Sunday, January 9, 2022

South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

Quoting the classic song in the title, we're packed and ready to leave for only our fourth international trip since March 2020 (one transatlantic cruise in Fall 2021 and two short car trips into Canada a few days ago to visit family).

 Yesterday we managed to move our flight from Bellingham to Seattle up to the mid-afternoon flight from the last flight of the day. The sun is shining here at the moment, but we've had enough bad weather, including some recent flooding, that we wanted to build in that extra precaution.

We're overnighting at the SEA Airport Doubletree before flying non-stop around 8:00am Monday from Seattle to Cancun. Alaska has already upgraded us to First Class both ways.

We've stayed at that Doubletree literally dozens of times over the years, and were pleased to see we'd been upgraded to a corner room with a wraparound balcony. We subsequently were upgraded again to an ACC (handicapped accessible) room for some strange reason. Kathy made contact via message with the hotel and that was promptly reversed to the corner room. She then double-checked and saw that our sub-$100 rate had ballooned to $170 or so. She has the paperwork to prove the original rate, if need be. A quick message to the hotel led to an apology and reinstatement of the original rate. 

The incident provides us with two good reminders as we hopefully start to travel again. First, there's no substitute for paperwork to carry and pull out as needed to hotel clerks, car rental reps, etc. Second, always doublecheck when it comes to rates and dates. One of our particular annoyances is when websites default back from a future date to the current date in the midst of making reservations.

Several sources, including Flyertalk and TripAdvisor, warn that CUN (Cancun International Airport) is something of a chaotic nightmare. Apparently the scammers are allowed inside while the legitimate transportation services have to wait outside.

We've already arranged for a private car transfer with excellent reviews and the booking confirmation comes with fairly extensive instructions on avoiding the touts inside the airport.

It's a 40-60 minute drive from CUN to the Hilton Playa del Carmen, an all-inclusive resort where we'll stay through Saturday.

Our plan is to check out of the resort after getting the required Covid antigen test to re-enter the US, and transfer to a Fairfield Inn & Suites near CUN for one night, before flying CUN-SEA at 9:00am next Sunday morning.

These continue to be, ah, interesting times in which to travel. We've researched all sorts of advice from various sources, but will be amazed if there aren't a few wrinkles along the way. Still, we have to admit we're excited about our upcoming trip.


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