Mexico is a popular tourist destination for many U.S. citizens no matter the season. It comes as no surprise that many choose to spend their weekends or holidays in our neighboring country, as it boasts diverse cultural, historical and natural attractions. However, hopping into your car for a trip to Mexico unprepared can lead to a less than ideal holiday in this beautiful country. So in the midst of all your pre-vacation joy don’t forget these 6 important things before the trip.
Don’t Forget the Paperwork
All U.S. citizens no matter the age must have a valid passport for their trip to Mexico. Your passport should have an expiration date at least half a year longer than your planned trip date unless you’re visiting the border zone for a maximum of 72 hours. You will also need a migratory form, a customs form and a valid Mexican Insurance policy provided by licensed companies like Oscar Padilla Mexican Insurance.
Ask the Locals about the Water
Everyone who’s traveled to Mexico knows that the tap water in the country is not very suitable for drinking. However, avoiding drinking the tap water may prove to be a challenge. Before you arrive at your hotel or Airbnb rental, call the reception or the owner to see if their tap water is suitable for drinking. If not, stock up on large water bottles as you will need them during the stay. Also be careful when visiting restaurants, as most of them use tap water to make ice or rinse the salad. To keep your stomach safe, it’s wise to pack some over the counter probiotics.
Bring an Adapter for Your Appliances
Even though the electricity standard in Mexico is the same as in the US and Canada (110 volts), three-pronged outlets aren’t that frequent in Mexico. In order to be able to charge your phone, laptop or other electrical devices make sure you pack an adapter just in case.
Know the Holidays and Standard Business Hours
Business hours are not the same in Mexico as in U.S. or Canada. Stores usually open early and stay open until late in the evening. Furthermore, restaurants usually take orders until 11 in the evening. Nightclubs open just after that and stay open until 5 in the morning. Working hours for banks are similar to those in the U.S. but some might be closed during the holidays and on Sundays.
Leave Respectable Tips
Tipping has become a cultural standard in Mexico, and if you are satisfied with the service you should a tip of at least 10 to 15 percent, depending on the establishment. You should also tip taxi drivers, porters, entertainers and bellboys, although leaving a tip of between $1 and $5 is acceptable.
Pack the Right Clothes
Although the temperature during the winter Mexico is still warmer than the U.S., you should still pack some extra clothes. You shouldn’t wear your bathing suits anywhere other than the pool or the seaside. Women should wear skirts instead of shorts in restaurants and high-end establishments. The dress code is a bit less strict in tourist areas, high-end nightclubs insist on a certain dress code.