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Tips for Travel to Mexico

These tips for traveling to Mexico are essential for preparing before your arrival. I’ve asked other top bloggers who know Mexico well to share their top travel tips for Mexico all-inclusive resorts, cities, and other destinations to help you enjoy this wonderful country. Learn from the locals and read on for all the best travel tips for Mexico.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Tips for Travel to Mexico

Whether you need travel tips for Cabo San Lucas Mexico or other areas throughout the country, I’ve got you covered. Here are the top travel tips for Mexico from experienced digital nomads.

Don’t Drink the Water

Don't drink the water | Travel Tips For Mexico

One of the best tips for travel to Mexico that works for the beaches of Mexico and the cities is don’t drink the water! Mexico water is unsafe for human consumption, and even the locals don’t drink it. You can find bottled water everywhere and in all sizes, from small bottles to 5-gallon garafons, used in old-school water coolers. The most budget and eco-friendly option is to buy one large bottle for your trip and bring a refillable water bottle from home. Regardless, remember it is unsafe to drink the water in Mexico.

Tip by Shelley From Travel Mexico Solo

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Mexico ToursClick here to check out the top Mexico tours
Best Mexico Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Mexico
Best Mexico Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Mexico

Skip the All-Inclusive Resorts

Picture of cancun hotel zone | Travel Tips For Mexico

One of the best travel tips for Mexico all-inclusive resorts? Skip them! People get lured into booking a vacation there because it’s easy and seems like a good deal, but it rarely is. 

First, you pay for everything, regardless if you use all the amenities. For example, if the resort has a Kids’ Club or “free babysitting,” but you don’t have children, the cost of your vacation still includes those programs. Second, it encourages waste and over-indulging. If you can eat at buffets all day, you’re paying for the cost of the food being offered, not what you eat. You may feel you should eat and drink more because you already paid for it. Third, the quality of the food and alcohol is usually below average, and you can’t do anything about it because it’s prepaid.

Instead, find a comparable quality hotel and add the cost of a room plus meals at the hotel or nearby restaurants. You will discover that the cost of separately purchasing these is dramatically less than that of the all-inclusive resort. Plus, this incentivizes hotels and restaurants to offer better services since the hotels and restaurants know you have options.

 Click here to get more travel tips for Mexico all-inclusive resorts.

Tip by Nicole From Go Far Grow Close

Quick Tip: I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from living in Guatemala, and they look after their customers.

If anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them, and they are always there to help. If you book through them, you will pay a little more than booking in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.

Pack Carefully

woman trying to close a suitcase | Mexico travel tips

My top travel tips for Mexico City and other destinations throughout the country are to pack carefully and bring options. Contrary to what most people think, the weather in Mexico is not hot year-round. The country is vast, with different environments and climates, from mountain ranges and deserts to the lowlands of Yucatan. If you are planning a Mexico road trip, you must pack accordingly.  

Layering is best, so pack short and long-sleeve cotton shirts and several tank tops for the Mayan Riviera beaches. You need long pants, a weather-resistant jacket, and a sweater or two for the mountains of Chiapas (especially if you visit between December and March). Pack comfortable shoes, walking sandals, and flip-flops, too—don’t forget your swimsuit!

Tip by Claudia From My Adventures Across the World

Eat Street Food

Mexican tacos streetfood | Mexico travel tips

Street food is essential to Mexican culture—eating it is necessary for any trip to Mexico. From breakfast to late-night snacks, street vendors sell culinary fare in nearly every Mexican town. Particularly popular in Mexico’s capital, sampling street food in Mexico City is a must! Don’t hesitate to order a couple of items or even a full meal from one of the many street food vendors. Tamales, tacos al pastor, and roasted corn are popular options everywhere. While most street vendors only accept cash, you can eat like a king on the streets of Mexico for very little money.

Tip by Melissa From Parenthood and Passports

Learn Basic Spanish

learn some spanish | Travel tips for Mexico | Mexico travel

One of my favorite tips for travel to Mexico is learning basic Spanish. Doing so is convenient if you visit small towns and cities where people aren’t used to English-speaking tourists—it’s easier to communicate with the locals. Furthermore, the people you meet will undoubtedly appreciate it when you try to speak their language!

