Mexico Travel Tips 2023: Practical Advice on Money, Bathrooms, SIM Cards & Bartering

Introduction

Hey guys, it’s Ally! In today’s video, I have my list of best travel tips for Mexico that you probably wouldn’t think about even if you’ve been to Mexico a few times or if it’s your first time visiting. I guarantee you will use at least a few of these travel tips, so let’s get into it. Most of these tips apply to people traveling off the resort, so if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort but planning day trips or some excursions, these will still definitely be helpful for you.

Cash Tips

1. Cash is king in Mexico

Always pay cash when you can, don’t rely on using credit cards. Most places, especially restaurants, will have big signs that say “cash only.” Always plan to pay in cash when you’re here in Mexico.

2. Use pesos

Pesos are the currency here in Mexico and are much more preferred than U.S dollars. If you pay in U.S dollars, you will actually get a worse exchange rate, so it’s way better to pay in pesos. 20 pesos is about one US dollar right now.

3. Use bank ATMs to get pesos

The best place to get pesos is at a bank ATM. They will have the lowest fees, are more likely to always have cash available, and you won’t have to worry as much about card skimmers or things like that. Always look for an ATM that’s attached to an actual bank, avoid the ATMs that are in front of restaurants or sitting randomly on a street corner.

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4. Keep small bills for tips and bathrooms

When you can, try and pay with your big bills like at restaurants or even if you’re buying bottled water at the Oxxo because you want to keep your small bills for tips. A lot of people, especially if you’re at like a beach restaurant or something like that, won’t want to break a large bill, so always try and break them when you can and keep your small bills like 20 pesos for tips or buying souvenirs at the market.

Bathroom Tips

1. Public bathrooms aren’t always available or free

You will notice walking around the towns and the cities that there aren’t a whole lot of public bathrooms available. When they are available, you will have to pay for them, usually about 5 or 10 pesos per person. So always hoard your 5 and 10 peso coins. Sometimes, you will have to pay extra for toilet paper, so if you can, bring some toilet paper in your purse or your pocket.

2. Take advantage of restaurant bathrooms

Always take advantage of using the bathrooms when you’re a paying customer at a restaurant because they may not always be readily available.

3. Be aware of bathroom customs

When you are off the resorts or the big hotels, most of the bathrooms actually don’t allow you to flush toilet paper down the toilet. Their sewage and plumbing systems just can’t handle it here, so you’ll notice that everyone puts their toilet paper in the garbages. Also, know which bathrooms are for men and women. In Mexico, “M” stands for “mujeres” which is the ladies’ washroom, while “H” stands for “hombres” which is the men’s washroom.

Language and Transportation Tips

1. Learn basic Spanish

It’s really helpful to learn basic Spanish. The service here is great, and everyone is so friendly, but if you make an effort to say “buenos días” instead of “good morning,” you just get that much more friendlier service. Check out programs like Rocket Languages to get started with learning Spanish.

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2. Agree on taxi fares beforehand

Always agree to the fare before you get into the taxi. When you’re getting a taxi off of the resort, this doesn’t necessarily apply quite as much because they will have their standard prices. But when you’re just walking through town and you want to grab a taxi randomly, it does help to ask and negotiate the fare before you start your ride.

Shopping Tips

1. Learn to barter

One of my most important travel tips for Mexico is learning to barter and have fun with it. A lot of the local vendors actually love when you try and barter. When you do start your bartering process, they will quote you a price, try returning with a price at about a quarter or 30 percent of what they originally offered. That way, you can negotiate back and forth, and if you get somewhere to about 50% of what they originally quoted you, you know you got a pretty good deal.

Health and Connectivity Tips

1. Stay hydrated

You can’t drink the water from the taps here, so always buy bottled water. It’s very cheap, but if you’re not used to the heat or the humidity, make sure that you stay hydrated. Look out for electrolit, a popular electrolyte drink in Mexico, to stay even more hydrated.

2. Buy a SIM card for your phone

Buy a cheap SIM card here in Mexico at any of the Oxxos to avoid roaming fees for your carrier at home. You can buy cards anywhere from one to six gigs of data and that also includes calling and texting. They activate it for you at the store, so it is very convenient, fast, and reliable.

If you found this article helpful, please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends. I have tons more tips coming your way, so stay tuned!

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