Traveler's Tool Kit: Mexico and Central America shows
you how to find delicious, affordable meals anywhere in Mexico
and Central America, not just where to eat in Cuernavaca. Instead
of rating Panama City's "best" hotels (usually meaning the most
expensive), this book shows you how to locate comfortable, affordable
lodging anywhere. You'll learn how to travel happily by air,
bus, and all sorts of local transport, negotiate successfully
with cab drivers and merchants, and cut dramatically the costs
of travel. You will be convinced that you can afford to travel-and
that you can't afford not to.
Assuming that money is an issue, as it is for many, Traveler's
Tool Kit shows you dozens of ways to SAVE MONEY without detracting
from the quality of your trip. As a bonus for avoiding high-priced
tourist circuits, you'll meet more local people and learn about
their hopes and values. You'll learn how to connect with a network
of travelers who will help you find the most enjoyable things
to do and provide guidance on how much to pay for them. You
may even discover ways to earn money from your travels after
returning home or decide that you could live a better life if
"home" were somewhere else. Common sense tells you a lot about
what kind of travel clothing and equipment you'll need-but not
everything. You can learn the rest the hard way on the road
or the easy way right here in Traveler's Tool Kit.
Hundreds of books recount daring adventures at altitudes or
depths most travelers will never reach. Vicarious thrills are
fine-but Traveler's Tool Kit shows you how to plan your
own real-life adventures.
Planning a trip is like running a whitewater rapid: preparation
determines success. You scout the rapid carefully, evaluate
alternative routes, and then plot your course. As you begin
your run through the whitewater, you know what to expect and
are in the right state of mind. After that, it's mostly a matter
of hanging on for an exciting ride. If, on the other hand, you
enter a rapid without a good plan, you may get a chilly surprise.
In the same way, planning a trip to a foreign destination can
initially seem mystifying, but learning a simple process will
enable you to avoid costly, frustrating, and possibly dangerous
Traveler's Tool Kit: Mexico and Central America prepares
you for travel experiences that far surpass those of a mere
vacation. Too many vacations consist of lying down, dressing
up, and paying someone else a lot of money. Too often, destinations
are accumulated as trophies to be displayed during dinner-party
conversations by collectors who have no idea how much they missed.
Travel provides an opportunity to think of beginnings and endings,
to spend time alone, to challenge fears and inhibitions, to
experience freedom and joy. The traveler becomes a treasure-house
filled with images of Lake Atitlan surrounded by volcanoes in
the Guatemalan highlands, and of Chichen Itza, Calakmul, Uxmal,
and other haunting Maya sites in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula,
and of the cloud forests, monkeys, surf, and leatherback turtles
of Costa Rica.
International travel may seem overwhelming to someone who's
never tried it. Before traveling abroad, most people have little
reason to know the difference between a passport and a visa.
Add issues of language, currency, customs, transportation, food,
and lodging, and there's a lot to think about. No one says you
have to fling yourself into the water as if you're an Olympic
swimmer. If you're more comfortable testing the water with a
toe, do it that way. Build confidence by limiting challenges,
keeping the number of unknowns manageable.
Part of the beauty of traveling in Mexico and Central America
is that there are no visas to worry about. Border crossings
are easy. No jet lag. The so-called language barrier is really
made of papier mache. People are friendly and the food is delicious.
We hope this book allows you to follow your travel dreams instead
of putting them off until another year. Let's head out!