Tip by Dymphe From Dymabroad

Choose Accommodations Wisely

A colorful street in Mexico | Travel tips for Mexico | Mexico travel

Sometimes, we’re so busy planning things to do that we forget to choose suitable accommodations. In some countries, it’s simple to stay at an Airbnb and not worry. Depending on the city in Mexico, it can be safer to book a hotel in a good area with many activities and accessible transportation.

Where you stay can massively impact your trip, so it’s worth the extra research and finding local ex-pat groups online to ask for advice.  

Tip by Venaugh

Don’t Underestimate the Size of Mexico

A map of Mexico | Travel Tips For Mexico

A common mistake many tourists make while traveling in Mexico is underestimating the country’s size. You can waste time on the road traveling between cities rather than enjoying quality time exploring Mexico’s finest attractions.

Depending on your time in the country, it’s good to rethink the long distances, especially when traveling by bus, the safest and most budget-friendly option. That way, you can make wiser choices and maximize your time in each location.

Tip by Daniel From Layer Culture

Beware of Rental Car Scams

row of cars | Travel Tips For Mexico

A roundup of essential travel tips for Cabo San Lucas Mexico and other areas is to be aware of the Mexican rental-car insurance scam. Tourists rent a car believing the quoted rate includes mandatory charges. However, you’ll often learn at the rental counter that you must also buy insurance.

Mexico requires drivers to carry proof of insurance in case of serious accidents. This coverage has a steep fee, and you won’t know what it is until you get to the rental desk.

If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Only rent cars from reliable companies like Europcar and Hotwire, or small local companies.

Tip by Anukrati Dosi

Need to rent a car in Playa del Carmen?

Whenever I’m in Playa or Tulum, I always rent a car through the Turismo Channel, as they include everything in the quoted price. Car rental companies in Mexico are notoriously tricky to deal with, and nine times out of 10, they will quote you a low cost, but then when you get there, they add on all kinds of insurance and won’t give the car to you unless you pay up. It can also take weeks or even months to refund your deposit. I wrote a blog post here, which you can read for more information. If you want a quote to rent a car with the Turismo Channel, click here to complete the form.

Explore Beyond the Beaches

Mexico City | Travel Tips For Mexico

Mexico is much more than beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and lying in the sun. At its heart, the country is culturally rich, especially in Mexico City. Add this city to your itinerary if you love street food, funky architecture, delicious restaurants, festivals, lush parks, and museums. 

One of my best travel tips for Mexico City is booking accommodations in Roma, the most fabulous neighborhood. This area is brimming with eclectic cafes, art galleries, and nightlife. 

Tip by Haley From HaleyBlackall.com

Book Bus Tickets in Advance

Mexico bus | Mexico travel | Tips for Mexico

When traveling through Southeast Mexico, ADO is one of the most popular and reliable long-distance bus companies. To save money on bus tickets, a helpful travel tip is to check online ticket prices first. ADO usually runs promotions for online tickets a few days in advance, with ticket savings starting at around 35%.

As a bonus, the ADO bus stations supply free WiFi, so you can check for last-minute online promotions before purchasing from the ticket counter. Another perk of ADO buses is the frequent night departures, which helps you save money on accommodations and budget more travel time.

Tip by Megan From Packing Up the Pieces

Avoid Sargassum Season

Sargassum in the Riviera Maya | Travel tips for Mexico

One of the most common tips for travel to Mexico is to avoid traveling there during sargassum season. Caribbean beaches are some of the most popular destinations in Mexico, yet you have to account for the annual sargassum season.

First things first: What is sargassum season?

Sargassum is a brown, stringy, and often stinky seaweed that arrives in droves on Mexican shores. The peak season runs from April to October, but you will find sargassum year-round. While the algae are harmless for your health, swimming and sunbathing in a sea of brown, smelly seaweed is anything but pleasant.

You have a few options for handling this time of year. You can either accept it, help clean it up, find out which beaches have already been cleaned up (often those that belong to hotels), or head to the beaches on the East Coast.  

Tip by Lara From The Best Travel Gifts

See Wildlife in the Wild

Whale shark tour | Travel tips for Mexico

Mexico is full of incredible wildlife, and seeing native animals should be at the top of your list of things to do. You can swim with whale sharks and manta rays, spot flamingos, and see sea turtles and small sharks while snorkeling.

