We’re currently in the States on a quick visit to see our kids and grandkids. Unlike our last marathon car trip NOB, we are flying this time. Going back to visit family or friends is a perennial aspect of expat life, and the ready availability of air routes via Guadalajara’s Miguel Hidalgo International airport (GDL) provides many opportunities to do so. Landing rights and routes between the US and Mexico were strictly controlled for a long time, and only recently began to loosen up, so new options are constantly evolving.
The main routes from GDL to the States are United Airlines via Houston, American Airlines via Dallas-Fort Worth, and Delta via Atlanta. Many airlines fly directly to Los Angeles and Mexico City, which provide other alternatives. New direct routes to New York are popping up, and the advent of low cost carriers is making a real difference.
One thing I have learned is the need to consider all the alternatives, including unusual routes and special sales, when planning a trip. My favorite travel planning site is Rome2Rio.com, which provides a comprehensive set of options for any trip. It shows options for driving, bus, rail, or air, and has flight data even on carriers like Ryanair and SouthWest, which often don’t show up on air search sites. The site only gives you an estimate on the costs, but you can immediately check those estimates with links to the actual carriers.
For example, during this trip we’re using old accumulated frequent flyer miles to get from GDL to Cincinnati, then Southwest (via their most recent fare sale) to Baltimore, Southwest again from there to Cancun before returning to Guadalajara on AeroMexico. The savings from the Southwest tickets (versus a normal fare via the routes I mentioned earlier) is large enough to let us stay a few days at a resort in Playa del Carmen! I also noticed very cheap direct fares to/from Europe via Cancun, due to the tourist demand. And we’re doing this with very normal flight times, not using the other advantage of retiree travel, the long or multi-leg travel itinerary.
In the interest of sharing info, please add in the comments if you have a good travel planning or search website/service to recommend.