What can I use as proof of citizenship to enter Mexico? To enter Mexico, you need to obtain (provided by your airline, if flying) a Tourist Card (FMT). To get your Tourist Card you will need to prove citizenship, a passport is best for this purpose. Other forms of accepted proof of citizenship include, certified birth certificate, voter's registration card, naturalization papers or a notarized affidavit of citizenship. A photo ID is necessary, a passport can serve as proof of citizenship and a photo ID. Airlines will furnish the Tourist Card. Be sure to save the copy that is returned to you by immigration officials upon entry into the country, as you must present this copy when leaving Mexico.
Will my cellular phone work in Mexico? There is local cellular service in most areas. A few (not many) U. S. cellular services offer roaming service in Mexico. Most cell phones will work in Mexico, but they must be reprogrammed by the local service provider. If you plan on bringing your own, it will probably need to be programmed for local service. Remember to have your phone reprogrammed again before returning to the U.S. If you really need cellular service in Mexico, it might just be easier, and cheaper, to take advantage of one of the many low priced cellular promotions that includes a phone and a pre-set amount of time. You will then have a phone you can use whenever you are traveling to Mexico. You can always add more time, if needed, on your next trip.
Is speaking Spanish necessary for me to enjoy my trip? In most cases, no. Obviously it depends on where you are traveling to. Most hotels, restaurants and most tour and activity operators in the beach resorts and major cities have personal that speak English. The farther you get away from the more popular locations and city centers you can expect less English will be spoken. Even in the major cities you will probably not be able to converse in English while shopping in neighborhood stores and shops. You can also take along a pocket dictionary. Your efforts to speak Spanish will be appreciated by the locals.
Do we need to change our money into pesos before we arrive in Mexico? Not really, if you are bringing U.S. dollars. But...if it is easy go ahead and change some money, so you won't have to bother in the airport or have to find a money exchange or a bank right away. Many hotels will be happy to change your dollars into pesos for you. Most business and restaurants, in the larger cities and tourist areas, readily accept U.S. dollars. There are money exchanges (Casa de Cambio) in most airports, but if you are arriving very early (or late) they may not be open. Banks usually have the best rates but also specialize in shockingly terrible service and usually have very long lines, it is not unusual to wait over an hour to change money in a bank. You can change most currencies in the money exchanges and banks, but businesses will usually accept only pesos or U.S. dollars. In most major tourist resorts you can probably get by without ever buying any pesos. You will usually (not always) get better prices (by way of the rate of exchange) if you pay in pesos.
Is it safe to walk around the cities at night? Generally, yes (with Mexico City being an exception). As anywhere, beware of walking alone on dark streets at night. Don't wear flashy jewelry or carry large sums of cash if you must walk at night. If possible walk in pairs and stick to busy well-lit areas of the city. Most restaurants and nightclubs will be happy to call a cab for you, if asked. This may take a little more time than hailing one on the street but is generally safer. You will probably feel safer in Mexico than you do in most larger cities in the United States. The city police here are usually friendly and helpful, but few speak much English. Some tourist areas have special tourist police, they speak English and are there especially for tourists. Use common sense, don’t forget about the buddy system and be careful!
Should I drink the water? In "most" hotels and restaurants, you will get purified water. If there is any doubt, ask. Bottled water is usually safe. I would not drink the water from a private home or condo, unless you know there is a purification system installed, and in good working order. Buy bottled water! Why not be completely safe? Don't take even the slightest chance of ruining your vacation!
What is the current exchange rate? Exchange rates fluctuate daily, so it varies. We have a link to check the current exchange rate http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=USD&To=MXN and of course don’t forget your cell phone has a handy calculator that can be a big help.
Can you tell me what the taxi rates will be? That is quite difficult to do, but the taxi fares are usually reasonable in most cities. For rate information always check with the desk at your hotel. They should be able to tell you what the approximate fare should be to any destination. Then check again with the taxi driver, before you get in. Buses are a very popular form of transportation in Mexico. They usually cover most of the metro area of the city, and usually you will not have to wait more than fifteen minutes for a bus. In the larger cities buses run well into the early hours. For just a few pesos you can go anywhere in the city, within reason. You can also check the Uber app, not all cities in Mexico allow Uber to operate.
How will I know if I am getting a good deal on merchandise? This is a question that nobody but you can answer. A good rule of thumb is...with street vendors, always get at least a 30% discount, sometimes more. In most stores, especially in the malls, prices are fixed just as they are at home. If you are making large purchases or if there are several people in your party that are buying something, you can ask for a discount anywhere. If you’re happy with the quality and price, then you are getting a good deal.
What about doctors and hospitals? Mexico has some very good hospitals and some excellent doctors. Many doctors in Mexico speak English. Check with your hotel, many of the larger hotels have English speaking doctors on premises or on call. If not, they can give you the name, and number, of an English-speaking doctor. Write the phone number down and carry it with you. If there is any doubt in your mind about a doctor, procedure or medication, check with your doctor at home, if possible. In outlying areas, the chances of finding an English-speaking doctor are slim. If you are traveling very far from a major city, perhaps a small investment in a cellular phone is in order. Keep telephone numbers of English speaking contacts (doctors, relatives, consulates) handy so you can call, in case of an emergency. Always travel with the telephone number of your local doctor and of course be safe and stay healthy.
Can I drive my vehicle into Mexico? What is needed? Yes, you can. insurance is required. That is very important, as your U.S. insurance will not cover you in Mexico. Damage to your car may be covered, within a specific mileage limit from the border (check carefully). You must obtain liability insurance because your U.S. policy, most certainly, does not cover you in Mexico. If you should happen to be in an injury accident without liability insurance the consequences can be overwhelming. Do not take any chances!