Only hire reputable tour companies and avoid zoos or wildlife parks as they usually mistreat their animals. The best way to enjoy Mexico’s wildlife is with a tour that respects animal rights and lets you admire them from afar.

Tip by Victoria From Guide Your Travel

Use Public Transportation

Public bus in Mexico City | Travel tips for Mexico

Most Mexican cities have fantastic public transport systems. Hopping on a train or bus to get from one landmark or neighborhood to another is a convenient way to explore. There are plenty of other benefits, too.

By taking public transportation, you can save on your travel budget, reduce environmental impact, and experience the city like a local. For example, the metro and bus system in Mexico City (known as the STC) spans the entire town and is just 25 cents a trip—and there’s free WiFi! You can glimpse authentic daily life in Mexico by riding the bus or train.

Tip by Erin From Pina Travels

Always Pay in Pesos

Pesos | Travel tips for Mexico

Always try to pay with Pesos when in Mexico. Many places throughout Mexico will accept US dollars, but you’ll lose money due to the unfavorable merchant exchange rate.

If you do not want to keep a lot of Pesos on hand, there are several options. You can find an ATM card to honor an interbank loan rate with foreign currency withdrawals. Alternatively, you can use a credit card that honors the same rate without extra foreign transaction fees.

As a safety measure, only use secure ATMs that are within banks. Do not use freestanding ATMs that are easily accessible from the street.

Tip by Debbie Fettback From WorldAdventurists.com

Visit Cenotes

Cenote diving in Mexico | Travel tips for Mexico

The natural wonders of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are incredible and come in all shapes, sizes, and depths—cue the cenotes! There are over 6000 of these underground caverns in Mexico, which make for great swimming holes. Some are deep enough to dive down to explore the mysteries below.

If you’re visiting the Yucatan Peninsula, I highly recommend exploring these magical places alone or with friends. It’s an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind experience.

However, some parts of Mexico face a terrible sargassum invasion at certain times of the year. Due to this seaweed invasion, the state of the beaches and the smell on the Riviera Maya Coast is quite offputting. If you can find spots that aren’t covered in “Wet Beard,” it’s a beautiful travel destination.’

Tip by Alice From Adventures of Alice

Visit a Mayan Ruin to Understand the Culture Better

How to see the Mayan Ruins in Tulum Mexico | Travel tips for Mexico

The Maya were an important indigenous society that significantly contributed to Mexican culture—any trip to Mexico is enhanced by learning about the Mayans. Visiting the ruins of Mayan cities is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local history.

Mayan societies have influenced Mexico’s architecture, agriculture, food, art, astronomy, and more. This culture can be experienced in ruins like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Tulum, and Palenque. Visit early for the most uncrowded views of the striking pyramids and ornate building facades. A local guide can help you unlock the mysteries of Mayan folklore and history.

Tip by Karen From Outdoor Adventure Sampler

Look for a Menú del Día at Local Restaurants

menue del dia - Lunch of the day mexico | Travel tips for Mexico

This “meal of the day” is typically offered at lunchtime, around 1:00 p.m. in Mexico. It’s usually geared toward office workers who want a quick meal. Don’t go too early, or you might end up with the breakfast menu.

What’s lovely about the daily menu is it’s usually an affordable combination of a soup, salad, entree, and sometimes dessert or coffee. Depending on the restaurant, it can be a pretty gourmet meal. It’s not too heavy, which I find preferable for lunch.

The menu is either set or may give you one or two options. One of our favorite spots served fresh agua fresca, a light and refreshing fruit juice in water—great for hydration on hot days! Another had delicious coffee with a little cookie. We enjoyed many of these lunches during our stay in Mexico.

If you want travel tips for Mexico and finding accommodations, check out my Mexico Travel Guide with information and recommendations for where to stay, depending on your plans.

Tip by Shimona From Sidecar Photo

Quick Tip: View my full Mexico packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Mexico Essentials shopping list here.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!
Mexico City Hostel
Orchid House Polanco
Condesa df, Mexico City

Mexico Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Mexico?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Mexico which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Mexico on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Mexico?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Mexico?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Mexico tours Where Sidewalks End has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

If you are traveling to Cancun you can use GoCity and save up to 55% of the initial cost of entrance tickets to various museums, tours, and attractions!

If you are traveling to Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

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