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Old 02-13-2009   #1 (permalink)
lost on fifth
 
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Hello from excited in the UK!

Hello everyone,
My husband and I and two sons (age 10 & 5) have been left a small amount of money and so are able to take our dream trip to Mexico.
After lots of online research we have decided that we'd like to come to Playa del Carmen.
We're not planning to come until November, but as I said, this is our dream trip of a lifetime so we're very excited!
Best wishes,
Petra
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Old 02-13-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Old 02-13-2009   #3 (permalink)
way into it
 
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Welcome Petra!

You made a great choice, value for your money, kids will be the best part, they will discover a very different culture, and if you take a trip to some of the Mayan ruins they will see a wonderful historic site they will never forget!
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Old 02-13-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peapod View Post
Hello everyone,
My husband and I and two sons (age 10 & 5) have been left a small amount of money and so are able to take our dream trip to Mexico.
After lots of online research we have decided that we'd like to come to Playa del Carmen.
We're not planning to come until November, but as I said, this is our dream trip of a lifetime so we're very excited!
Best wishes,
Petra

Welcome!! You guys will have a great time! November is the start of some great weather!
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Old 02-13-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome!! You guys will have a great time! November is the start of some great weather!
Really?

Sorry, but November is still hurricane season. Not to say that a hurricane will hit, but you should be prepared.
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Old 02-13-2009   #6 (permalink)
ruined
 
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Welcome, there is lots of great info and advice. My favorite is the trip reports....
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Old 02-14-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Hi

We are also from UK, and will be there early November
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Old 02-14-2009   #8 (permalink)
lost on fifth
 
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Thanks everyone for the welcome. I shall be lurking around here for the next few months getting as much info and advice as possible.
BW,
Petra
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Old 02-14-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Old 02-14-2009   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by peapod View Post
Thanks everyone for the welcome. I shall be lurking around here for the next few months getting as much info and advice as possible.
BW,
Petra
You will get a ton of great information on this site by going through some old threads. If you are looking to do things a little cheaper, I would recommend renting a villa or condo. You can purchase groceries and cook many of your own meals. This will save a bundle of money - especially with the conversion rate of the Euro to Peso.
We have been fortunate enough to travel to many countries. I think you and your family will be very happy choosing Playa Del Carmen for your dream vacation!
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Old 02-14-2009   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by KMAN View Post
Really?

Sorry, but November is still hurricane season. Not to say that a hurricane will hit, but you should be prepared.
Not much to worry about (but still be aware)! Hurricane season (& rainy season) is just about over with and November brings the beginning of some very nice weather. Hope you guys enjoy your stay!!



When is the hurricane season most active?

Again according to the AOML, there's a "very peaked season from August to October", with:
  • 78% of the tropical storm days
  • 87% of the "minor" hurricane days
  • 96% of the "major" hurricane days
And within this peak hurricane season, early to mid-September is the pinnacle.
Of course Mother Nature isn't reading any calendars, and every once in a while a tropical cyclone hits out of season -- usually in May or December-- or late in the season: Hurricane Wilma, for instance, that caused so much damage on Mexico's Caribbean coast, battered Cancun and the Riviera Maya on October 21 and 22 2005.
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Old 02-15-2009   #12 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome Petra!!!! Playa is fantastic - I am certain you will love it and have a fabulous time there. Prices compared to home are generally much better value but I will keep my fingers crossed too for you that the rate you get converting sterling to dollars and/or pesos goes back up again before you go.


(The UK didn't join the euro KMAN, and sterling has taken a massive hit against both the dollar and the euro since about September/October. Its crawling up slightly but not forecast to go back up to August levels any time soon.)
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Old 02-15-2009   #13 (permalink)
lost on fifth
 
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Thanks everyone!

Is it best to take Pesos or dollars? Or does it all depend on the exchange rate?

Petra
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Old 02-15-2009   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone!

Is it best to take Pesos or dollars? Or does it all depend on the exchange rate?

Petra
Pesos
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Old 02-15-2009   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by peapod View Post
Thanks everyone!

Is it best to take Pesos or dollars? Or does it all depend on the exchange rate?

Petra
For use in Mexico the end result you need to have with you is pesos. There are ways however that you can "work" the exchange rate to get the most pesos for your pound. So here, in my opinion from my own experience (I accept it might be different for others), are my tips for making your pound go further for your travel money when travelling from the UK to Mexico (or the US for that matter).....

You can of course do a straight swap at a bureau from sterling into pesos - this is on the face of it too the most simple method, although it involves either cash or travellers cheques which carry their own hassles and security risks etc (for convenience when you land though I would always get a few pesos from the bureau here just to have handy at the airport for tips etc.). Many on here will advise you the best way is to use a debit/credit card and take money out of an ATM whenever you need it - and it is - however, although that is great for US cards, in the case of UK cards (with the exception of Nationwide) you will be stung massively by the bank adding on hidden fees and charges and commission and worsening the exchange rate for you. So unless you have a Nationwide current account forget using your bank card in Mexico at the ATM or to pay over the counter.

There is another method though. And, believe it or not, on the current exchange rate relationships (sterling/dollar, sterling/peso, dollar/peso) you actually get more pesos for your pound if you do this route: buy dollars here, then convert those dollars to pesos when you get there.

Now..... if you DO choose to do the sterling-dollar-peso route then the next bit below comes into play (and it gives you a piece of plastic for security/convenience/ATM use etc and gives you the far better exchange rates in all conversions). A prepaid currency card is a chip and pin mastercard so can be used as a debit card or at an ATM, but is not linked to your bank so no security risk and also doesn't charge any fees etc. It also gives you a much better exchange rate than the bureaus. For the Mexico method I have suggested you would get a prepaid card in dollars. I have always found the FairFX prepay to be fantastic and have two cards with them - one for main use and one as back up in case the first one gets lost, damaged or stolen. If anything happens to the card you ring them up, they freeze it, and having the second card with you means they can instantly transfer the balance over on to the other card and you are totally unaffected by the loss/theft/whatever. You can only get these cards in either sterling or in dollars. For use in Mexico I have in the past got one in dollars then stuck it in an ATM in Mexico and withdrawn pesos, taking advantage of the good dollar/peso rate.

Martin Lewis on moneysavingexpert gives you the full lowdown on all the options, and the prepaid card offered by FairFX really does seem to pan out as the best deal by far. You "fill it up" with however many dollars you want and can top it up online for free anytime you need. Think of it like a plastic can-be-used-everywhere travellers cheque! There are several companies that do these cards but FairFX in particular give you the "business" exchange rate instead of the "travel money" rate, the business one as I say always being a much much better rate and something you simply would not get at any currency exchange bureau (their rate is better than the cards you see advertised at Thomas Cook or the Post Office too). And don't worry, its not a credit card or bank account, so no credit checks are needed or subject to status or anything.

Cheap Travel Money: Get the best exchange rates and pick the right plastic...


With today's exchange rates the dollar to peso using a prepaid dollar card route is the way to go - it was the best route for me twice last year too and I know from checking the maths again today it is still the way in which to stretch your pound the furthest it is possible to do so. That might change though if the exchange rates fluctuate massively but am happy to check through it with you later in the year if you would like. The Martin Lewis website is also fantastic for giving you the up to date "best options" for the standard cash/cards routes etc too.

HOPE ALL THAT MADE SENSE!!

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