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7 Essential Travel Tips For Your First Time In Mexico

Mexico is an incredible country to visit, whether you are spending your vacation backpacking, touring famous tourist centres, or relaxing at a resort. There are plenty of fun activities to do there, and you will surely meet some friendly local people along the way - not to mention all the authentic tacos, tostadas, and tamales you can gorge yourself on. If you follow these essential travel tips during your trip to Mexico, you can have the time of your life.

Save Your Immigration Slip 

When you arrive in Mexico, the immigration officers will ask you to fill out an immigration form about your reasons for staying in the country. After they stamp your passport, you will get it back along with a slip. Remember to hold on to this slip, as this will serve as proof of your visit, and you’ll be asked to return it when you exit the country. If you lose it, you will be subjected to another immigration check, miss your flight, and pay a hefty fine. 

Get a Local SIM Card 

A good internet connection can make it a lot easier for you to explore Mexico. You will need it to find specific locations and get around in transport. To help you get started, buy a local SIM card when you arrive at the airport terminal and ask the seller to set it up for you. It's recommended that you get a basic phone plan that usually comes with bonus credit and an additional internet plan of 1GB. This should be enough for browsing while you stay in Mexico.

Always Pay with Pesos 

While it’s true that you can pay in dollars at the tourist destinations in Mexico, the only money most smaller businesses take is peso. Even if they accept your currency, the exchange rate you’ll get from them is going to be very unsatisfactory. If you have to exchange your money, do it in a bank, as they have a much better exchange rate. But the best option for you is to buy as many pesos you can at home and take it with you on your trip. 

Explore Beyond Classic Tourist Destinations 

Traditional tourist destinations in Mexico are often crowded and can be quite expensive. It would be a shame to stand in line for an hour or more waiting to get in when you are in such an enchanting country with so many mountains, countryside, and quiet villages. Or, you can explore the Yucatan peninsula, and discover all the best things in Playa Del Carmen if you prefer the beaches. Although this town is less sought after than the bigger cities in the area, it still has some fun activities to offer. 

Pack Versatile Clothing 

You might get tempted to bring only a swimsuit and shorts, but depending on the season and your destination, you might need to pack warmer clothes as well. In central Mexico, the climate is always warm enough, so you will hardly need more than summer clothes, especially during the summer. However, sudden rain can make you feel cold even here. And if you are venturing on higher altitudes, you will need layered clothes unless you want to freeze during the night.

Respect Bathroom Etiquette 

Even the simplest things can be confusing when you are visiting a foreign country. For example, in Mexico, the restrooms are marked “M” for women and “H” for men. Try to remember this to avoid embarrassing situations. And to add to that, you can forget about flushing toilet paper in Mexico, as the pipes there can't handle it. Instead, you will need to toss the toilet paper in the little waste bin. 

Don't Use Taxis or Car Rental Services 

Both taxi companies and rental car agencies charge a lot more money for their services to tourists in Mexico. And if you try to rent a car online before going to Mexico, the rental agency will try to sell you their overpriced insurance as well. Unless you are traveling huge distances at a time, your best and fastest option is using Mexico's excellent tiered bus lines. You can also rent bikes or use an Uber if you want to avoid public transport. 

Traveling to Mexico can come as a huge cultural shock for some, but the key to having a good time is to embrace it. The best thing about this country is that it has something to offer for everyone. No matter what your dream holiday looks like, you can find it in Mexico. Now that you know what to be aware of, you can go ahead and prepare yourself for your next adventure!

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