More international flights

CONTENTS

Acknowledgments xiii
What this book is about xv
About the Authors xix

PART ONE: Destinations. PART TWO: Planning Your Trip

PART THREE: Getting Ready to Go. PART FOUR: On the Road (“Go!”) 

PART FIVE: The Finish Line.

Chapter 1: How Travel Will Change Your Life 1
Chapter 2: Why Mexico and Central America Are Today’s Smart Destinations 7

PART ONE: Destinations 13
Chapter 3: The Best of Mexico and Central America 15
            México 15
            Belize 41
            Guatemala 59
            El Salvador 79
            Honduras 93
            Nicaragua 112
            Costa Rica 128
            Panamá 148

Back to top.

PART TWO: Planning Your Trip 165
Chapter 4: How to Plan Your Trip 167
            The Changing World 167
            Choosing the Destinations Right for You 169
            Factors to Consider 169
            Deciding How Much Time to Take 175
            How Much Do You Want to Spend? 175
            Drafting an Itinerary 177
            How to Choose and Work with a Travel Agent 178
            How to Choose a Guidebook 182
            Planning Adventures 186
            Travel Resources on the Internet 187
            Other Sources of Travel Information 191

VI Traveler’s Tool Kit Mexico and Central America


Chapter 5: How to Choose the Ideal Travel Partner 195
            The Ideal Travel Partner 195

Chapter 6: The Organized Tour 201
            Reasons to Travel with a Tour Operator 202
            Reasons Not to Travel with a Tour Operator 203
            Types of Tours: High Cost to Low Cost 206
            How to Choose the Best Tour Operator 210
            Ecological Responsibility 213
            Unusual Tour Opportunities 215

Back to top.

Tour Operators Active in Mexico and Central America 220

PART THREE: Getting Ready to Go: 223
Chapter7: Going into Action 225
            Documents You Will Need 225
            Hotel Reservations 237
            Adventures 240
            Travel Insurance 241
            Checklist: What Needs to Be Done When 248
            Checklist: Travel-information List 249

Chapter 8: How to Save Money 251
            Airfare 251
            Lodging 265

Chapter 9: How to Prepare a Reliable Budget 267
Chapter 10: How to Manage Money Successfully 273
            Currency 273
            Traveler’s Checks 273
            Credit Cards 275
            ATM Cash Cards 277
            Debit Cards 278
            Receiving Money Overseas 278
            Taking Foreign Currency Along 278
            Exchanging Money 279
            The Merchant Shuffle 282
            Bargaining When and How 282

Chapter 11: Travel Gear 287
            Travel Light! 288
            Baggage Limits 288
            Choosing Luggage 290
            How to Pack 298
            Choosing Clothing 300
            Checklist:  Clothing 302
            Checklist: Toiletries 306
            Checklist: Miscellaneous Gear 307
            Checklist: Documents to Take Along 310
            Checklist: Optional Equipment 310
            Checklist: What Not to Take 313
            Medicine 313
            Jewelry 313
            Camping 313

Chapter 12: Keeping Healthy 315
            Prevention 316
            13 Practical Tips 318
            Minor Health Problems: How to Avoid and How to Fix 322
            Checklist: Matching Medicines with Minor Annoyances 335
            Major Health Problems and What to Do about Them 336
            Checklist: Matching Medicines with More serious Problems 357
            Travel- medicine Kit 358
            Checklist: Shots to Get before You Leave 359

Chapter 13: When it’s Time to Go 363
            Checklist: Last- minute Tasks 363
            Checklist: Guardian Angel 366

Back to top.

PART FOUR: On the Road (“Go!”)  369
Chapter 14: The Day You Get There 371
            Through the Airport 371
            The Ride into Town 372
            Tourist Information 373

Chapter 15: Lodging 375
            How to Find Great Places to Spend the Night 376
            How to Choose Lodging That’s Best for You 378
            Other Innovative Choices 384

Chapter 16: Eating and Drinking 389
            How to Find Food You Really Like 389
            How to Eat and Stay Healthy 391 
            How to Drink and Stay Healthy 394

Viii I traveler’s Tool Kit: Mexico and Central America

Chapter 17: Safety and Security 399
            What Countries to Skip 401
            How to Protect Yourself with a Magic Cloak 402
            Where Trouble Comes from- and How to Avoid It 406
            Losing Your Valuables 423

Chapter 18: Woman on Her Own 427
            How to Travel Stately 428

Chapter 19: Language 433
            How to Overcome a Language Barrier 434
            Where to Get Information and Help 437
            When speaking English 438
            How to Ask Questions 438

Chapter 20: Transportation 441
            Traveling by Air 442
            Traveling by Bus 450
            Traveling by Train 455
            Local Transport 457
            Car Rental 460
            Traveling by Water 470
            Hitchhiking 474

Chapter 21: Etiquette 477
            Customs 477
            Begging 482
            Tipping 484
            Bribes 485
            Doing Favors 486

Chapter 22: Meeting People 487
            Meeting Local Folks 487
            Meeting Other Travelers 488
            Romance on the Road 490

Chapter 23: How to get the most Out of Your Trip 493

Chapter 24: Communications 499
            Email on the Road 499
            Telephones 500
            Mail 504

Chapter 25: Shopping and Shipping 507
            How to Prepare yourself before Buying 508
            How to Tell If it’s the Real Thing 508
            How to Get what you Bought 509
            How to Get It Home 509
            Customs 510

Chapter 26: Remembering 515
            Keeping a Journal 515
            Taking Fine Photographs 517
            Cameras 523

Back to top.

PART FIVE: The Finish Line 529
Chapter 27: Home Again, Home Again 531

Index 533

Back to top.