By David Simmonds
Having your own transportation while traveling in Mexico has many advantages. You’re not spending hours in airports and bus stations, you can go wherever a road takes you, no time schedule and no annoying people (other than your off-key travel partner who sings “Stairway to Heaven” hour after endless hour). Of course, there is a downside of having the responsibility of knowing how to drive in Mexico, auto insurance, fuel costs, plowing into farm animals…and getting lost.
I’ll cover driving in Mexico in more detail another time, but for now I just want to encourage you to give it a try and to get a good road map. There used to be limited resources for maps, but now most of the major book stores and the better guide books carry them, or you can use the web. These web sites: www.mexicoroadlogs.com and www.maps-of-mexico.com/mexico_states.shtml do a good job covering most of the roads, and you can buy and download just certain regions or the entire country.
I like traveling between towns in a car, but it is also nice to have even if you have one destination where you are staying and want to see the nearby areas. A compact car can usually be rented for $20 – 40 per day. You can get the best deal by going to the major car rentals’ web sites and doing your booking online or by calling their 800 number. Often, the cost of the car for two days will equal the cab ride to and from your hotel. Just make sure you know where you’re going…and carry a good map.