By Plane

Northern New Mexico doesn't have 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.

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By Car

The most convenient way to get around northern New Mexico is by private car. Auto and RV rentals are widely available for those who arrive without their own transportation, either at the Albuquerque airport or at locations around each city.

I have received good rates and service from Avis at the Albuquerque airport (tel. 800/831-2847, 505/842-4080, or 505/471-5892 in Santa Fe; www.avis.com); Thrifty, 2039 Yale Blvd. SE, Albuquerque (tel. 800/367-2277 or 505/842-8733; www.thrifty.com); Hertz, Albuquerque airport (tel. 800/654-3131 or 505/842-4235; www.hertz.com); Dollar, Albuquerque International Airport (tel. 800/369-4226; www.dollar.com); Budget, Albuquerque International Airport (tel. 505/247-3443; www.budget.com); Alamo, 2601 Yale Blvd. SE, Albuquerque (tel. 800/327-9633; www.alamo.com); and Rent-A-Wreck of Albuquerque, 2001 Ridgecrest (tel. 800/247-9556 or 505/232-7552; www.rentawreck.com/nm.htm).

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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, Hotwire.com, Travelocity, and Priceline.com, all of which offer competitive online car-rental rates.

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By Bus

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 can be obtained from foreign travel agents or online at www.discoverypass.com. It allows for unlimited travel and stopovers in the U.S. and Canada.

By Train

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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.

Railway routes are extremely limited around northern New Mexico. Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245] or 505/842-9650; www.amtrak.com) runs from Albuquerque to Lamy, with a small spur railroad running to Santa Fe.

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.