Packing for Oaxaca!

(Post 8 of 189. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

I cannot believe that I will be in Oaxaca de Juárez, “Oaxaca City,” in less than 48 hours! This is a major dream come true/bucket list destination for me and I’ve barely been able to think about my trip, my professional life has been in such upheaval these last few months. But I have friends visiting who are available to watch Bonita, so off I must go even if the budget and timing aren’t great.

Oaxaca has a reputation for being one of the top culinary destinations in Mexico. My friends just spent three weeks there and came back raving about everything, but especially the food. I cannot wait to try all the different types of mole available there! I even promised myself I would try chapulines, grasshoppers, something I’m trying not to psych myself against!

Oaxaca City is just a short, and very inexpensive, “commuter flight” away. I leave at 6:15 Wednesday morning and should be checked in at my Airbnb by 9:00!

I was initially going to do a vacation-vacation with a nice hotel, but Oaxaca lodging is surprisingly expensive, plus I really can’t take all that time off. I ended up getting a much, much better deal on a whole two-bedroom apartment with one of the bedrooms set up as an office! My friends really got to know the lay of the land in Oaxaca and say I am in the perfect location at a great price. This is going to be a tourism trip for me, but I’m also going with the mindset of possibly moving there in a few years. So it will be good to be able to live like a local for the week.

For this trip, I bought myself that has been a very, very, very long time coming. During my time in Europe, I really regretted not making more of an effort to get a proper day bag. The little backpack I bought was great on travel day, but I don’t like a backpack when I’m exploring large cities. I really missed my leather tote, which would not have been ideal either since it doesn’t have a closure at the top.

Almost two years ago now, I found a pink tote at Sears that I really love and used as my day bag and airport bag when I went to Mazatlán last year. But it wasn’t quite the right size or sturdy enough to haul my electronics and be my personal item on travel day. So last month, I started shopping for a travel tote that could handle a laptop. The research rabbit hole led me to the Travelon anti-theft Heritage tote bag in pewter.

I knew it was probably perfect — same format as my pink tote, but just that bit bigger and sturdier, my other favourite colour, super well reviewed on a number of platforms (I found a great review on YouTube showing someone packing it). It also has locking zippers and anti-slash panels for a bit of extra security. And to my surprise, it was a better deal for me on the Mexico Amazon site since it was eligible there for free Prime shipping. So even if the bag cost was a little higher than buying on the US site, I saved a ton on shipping.

Since I plan to mostly travel in Mexico over the next few years to avoid jeopardising being able to apply for citizenship as soon as possible (you can’t have been out of Mexico for more than six months in the five years preceding your citizenship application), I’m changing my travel style a bit. The national airlines, like Volaris, are rather like the barebones European carriers that start with super low rates and then nickel and dime you for everything above that. For this trip, I could bring just a purse on board or pay to step up to get both a personal item on the plane and a checked bag. So I decided to go with a checked bag for this trip so that I can have a bigger suitcase that will let me bring back any treasures I find!

I also finally bought myself a set of really good travel bottles, silicone and leak proof. I look forward to going through security on Wednesday not having to worry about liquids, as they’ll be in my checked bag, but also not being too stressed that they’ll have exploded in my suitcase from the change in pressure. I’m still double bagging everything just in case. 🙂

If my guests’ tales of their adventures are anything to go by, Oaxaca should provide me for fodder for lots of posts. I may post several times a day instead of stretching things out to post beyond my return, depending on how busy I get. Whatever happens, I can’t wait!