By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Sure, we all know that when it comes to getting that emergency flashlight in good working order before a family camping trip or making Junior’s toy race car hit the parquet floors with full force, there is nothing more reliable than a pair of good old Energizer batteries.
Energizer, which has been lighting the way for TV remotes and kids’ handheld video games for more than four decades, is now encouraging Mexicans to recharge their own mental and physical batteries with short day or weekend trips to nearby destinations, and is even helping to pick up the tab for those mini-vacations.
This year, as part of a special holiday collaboration, Energizer and Booking.com have paired up to offer customers in Mexico a very special promotion through Jan. 15.
That’s right, with the purchase of any especially marked Energizer product, customers will receive a full 10 percent off on car rentals and/or accommodations on Booking.com.
And to make those mini-holidays even easier, the company has created a list of six must-visit nearby drive-cation destinations, where family and friends can gather to renew their energy and take a break from the routine without engaging in a long-haul cross-country trek or sitting in an airport waiting to see if this flight gets cancelled.
Topping that list is Peña de Bernal, Querétaro, perfect for families with kids who begin the are-we-there-yet? chant five minutes into a road trip.
Just two hours’ drive from Mexico City, Peña de Bernal is not only an affordable holiday destination with a plethora of cozy restaurants and inviting little shops, but it is also a perfect location for letting those antsy kids burn off some of their excess energy by climbing the world-renowned Bernal Boulder or even take a Christmas tour of this quaintly traditional “Magic Town.”
For more mature audiences, there are the vineyards in Tequisquiapan, Querétaro, just three hours away from the Mexican capital.
This culinary paradise is an ideal destination for foodies and wine aficionados alike.
Known for its robust reds, luminous whites and home-cured regional cheeses, Tequisquiapan is a culinary paradise for demanding palates where visitors are encouraged to explore the local wineries.
If your exploratory dreams extend to a European experience, but your pocketbook is limited more to a national trek, there is Val’Quirico, Tlaxcala, a little taste of Tuscany right in the heart of Mexico.
This enchanting little Italian-style village is just an hour and a half from Mexico City, and the entire town lights up with a European spirit of Christmas during the holidays.
There are plenty of shops selling quality artisan crafts (great for last-minute gifts) and an array of Mexican and international restaurants to quench your culinary wanderlust.
And on every corner there is a selfie-perfect backdrop.
More the extreme eco-adventurist?
Check out Huasca de Ocampo, Hidalgo.
Breathtaking landscapes, fresh air and horseback tours make this option a one of Mexico’s most thrilling adventure capitals.
And the nearby destination of Mineral del Chico, with its spectacular mountains and deep pine forests, is part of a national park dedicated to eco-conservation, making it a wonderful place to unwind and escape the hustle of city life.
Although it is slightly further away than the other options, the last recommendation on the Energizer drive-cation list is Xilitla, San Luis Potosí.
The Huasteca Potosina is bursting with paradisiacal natural scenes that conquer even the most anxious heart.
Be sure to visit Sir Edward James’ Surrealist Garden, with it dreamlike landscapes wrapped in an emerald jungle.
Mexico is full of fabulous day-trip or weekend-getaway destinations, all of which are affordable and accessible for nearly every family.
And isn’t that really what a family vacation is all about?
So pack a bag, rent a (discounted car), book a place to stay and be sure to pack some Energizer batteries to keep your devises as well charged as your spirit.