Monday, 30 September 2019

What you need to know before you pack!

So you are ready to head out on a new adventure to Mexico but you are not sure what to take or what to expect? Well you have come to the right place to find out all the right tips and inside information you need to know to make the best of your trip.

The first thing to take into account is the specific place or region you will be visiting, if you are going to a beach resort area do not pack a bunch of stuff that you will not be using and it will only make your luggage heavy, pack wisely, a pair of beach sandals, a pair of indoor sandals or sneakers, and a pair of casual shoes for a night out or fancy dinner is all you need along with summer clothes and one casual dress for that special occasion. If you will be going to a mountainous area and plan on doing some hiking, then bring along a couple of pairs of trousers or jeans and a long sleeve shirt and don’t forget your hiking boots, remember, you want to be comfortable but practical!

Do I need a visa?

The last thing you want is to start your trip on the wrong foot right? So do make sure you are travelling with a valid passport that has at least two blank pages for visa stamps and is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your departure from Mexico, make sure you check if you are a national of one of the countries with VISA FREE access to Mexico, If you need a visa before arrival, make sure you go to the nearest embassy or consulate at your location and apply for it with enough time before your departure, the visa process is free of cost for most countries, if you are in the visa free regime you will get a visa on arrival valid for 6 months for TOURIST ACTIVITIES only, you will get an immigration card which you must keep in your passport, do not lose it as you must return it to immigration upon departure.

Arriving in Mexico!

Once you arrive and go thru immigration and collect your baggage you will go thru customs by pressing the button on the fiscal traffic light, if it turns green you are free to go, if it turns red your baggage will be checked to make sure that what you declared in your customs form is true, the light system works randomly unless you are suspected of carrying something illegal or not allowed without paying duties, in that case the customs officer takes over and directs you to the secondary inspection counter but don't panic, just pop your luggage open and let them take a peek, this will usually take a couple of minutes and you will be on your way. Tourists that go thru a strict customs check are those arriving in flights from sensitive countries for narcotics, but hey, if you are a clean Joe/Jane there is nothing to worry about.

No matter what city you arrive in, transportation is readily available as you exit the airport, if you travel with an arranged package more than likely you have a transfer included to your resort, just look for the travel representative indicated on your vouchers, for those adventurers like me there is taxi or bus service, and in Mexico city you can take the Metro as well. The taxi I recommend you buy your ticket inside the airport so that you pay before you board and you don't have to worry about being scammed, those are certified companies so you are safe, make sure you take all your belongings when you leave the taxi, throughout the country Uber is available (Except from the airport). If you are travelling to a different region of the country, there are 1st class buses departing from the airports on a regular basis, just approach the information counter and they will point you to the bus services counter where you can get your tickets and off you go, and you can ride the local bus into town if that is where you are staying.Long distance buses are very comfortable, premium lines even have wifi, coffee and soft drinks on board like ADO Platinum.

Money exchange!

Anywhere you go pretty much you can pay with your credit or debit card, that gives you the best exchange rate of all, if you need to exchange notes, make sure you go to a bank, that is where you will get the official exchange rate without commission, always carry your money in a secure pouch and just carry small denomination bills in your pocket, 200 pesos is good to get you by while you are out and about, always be vigilant when taking money out and watch your belongings, this is a global recommendation, not just for Mexico, always be wise and use common sense, that is your best defence against petty theft and pick pockets.
Ask the teller to give you 200 peso notes as those are easy to get change for, try not to pay with 500 or 1000 peso notes, most places will not accept 1000 peso notes, those are usually used in large cash transactions.

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