Set your dates. This could involve several factors. Airfare, occupancy, relatives, doctor appointments or weather. Last year we spent more on changes than on the actual cost of a flight.
Start tanning. Get a decent base to ward off the effects of the tropical sun. El Sol is very strong in the tropics. It is totally unbelievable how many people we see with debilitating sunburns. They can't be thinking too clearly. Why spend a few thousand bucks and get crispy on the first day. Fake Bake!
Figure out how to get to the airport. lately the easiest and cheapest has been to rent a car one way, leave it at PHL and return the same way. This year it is a little different. We need to find a rent a car near Amish Country. We might have rented a horse and buggy easier. We found good rates at a regional airport near our home. But they aren't open on Saturday. The two day rental is still cheaper than other places so we took that. Asking your friends for a ride means that you will eventually have to return the favor. Letting your kids know where you are going means they might show up and join you. So, rent a car.
Airline tickets, were easy this year because we used frequent flyer miles. That was a great deal. We always check how much for an upgrade. The first class seats were exactly the same amount of miles as coach! Great deal from US Airways. Except the cats cost $125, each cat, each way.
To get from CUN to the condo, we decided to rent another car. By the time we would haul all our luggage (including a George Foreman Patio Grill), cats, Christmas lights, chocolate vodka and other crap to an overpriced airport taxi, private shuttle or (our usual) ADO bus it is easier and less expensive to just rent a car. We have learned to wave down a porter to carry our stuff through customs and out to the curb. We won't need to mess around with taxis once we get to the condo. We can use the car to go to the grocery, Home Depot, Sam's Club, restaurants and all the other running around we will need to do. We rented a Mexican car for a week for around $200. Once our supplies are laid in we can sit back, hunker down and start to enjoy the weather. Simple as that.
Feliz Navidad and Ano Nuevo amigos.