New Mexico doesn't have many carriers flying between its cities, which is just as well. The best parts of the region happen between the major destinations.
Overseas visitors can take advantage of the APEX (Advance Purchase Excursion) reductions offered by all major U.S. and European carriers. In addition, some large airlines offer transatlantic or transpacific passengers special discount tickets under the name Visit USA, which allows mostly one-way travel from one U.S. destination to another at very low prices. Unavailable in the U.S., these discount tickets must be purchased abroad in conjunction with your international fare. This system is the easiest, fastest, cheapest way to see the country.
If you don't have a car and don't want to rent one, there are a few flights. The principal carrier is Great Lakes Airlines (tel. 800/554-5111; www.flygreatlakes.com), which flies from Albuquerque to Farmington and Grant County Airport near Silver City. As well, the Roswell Airport, at Roswell Industrial Air Center, is served commercially by American Eagle Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com), directly from Dallas, Texas, twice daily. And New Mexico Airlines (tel. 888/564-6119; www.pacificwings.com/nma) provides daily flights between Albuquerque and Cavern City Air Terminal near Carlsbad.
If you plan to drive your own vehicle to and around New Mexico, give it a thorough road check before starting out. The state offers plenty of wide-open desert and wilderness spaces, and it's not fun to be stranded in the heat or cold with a vehicle that doesn't run. Check with your auto-insurance company to make sure you're covered when out of state or when driving a rental car.
Gasoline is readily available at service stations throughout the state. Prices are cheapest in Albuquerque and 10% to 15% more expensive in more isolated communities. All prices are subject to the same fluctuations as elsewhere in the United States.
Indian reservations are considered sovereign nations, and they enforce their own laws. For instance, on the Navajo reservation (New Mexico's largest), it's prohibited to transport alcoholic beverages, to leave established roadways, or to travel without a seat belt. While there, abide by speed limits and follow traffic signs.
Drivers who need wheelchair-accessible transportation should call Wheelchair Getaways of New Mexico, 1015 Tramway Lane NE, Albuquerque (tel. 800/408-2626 or 505/247-2626; www.wheelchairgetaways.com); the company rents vans by the day, week, or month.
If you're visiting from abroad and plan to rent a car in the United States, keep in mind that foreign driver's licenses are usually recognized in the U.S., but you should get an international one if your home license is not in English.
Check out Breezenet.com, which offers domestic car-rental discounts with some of the most competitive rates around. Also worth visiting are Orbitz.com, Hotwire.com, Travelocity.com, and Priceline.com, all of which offer competitive online car-rental rates.
Drive Carefully -- US 491, formerly US 666, between Gallup and Shiprock, was at one time labeled America's "most dangerous highway" by USA Today. Though in recent years it has become safer, it still merits cautious driving. In addition, New Mexico has a high per-capita rate of traffic deaths. Drive carefully!
For information about getting to the region's major cities by bus, see the "Getting There" section.
Bus travel is often the most economical form of public transit for short hops between U.S. cities, but it's certainly not an option for everyone (particularly when Amtrak, which is far more luxurious, offers similar rates). Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222; www.greyhound.com) is the sole nationwide bus line. International visitors can obtain information about the Greyhound North American Discovery Pass. The pass, which offers unlimited travel and stopovers in the U.S. and Canada, can be obtained from foreign travel agents or through www.discoverypass.com.
International visitors can buy a USA Rail Pass, good for 15 or 30 days of unlimited travel on Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com). The pass is available online or through many overseas travel agents. See Amtrak's website for the cost of travel within the western, eastern, or northwestern United States. Reservations are generally required and should be made as early as possible. Regional rail passes are also available.
Amtrak's northern New Mexico line, the Southwest Chief, runs west-east and east-west once daily, with stops in Gallup, Grants, Albuquerque, Lamy (for Santa Fe), Las Vegas, and Raton. The Sunset Unlimited connects Lordsburg and Deming with El Paso, Texas, three times weekly each direction. Greyhound/Trailways bus lines provide through-ticketing for Amtrak passengers between Albuquerque and El Paso. Railway routes are extremely limited around northern New Mexico. Contact Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL or 505/842-9650; www.amtrak.com) for more information.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.