What I Use: Mexico 2021 (Premium)

We drove through the desert in a car with no name. We rode in a hot air balloon. We sailed down some canals. Yep. We’re in Mexico, and instead of our usual home swap, we’re spending two weeks checking out San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Mexico City. Here’s what we did, and what we took with us.
Tech gear
Most of the gear I traveled here with will be familiar to anyone who checks out my What I Use articles, in particular What I Use: Mexico City (Premium) from just two months ago. So we can move through most of this quickly.

As always, we try to travel as lightly as possible, and I still carry the same two bags, a Rick Steves Velocé Shoulder Bag (as my laptop bag) and a Ravenna Rolling Case (also from Rick Steves, as my luggage). These are time-worn winners, but I could have gone bigger in both cases. I brought two laptops (see below) and the rolling case is sized to smaller European airlines. That’s OK. It’s always nice to be as mobile as possible, and since we’ve had laundry available to us on this trip (as on past home swaps), I only needed to bring 4-5 days’ worth of clothes.

In the laptop bag, I brought the HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 that I just reviewed (specifically so I could review it and keep up on that shrinking backlog), the HP Elite Dragonfly Max I reviewed in late June (because it is running Windows 11 now and has a SIM card for my Google Fi data SIM), my iPad Air (for reading and watching videos), my Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (for much-needed and excellent noise cancelation on the plane), and my Google Pixel 4a 5G, though for this trip, I arranged to use my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra for photos since I wanted zoom (which the Pixel lacks) and wasn’t happy with the Huawei P30 Pro I used on the last trip (though the pictures were great).

I also carried a backup phone---a OnePlus 9 Pro---just in case, some assorted charging cables and small electronics, our passports, my COVID-19 vaccination card, and my Global Entry card in the laptop bag. Plus, my trusty JetBlue blanket, which I fold up to make airplane armrests less terrible. (They may not sell them anymore, which is a shame.)

I signed up for Google Fi again before the June trip, but as a secondary account, and one of the nice things about Fi is that Google lets you pause the service for three months at a time, so you don’t have to pay for it when you’re not using it. I paused the account after that previous trip and then reenabled it before the current trip, and I put the SIM in the Samsung, with a second data-only SIM going in the Dragonfly. My Pixel has my Mint SIM, and I can make and receive calls and texts in Mexico on that phone, but with no cellular data access.

I also brought my usual gadget bag in the carry-on luggage. There’s no need for power converters in Mexico, another nice thing about traveling here, so it contains my Anker power strip (with USB and a 5-foot extension cable, I love this thing), a F...

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