Ah, nothing quite like a vacation to get away from it all and kick back and relax. All you have to do is pack your bags and leave your cares behind. Of course if you run your own business, then it’s a little bit different experience getting ready to leave. In fact, if I had to be completely honest, it’s a gut-wrenching, night sweating, week long freak out. :O
This year Holly and I are going to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. It’s about an hour south of Cancún in the Yucatan peninsula and we’ll be staying at the Riu Playacar. It’s a 7-day trip and we leave this Sunday and return the following Sunday. According to the brochures, there’s Mayan ruins, monkeys on the beach and pirate ship lobster dinner cruises. It sounds absolutely wonderful, and I’m sure that it will be, but knowing that I’m going to be away for a full week is a little bit daunting to say the least.
At this point in my career, I’m currently a one man show. I don’t have any employees, so if it has to be done, I’m the one who has to do it. For online stuff, I do have backup via my buddy and sometimes partner in crime, Dan, but he just moved to Guam and he’s still on dial up. Not only that, but we’re still sorting out the whole time zone thing. On past trips, like the one last year to the Bahamas, I’ve brought my laptop so that I’m fully prepared to do whatever I can in case of an emergency. I was lucky enough to find an Internet Cafe and it definitely came in handy when I had to fix a problem or two when I was away.
This year is a little different though. For starters we’re going to be gone for 7 days, not 5, which is the longest vacation I’ve taken in YEARS. I haven’t been away this long since starting my business back in 1997. All of our trips have been extended weekends for the most part. It’s just so hard to leave your business behind. The other thing is that this is the farthest we’ve gone in a long while as well. The Bahamas was so close to Miami, it wasn’t too far removed from all the creature comforts I’m accustomed to technology wise. The electrical outlets were the same, there was high-speed Internet, etc. What will I find in the Yucatan jungle?
According to Sprint, my phone should work there, albeit at .70 cents per minute, but I doubt that I’ll have data access on it. I’m looking into dial up numbers via my AT&T Worldnet account, but I think my best bet will be to find an Internet cafe. I’m still doing research, so that I can be prepared as much as possible, so hopefully I’ll have some of these issues ironed out before we go. At this point, I don’t even know what type of electrical outlet I’ll find. 😛
So what do I plan on bringing with me technology wise? The digital camera is a given, but I also plan on bringing my Dana Wireless, my Sony Ericsson T608 phone and probably a few handhelds. I’d like to bring my laptop to because it makes a good “home base” to charge my gadgets and store my photos, but I need to confirm the electrical stuff first. If I can’t plug it in, then it’ll be worthless. Heck, if electricity is a problem, then I’ll probably leave behind my handhelds too. I can use AA batteries in the Dana, so it’s definitely coming with me.
How The Trip Came About
Originally, I was hoping that I could take Holly to Greece, which is where we first went on our honeymoon ten years ago. However I didn’t have the money to do it and with the Olympic games getting underway, it is probably for the best. With those hopes dashed upon the rocks of reality, I set my sights on something closer to home. My next choice was Pfeiffer State Park, just outside of Carmel, California. It’s supposed to be gorgeous and very romantic and I figured that I could get us there on a shoe string budget pretty easily. However, I didn’t have all the frequent flyer miles that I thought I did, so that meant that I’d have to bump up to “full shoe” budget, but I still figured we could afford it.
Then my Mom showed me something in the paper about a package to Aruba that looked very affordable. I made the call, but I couldn’t get it to work with our schedule. I have an NPUG meeting with a very special guest on Saturday, so I wanted to leave on Sunday if at all possible. When Aruba didn’t work out, the travel agent and I looked into other locations and that’s when Riviera Maya came up. It was definitely more expensive than I had budgeted with the trip to California, but when I did the math, it didn’t seem so bad. Once you figure in the cost of hotel, airfare, food, etc.. this package tour seemed rather reasonable. It’s an all-inclusive package that covers everything, including tips, so when I compared the totals to what I would spend going to California, it didn’t seem that far off.
I was originally going to make it a surprise, but since this was a big purchase, I let the cat out of the bag and asked Holly what she thought before I booked it. Holly was ecstatic! She too went through the same logic as I did and came to the same conclusion – although it wasn’t cheap, it was a more realistic figure than if we stayed in the states and paid as we went, thinking that we were spending less. If you’re going to end up spending the same amount of money, why NOT go to someplace exotic? Other than helping me make the decision to spend the money, the other reason I wanted to not leave this trip as a surprise is because Holly is such an excellent researcher. Springing the trip on her the day we leave wouldn’t give her enough time to discover all the wonderful things we can do once we get there.
Holly really excels at finding little known things to do whenever we travel. One year, when we did a driving tour of the New England and Maine area, she found Louis’ Lunch where the first hamburger was served and that Al’s French Fries was rated as the best fries in Vermont. Not all of her finds are food related, but you get the idea. Already she’s discovered that sea turtles will be nesting during the time that we’re there, so we might get to see this miracle of nature in action! Every night, she’s buried deep in a travel guide reading all about where we are going and who knows what goodies she’ll find before we leave.
As for me, I’ll be frantically trying to get all my projects to a good stopping point, and trying desperately to get my task list as clear as possible. I’m really looking forward to this trip, but this week is going to be a stressful one. 🙂
The Mayan Ruins are awesome. Downtown Playa del Carmen is also a lot of fun. Be sure to check out Senor Frog’s!
Your customers are not going to desert you if you can’t work for them on your vacation as long as they know in advance it’s going to happen that way. Try taking less gagetry, not more.
I had my own business when Scott & I went on honeymoon to mexico in ’96. And there was precious little Internet access back then.
I basically told all my customers I was going to be unavailable for a week, had a friend who knew how to reboot a server house sit, and went. We didn’t touch anything electronic for a week. It was great.
So too in Rome this year. Scott sent one email from the hotel computer and the rest of the time we enjoyed a vacation. Although the PDAs did come in handly on those long plane flights, they stayed locked in the hotel safe the rest of the time.
Forgot to add — if you want to see some serious Mayan ruins, skip Tulum and go to Chichen Itza instead. It’s a huge complex with several well preserved temples and pyramids to check out.
Also, stay out of Cancun proper – it’s a total tourist trap. Be careful about the water, especially in smaller places. Don’t drink the tap water unless you’re 100% sure the location is using all purified water. “Sin hielo” means “without ice” and is a good thing to remember when ordering drinks.
Sounds like an awesome vacation. Try not to spend too much time working. 😉