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1. Get Cash and Travelers Checques in small denominations. You will receive change back in Pecos.
I also suggest a bunch of $1 for tipping. Even at an all-inclusive, this will get you special attention.
2. Exchange 1/2 of your Traveler Checques receipts with a traveling companion. In the event your purse or money gets stolen, you will still have the receipts to make a claim.
3. Make copies of ALL your traveling documents, ID, Passport, credit cards and Traveler Checques and leave with someone at home.
In the event of an emergency you will need to have this information. (Tip: You can also scan them and send yourself a copy!)
4. NOTE: Mexican hospitals and doctors do NOT accept American Insurance for injuries. Your insurance company may tell you they cover you in Mexico, but I can tell you first hand that the Mexicans will NOT accept it. Either purchase inclusive insurance from my office or bring and additional credit card for an emergency.
5. Contact your Cell Phone Provider and advise them you are traveling to Mexico. There are now special codes for incoming AND outgoing calls made with your personal cell phone. Even if you have been to Mexico recently, the codes change often.
6. Contact your credit card companies and advise them that you will be traveling to Mexico so that they can document your account and be advised when they see unusual activity. Again, I am personally familiar with travelers who have not done this and their credit is cut off causing embarrassing and time consuming efforts.
7. ALWAYS stay in groups! DO NOT venture out alone. PLEASE!
8. Sunscreen is a MUST! The sun is much stronger in Mexico. I don't care if you are of Mexican decent ~ you will still burn!
9. Most 4, 4.5 and 5 Star Hotels offer purified water systems and it is perfectly safe to drink and brush your teeth in, however,
if you have any doubts, purchase bottled water. The water systems in Mexico have been significanly upgraded in the last few years and you shouldn't have many problems. When you're traveling in Mexico, you must take extra care when drinking water, or fresh beverages that may have tap water added to them. Also check the ice—ask if it was made with tap water especially in more rustic establishments and rural areas. Salads can also be dangerous if they have been rinsed with tap water; so again, the rule is: if in doubt, ask first! All main hotels and good restaurants use purified water throughout. Most hotels provide bottled water in all rooms, which you can use to drink and brush your teeth with, and many hotels now have potable water delivered through their taps using an on-site purification system; there will be a note in your room to advise you if this is the case. If you carry a water bottle / canteen, your hotel will usually fill this for you from a large bottle of purified water before you set out on your day trip. All street vendors selling refreshments will sell you purified bottled water. Make sure that the cap is sealed. All commercially produced beverages, including bottled and tinned water, fizzy drinks, wine, beer, spirits, etc will be perfectly safe for you to drink.
10. If you carry ANY medications (including OTC), keep in original container. All prescriptions need to be in their prescribed bottle.
11. If space permits, carry some stomach medications ~ just in case. IE emodium, tums, etc. I have heard that grapefruit or papaya seed extract pills work as well.
12. Remember: all carryon liquids must fit in 1 quart size plastic ziplock bag. This includes: makeup, eye and lip pencils, lipstick, hand lotions, hairspray, eye solutions, deoderants, etc.
13. In addition to luggage tags, I suggest you put contact information on the inside of your luggage as well. I use an 8.5 x 11 brightly colored paper and put my Name, Business Address and several Phone Contacts and put it in the mesh part of my luggage. I have heard of people taking a picture of this information and having it on their memory card on their camera in case they lose their camera or even putting a sticker on it with contact information.
14. Do NOT put your home address on luggage tags!
15. If you take prescription medicine or have eye prescriptions, it's a good idea to copy them and have them just in case.
The prescriptions will have the doctor contact information as well as the prescription making it easier to handle if you need to.
16. Remember batteries for your digital camera!
17. Try to remember in Mexico, most of the staff work for very little and they are very appreciative of kind words and a $1 here and there. Also, they try hard and it's no ALWAYS bad service just because it takes so long. They are on "their" time! It's not the hussle and bustle of America ~ remember that's why we are going there, to slow down!
18. If you are thinking of going into town for shopping; consider going in the early evening. Eat early at your hotel and then go into town. Shops are open until late and it's much more enjoyable, temperature wise!
19. Timeshare people are EVERYWHERE! They are at the airport, at your hotels, in town and on every corner. If you are not interested, simply don't make eye contact. If what they are offering as a "gift" sounds appealing, consider the time (usually 3 hour minimum!) and is it worth it.
20. Banks are usually open from 9a-4p with a 2 hour lunch, or so! Banks offer the best rate of exchange for your money, next is the ATM machines. You will receive the worse rate of exchange at your hotel and in the shops.
21. Drinking and driving is a serious crime in Mexico. If you drink, take a cab, they're not expensive. If you're driving at night, or if you're a pedestrian near a tourist area with lots of bars, be extra vigilant of cars and traffic, especially in the early hours of the morning.
Mexico's police are stepping up their campaign against drunk-drivers with stiff penalties (including the prospect of prison sentences) for offenders. Don't drink and drive in Mexico: foreigners do not get any leniency for driving drunk. If you hurt or kill someone in the process, you will end up in serious trouble.
22. If your hotel offers safety deposit boxes (either in the room or at the front desk) USE THEM!!! Put ALL your valuables in it! Money, credit cards, copies of your documents, your passport, your ID, camera, jewelry ~ everything you can fit in it. Very Smart.

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