Are You A First Time International Traveler?


Hey there, thanks for reading! I recently took a trip to Mexico and wanted to share a little bit of my experience here to potentially help out another future traveler. If you’re anything like me, you HATE flying. I don’t know what it is, but the whole process of getting to the airport, going through security, finding the right gate, getting settled on the plane, etc. I just find it so overwhelming. One thing I want to stress for international travel if you’re nervous is to give yourself more than enough time. Most people might not realize that you need to be at the airport AT LEAST two and a half hours prior to departure, and that’s cutting it close in some cases. Some airports might recommend you be there as early as 3 hours prior to departure. If you’re nervous about traveling, having to rush through the airport will only make it worse. Another thing I would suggest is keeping your passport and boarding pass(es) in an easy, accessible place from the time you get to the airport until the time you’re done with customs in your destination. Speaking of customs, that was one part of the trip I was most nervous about and as it turns out, unnecessarily so. Once you’re on the plane headed to your destination, the flight attendants will pass out a form or two for you to fill out about your reasons for traveling to whatever country. The customs agents in destination will collect that form and check/stamp your passport. In Mexico they asked that you push a button that would randomly decide whether or not you should be searched again. Something I was really nervous about turned out to be as simple as just writing down why I was visiting Mexico, showing my passport, and then pushing a button. It was a breeze. The smooth process through customs led directly to the airport exit where the transfer company was waiting to pick our group up. I think having transportation arranged prior to being in destination is also imperative for a smooth travel experience. I don’t want to imagine having to go through the stress of traveling from one country to another and then having to figure out how to get to the resort once I’ve successfully made it to my destination. That just seems like an unnecessary added concern that you don’t want to have to deal with once you’ve made it to your vacation spot. The resort I stayed at was in Playa Mujeres, so it was roughly a half an hour’s drive from Cancun. I knew prior to traveling there that Playa Mujeres was a private beach but I had no idea it was a private and secured beach. In order to access Playa Mujeres, you have to go through a security checkpoint and get approved access. From there our resort also had a separate security checkpoint where you needed to provide your name and room information prior to gaining access. I think that makes Playa Mujeres a great choice for families or other people who are nervous about their first time traveling to a new country. You know while staying there that everyone walking around beyond the gates of Playa Mujeres has been accounted for, not just anyone can come onto the different properties. One thing I loved about Mexico were the exotic trees and plants growing everywhere. I think it’s easy to forget how tropical Mexico really is because how different can it really be just south of the United States? Very different. Aside from the beautiful, tropical trees and plants, another thing that caught my eye were the iguanas. Mexico has iguanas running around all over the place the same way we have squirrels running around in the Northeast US. One thing I have to say about the trip I took to Mexico is how exceptionally friendly everyone was. From the people working at the airport, to the transfer company, to the staff at our resort… they were all so incredibly friendly and helpful. If I just looked like I had a question, someone noticed and was asking if I needed help. I was really nervous to go to Mexico and the experience turned out being something I can’t wait to do again. It’s beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s a short plane ride. Traveling to Mexico is definitely an experience I would recommend to anybody able to do so. The only other thing I can in reference to the actual travel process is the return flight. When I flew into Mexico I was on a nonstop flight, so I left the United States and then went through customs after landing in Mexico. For my return flight, I had a connection in Charlotte. I had over a 2 hour layover but because you go through customs in your first point of entry to the United States, we landed in Charlotte, went through United States customs, and then were required to go through security again. Lines for customs and security can get backed up really quickly. Two hours ended up being just enough time with no time to really linger anywhere in between. So, to sum it up, if you want to reduce your travel stress… Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to navigate through the flying process at the airports, schedule as much as you can for your trip prior to going, enjoy every minute because it goes by SO fast!