By Helen Argyriou
Special to the Culver City Observer 

"Is a Year of Unlimited Travel Worth It? Exploring the Pros and Cons"

 

October 12, 2023

Are you considering the allure of unlimited travel for a year, but you are uncertain about its value? Let us explore whether such an adventure is worth your time and money.

Exploring Unlimited Travel Options

Travel enthusiasts often come across enticing offers from various companies that promise a year of unlimited travel for a fixed fee. The idea sounds captivating, but the devil lies in the details.

Airasia.com vs. Volaris.com: A Tale of Two Passes

The journey began with my attempt to purchase the Airasia.com pass, but disappointment ensued when my payment was processed without receiving the essential app code. Undeterred, the traveler turned to Volaris.com, where the pass initially cost $299. However, their payment did not go through, and after a series of emails and phone calls, they managed to secure the pass at a higher price of $499.

Navigating the Pass Restrictions

Before committing to these travel passes, it is crucial to understand their limitations. Most passes come with restrictions such as:

1. Nonstop Travel: You can only book nonstop flights, limiting your destination options.

2. Booking Window: The window to book flights is typically only three days prior to travel, requiring flexibility.

3. Additional Costs: You must cover taxes, exit fees (varies by departure city), seat reservations, and baggage fees. Only a small backpack is included in the base pass.

Taking the Leap

Despite these constraints, I decided to take the plunge. I typically traveled with a carry-on but opted to go without reservations, embracing spontaneity. Heading to Mexico City, the starting point for this adventure. The freedom of having no luggage, no plans and no companion was very exhilarating. It did not really feel like traveling.

Exploring Mexico City and Beyond

Mexico City offered a vibrant experience, with highlights including the Hotel Zocalo Central in the historic area, perfect for a few days of exploration and shopping.

Things to do in Mexico City: The Frida Khalo Museum, seeing Lucha Libre match, take a day trip to the ancient city of Teotihuac√°n, known for its impressive pyramids, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, Experience the colorful and festive atmosphere of Xochimilco's canals. You can rent a traditional trajinera boat, enjoy live music, and savor Mexican street food while floating on the water.

From Mexico City, assorted options emerged. Lima, Peru was tempting but a bit far, so settled on a 45-minute flight to Acapulco. Here, I explored the famous cliff divers, San Diego Fort, and savored Mexican cuisine poolside.

For the next leg, instead of flying, I took a bus to Taxco, known for its Silver Jewelry Festival on the weekends. Shopping for silver jewelry and enjoying the charming city with cobblestone streets was a delight. Recommended dining options included El Adobe and the Hacienda. Hotel choices included Hotel Escondido in the city center and the scenic Hotel Montetaxco, a short taxi ride away. The latter offered stunning views, and a pool. An option to explore nearby waterfalls for adventurous travelers. Visit Cacahuamilpa Caves: While not in Taxco itself, the Cacahuamilpa Caves are located nearby and are a worthwhile day trip. These caves are one of the largest cave systems in the world and offer guided tours. Consider visiting one of Taxco's silver museums to learn more about the town's silver mining history and craftsmanship. The William Spratling Museum and the Casa Humboldt Museum are two excellent options. Another option is to visit the Cascadas de Jilguerillas is situated approximately ten kilometers (6 miles) southeast of Taxco. These cascades consist of a series of small waterfalls and natural pools, making it an ideal spot for swimming and relaxation. The lush jungle surroundings provide a serene and scenic setting for a day trip.

Cuernavaca: Gardens, Churches, and Culture

The journey continued with a bus ride to Cuernavaca, where the Hotel Villa Bonita Teressa offered a charming retreat. In Cuernavaca, travelers can explore Borda Gardens, old churches, and the Brady Museum, which houses original paintings. The Brady Museum which built in the 16th century was home to the artists and walking through this beautiful, restored home was magical.

Return Dilemma

As the adventure unfolded, a dilemma about the return journey. Initially, there were no available flights on the desired day, leading to booking a return on American Airlines. However, the night before departure, available seats for the return on the same day and the following days became available. This flexibility is a key factor when considering such passes.

Holiday Caveat

One crucial piece of advice is to avoid using these passes during holidays, as flights and accommodations may be scarce if not booked well in advance.

The Verdict

In conclusion, a year of unlimited travel with a pass like Volaris can be a fantastic adventure for those who are patient, flexible, and not bound by strict schedules. While it may come with restrictions and additional costs, the freedom to explore diverse destinations at a fraction of the regular cost can make it a worthwhile experience for the adventurous traveler.

 

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