “North Pond Hermit” has been all over Maine news lately. The guy, who lived alone in the woods for 27 years, apparently committed 1000 burglaries — stealing food out of homes.
I would like to invite you to listen.
Nearly every time when I was writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet, and I’d tell someone in the US what I did, they’d nod, listen about “guidebooks” and “travel information so people could plan their own holidays,” then they”d invariably ask:
Most Americans really don’t know what a guidebook is. I think more should. So I thought I’d explain how to use a guidebook.
I hope to learn more things about pants soon.
I get worn out of deals coverage in travel. I think people often compromise their holidays by letting “deals” dictate where they go — often tired resorts with cynical staff and lesser beach spots.
So I just did a 10-minute experiment.
First Cancun deal advertised on TravelZoo: ends up being $619 per person from New York, for three days/four nights on a north-facing (less desirable) spot on the (less desirable) hotel zone beaches. Prices include flight, meals, drinks, room. I picked sample days of Sun May 12 to Thur May 16. That’s $1238 total, not including airport transfers, or much fun.
Can you beat it?
Well, JetBlue offers direct service to Cancun from JFK on those dates for $332 each, and gets you into Cancun at 10:17am. Direct bus from airport to Playa del Carmen in one hour for $10 (Playa’s busy, not Mexico’s greatest spot, but a more tasteful and ped-oriented beach scene).
I looked up a couple highly rated TripAdvisor B&Bs, and found one a few blocks from water, run by a young Italian couple, with three rooms for $40 to $50 per night. There’s a kitchen you can make breakfasts in, or pack lunches for the beach. By day, ferry to Cozumel for North America’s best snorkeling, or bus to Chichen Itza ruins (the resort charges $109 per person for that tour — it’s about a quarter that by bus).
You spend about the same, get a better experience, and an extra day away.
With another 10 minutes research, you can beat it be even more.
Page 1 of 11