I recently spent eight days in Mexico- Cancun and Tulum for my honeymoon and it was one of my favourite holidays ever! Holidays are so important to me. I love the good life. If I had my way I would be on holiday 4-5 times a year, but my pocket doesn't allow for that, YET. In every group of friends, there's one planner who is ready to book and plan everything, that person is me. I have A LOT of tips but I'll try to squeeze them into a few points
1. Pick a destination and figure out the logistics.
I know this sounds pretty obvious but you'd be surprised. Some people decide they want to go to go on holiday and they have no plan to check how to get there or what documents you need. If you have a Nigerian passport, you can't just freestyle life. I picked Mexico because i've always wanted to go there, it barely had any covid restrictions and even better, it's visa free for Nigerians IF you have a valid UK Visa. Lord knows I was not in the mood to fly to Abuja to apply for a Mexican visa. Unfortunately, there is no direct flight from Nigeria. As far as I know, you need to fly through America or France. Before you get too excited, you need transit visas to fly through both countries. America isn't giving visa appointments for at least another year - if you can get one, that's great. France on the other hand can issue you an airport transit visa within a couple days. When it's time to choose your airline, All I will say is AVOID Delta Airways. They dealt with me and almost ruined my trip. I've asked for compensation, hopefully I'm successful.
2. Plan and Book your Accommodation Early
My Nigerian passport doesn't allow me the privilege of being an impromptu traveller. A blessing to that green booklet is that I'm always prepared for my trip months in advance. I book most of my hotels through Booking.com because not only do they have a wide range of options, you don't have to pay till you arrive at the hotel. This means I can secure my accommodation even though I don't have the funds yet. P.S, if plans change and your trip is cancelled, do not forget to cancel your booking unless you'll check your account one random day and the money will be gone!
In Cancun, I stayed at JW Marriot. Visit HERE. I've told you I love the good life. I'm not one of those people who doesn't care about where they sleep when they're on holiday. I care too much even. If there's a single stain on the sheets, I can't sleep, I can't think, I can't function. This hotel was super clean and aesthetically pleasing. It has an amazing view of the ocean from the room and it's also in a pretty central location.
In Tulum, I stayed at Hotel Bardo. Visit HERE. It was a completely different vibe. It's a resort in the middle of the Mayan Jungle so it has all the earthy vibes you need for that "getaway" feeling. It's different from anywhere I've ever stayed. I hardly do nature, I detest mosquitos even though they love me. However, I think at least once in your life, you need to stay at a resort like this. The hotel provides a huge bottle of mosquito repellant so you'll be fine. The food at the restaurant is also ridiculously amazing.
3. Plan your itinerary before you visit
You know those people who go on holiday with no plan? I hate it. I do proper research before I visit a country. I research online to find the best activities and restaurants to visit. I watch youtube holiday vlogs as well. You need to research what you'd like to do as some activities require booking in advance. I'm a firm believer of "I'll sleep when I get back to Lagos". I presently cannot afford to travel thousands of miles to spend the whole time sleeping and looking. I can do that in Lagos for free. I'd also say don’t fill your itinerary 100% because you need to get suggestions from your hotel and the locals.
All this being said, on this particular trip, I was so busy wedding planning that I couldn't make a proper itinerary. This time, I moved with "vibes and Insha Allah". I made my itinerary the night I landed in Mexico. Maybe its because I'm really good with making plans, it worked out for me. However, I wouldn't be doing this again. Follow my advice - plan before you visit. It also helps you know how much you'll need for your trip. Here's a list of the important things i did and their approximate prices
1. Day trip to Isla Mujeres (About $25)- You can get a 40 minutes ferry from Cancun here. It's a little island with a bunch of water activities - swimming with dolphins, snorkelling e.t.c. I just went to the beach and chilled
2. CocoBongo (About $120)- You shouldn't go to Cancun without going here. It's a circus themed club. Its one of the best night-out experiences I've ever had and it was just my husband and I. If you're with a bunch of people, you are guaranteed to have fun and the drinks are unlimited. Book your visit HERE.
3. Jungle Tour Adventure (About $75) - This involves driving a boat by yourself (obviously behind your instructor) for about 40 minutes to the middle of the lagoon where you get out of the boat to snorkel. It was amazing, the part where you snorkel is shallow-ish and you're wearing a life jacket so you won't drown. Book your visit HERE.
Thai Cancun (9/10)
Crab house (7/10)
Mikado sushi bar (7.5/10)
Cab from Cancun to Tulum - Approximately 2.5 hours ($125)
1. Sfer Ik Museum($10) - Look, I don't know why this is called a museum, it's not one in my opinion. But you can get fire pictures, so its worth it. You should try the Mystika museum. It's meant to be a one-of-a-kind sensory experience.
2. Maya Eco Adventure Park ($100) - I really enjoyed this. It involves riding a quad bike through the jungle, zip lining, hanging bridges, rappelling and swimming in the cenotes. Prepare to get a bit dirty as the jungle has muddy areas. Obviously don't go there wearing heels. Mexico for me was a very water-involved trip. If you're a black girl, you'll need to think of a practical hairstyle that works with water. Unless you'll just be a boring chick running away from water. Book your trip HERE.
3. Taboo beach club ($116) - The fee for this shocked me till I was told that half of the fee goes towards food/drink/shisha credit. The food was AMAZING. Money well spent! Taboo is a better vibe if you're a sizeable group but regardless, you'll still have fun.
My usual holidays have multiple activities everyday but I was really burnt-out from 2021, so I spent a lot of time in my hotel resting and actually enjoying the amenities
4. Get You a travel buddy that can take Good Pictures!
When I count my blessings, for many reasons, I count Koye twice. You need someone you can teach how to take your pictures who is actually patient and willing to learn your angles. The worst thing is a travel buddy who is complaining after 5 pictures. Please take 500 pictures till I find the one I like. You have to be willing to repay the favour though! I document everything when I'm on holiday. Memories will fadeout pictures last a lifetime. Create a highlight on instagram If that's your thing. This way you can easily go back and relive the memories on your not-so-great days.
5. Plan your outfits in Advance
This is another reason why you have to plan your itinerary in advance. If you don't know what your activities are, how will you pack the appropriate outfit? You have to come with your A-game! Pack one day and night outfit per day and then pack some spares. if you're a last minute shopper and you don't have the time to get outfits that don't fit properly tailored, travel with a needle and thread. Your hands will work just fine. I will adjust anything with a needle and thread, from my dresses to my swimsuits. The goal is - it must fit right. For Mexico, as I didn't plan my itinerary before I travelled, I free-styled with my outfits and I was 80% okay.
If you can, you really should visit mexico. It’s much more more then the sepia-coloured images you see in American movies 😉