We send writers on location whenever we can. Not only does it make us a more reliable source for travel stories and advice, it often nets details and a sense of atmosphere that you just can’t get from reading about a destination or interviewing someone from a tourism board. (How else would we have found out that the colourful walls of the Houston Urban Experience Mural Festival are the spot for local families taking quinceañera photos, or that shared baths are often part of the experience at traditional Japanese ryokan?)

While going on trips is exciting (and possibly the only part of the job that resembles Hollywood’s version of magazine life), researching travel content does involve a lot of actual travel.

To give you an idea of just how much, here’s a look at the schedule (and odometer) of a recent press trip to Los Cabos, Mexico.

Day 1: Getting there

We board a flight from Toronto to Los Cabos International Airport at the very end of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, across two time zones and into a landscape that’s threaded with dry riverbeds and spiked with cacti. Outside the terminal, we climb into our van for a ride to the Grand Solmar resort in Cabo San Lucas, where we sit down to ultra-fresh fish tacos by the beach.

Distance travelled: 3,778.6 kilometres

Day 2: Going from Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo

After driving from the resort to a canyon for a zip-lining adventure, we head back to the resort to freshen up. Then it’s on to a gallery walk and dinner in San José del Cabo, where the chef makes sure we sample incredible surf-and-turf tacos and smooth-sipping tequilas. Everything is delicious, but we’re worn out by the day’s activities, and it’s very quiet on the ride back to the resort.

Distance travelled: 117.45 kilometres

Day 3: Swimming with whale sharks in La Paz

We get up early to check in at Cabo Adventures in the Cabo San Lucas marina, who will be guiding the day’s swim with whale sharks. The excursion departs from La Paz, a two-hour drive away on the east coast of the Baja peninsula (and a four-hour round trip). In the evening, we head into The Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo for cocktails and an oceanfront dinner at the gorgeous One&Only Palmilla, where I now want to live.

Distance travelled: 392.3 kilometres

Day 4: Heading into the desert on ATVs

Today, it’s back to the marina to check in with Cabo Adventures before our ATV ride in a canyon near the Pacific coast between Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos. Turns out gleefully tearing around on a four-wheeler is tiring, but luckily, dinner is located close by, at the stylish restaurant-slash-club Fat Tuna in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Distance travelled: 112.7 kilometres

Day 5: Coming home

We check out of the Grand Solmar and take our last trip in the van to the airport. The flight back to (cold, dark) Toronto and a cab ride home finish the trip. It’s been a long five days, but that just means more to write about!

Distance travelled: 3,778.6 kilometres

Total distance travelled: 8,179.65 kilometres (by plane, van, zip line, boat and ATV)

Image credit: Kristen Koch, Cabo Adventures and the Grand Solmar resort