What to Wear
Casual and comfortable are the key words. In beach towns, shorts or shortish skirts are normal for many locals as well as visitors; sleeveless tops are ﬁne, too. Take some long sleeves and long pants/skirts to protect against sun and mosquitoes, or for slighﬂy less casual evening wear. In non-beach towns long pants, longish skirts and at least short sleeves are standard. Women will feel more comfortable with covered shoulders. Dress conservatively when visiting churches. You’ll want at least a jumper or light jacket for cooler inland areas and air-conditioned buses or planes. A hat is essential; you can buy good, cheap ones in Mexico.
What to Pack
Credit or ATM card
International electrical adaptor (for non-North Americans)
Cell phone and charger
Swimming and beach gear
Small medical kit
Driver’s license and other paperwork (if you’re driving)
Sun hat and shades
Check the validity of your passport
Check the airline baggage restrictions
Organize travel insurance (Click here)
Make any necessary bookings (for accommodations, travel, sights)
Inform your credit/debit card company
Check if you can use your cell phone (Click here)
Get necessary immunizations well in advance (Click here)
Check your government’s Mexico travel information (Click here)
Mexicans are not huge sticklers for etiquette: their natural warmth takes precedence. Greetings ‘Mucho gusto’ (roughly ‘A great pleasure’) is a polite thing to say when you’re introduced to someone. A handshake is the normal physical greeting; women may just tzouch each other on the right forearm. If it’s a woman and a man, the woman offers her hand ﬁrst Male friends may perform an abrazo (a back-slapping hug); women and friends of opposite sexes usually kiss once on the cheek. Pleasing people Mexicans love to hear that you’re enjoying their country. As a rule, they are slow to criticize or argue, expressing disagreement more by nuance than by blunt contradiction. Visiting homes An invitation to a Mexican home is an honor for an outsider; as a guest you will be treated very hospitably. Take a small gift if you can, such as flowers or something for the children.
“Thy? Tourism and hospitality workers often depend on tips to supplement miserable wages. Restaurants Tip around 15% unless service is included in the check. Hotels It’s nice to leave 5% to 10% of your room costs for the staff. Taxis Drivers don’t expect tips unless they provide some extra service. Porters Airport and hotel porters get M$50 to M$100 depending on how much they carry. Attendants Car-parking and gas-station atlaendants expect M$5 or M$10.
Plan on making all cash purchases with pesos. Only a few businesses accept US dollars. It’s easy to get pesos from ATMs using a major credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). For greatest security, use ATMs during daylight and use ihe ones inside banks or hotels. Take a small reserve of cash to exchange if ATMs prove unavailable or inconvenient. Change cash US dollars (and oﬁen Canadian dollars, euros or pounds sterling) at banks or casas de cambio (exchange ofﬁces). Casas de oambio are usually quicker than banks and may offer better rates. Use major credit and debit cards at many airlines, travel agencies, midrange or top-end hotels, restaurants and stores. Swipe devices are more common than ‘chip and PIN’ machines.