Safe Travel Tips for Mexico

There is an unjustified, but looming, fear about the safety of having your spring break or summer holiday in this land of good food and great drink: Mexico. The unfortunate thing is that when one bad news report goes out about one area of the country, it could blow up and make people think the problem is a lot bigger than it actually is. Safety is always key when you go on a getaway, but the best way is to just follow some good rules of thumb.

Here are some pointers you can consider before and during your visit:

Being Safe in Mexico

  1. Act like a local. This may seem harder than it actually is, but with a little practice, it’s going to come as second nature. Think of how you are in your hometown. You never see locals: look at maps or wander around like they have no idea where they are going. A good tip is to also check out what the people on the street are wearing. You don’t have to dress exactly the same, but you can clue in to things like, are they wearing long pants as opposed to shorts? Do they wear a ton of jewelry? If you really want to get into it, you can also try seeing where people go and do their shopping and see if the market is something you’d like to tackle. Do you know how to barter and when? Is it allowed? Going to where the locals go also helps you perceive things like the price of a product, which is normally elevated in the more touristy areas.
  2. Know the lay of the land. Sure, you can act like a local but don’t think that grants you permission to wander in just about anywhere. You have to be crystal clear on where to go and where not to go. Make sure you ask the advice of a respectable source, like a concierge or hotel staff to see if they can give you the skinny on the top spots to visit, as well as the off-limits areas.
  3. ID yourself. Carrying around your passport is not always the best course of action from personal experience.I have lost a passport once just because I needed an official form of ID. Worst case scenario, keep it in your safe deposit box at the hotel and keep a color photo copy on you when you step out.
  4. Currency. It’s always a good idea to plan your card-carrying days with your activities. If you always need to bring your credit cards, make sure that you have your bank and card numbers in your safe deposit box (a statement is also an easy way), so just in case you do lose them, you’ll have the info near. If you are near the sea, a waterproof bag will not disappoint.

In all, you can make educated decisions based on how you take care of yourself at home. Awareness is always important, so if you feel like something is not right, go with your gut and save your vacation. You’ll be glad you did.

For more tips, read this article from Lonely Planet.

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