Leading into the second night of our trip, Heath and I were a little worse for wear. Together we seem to be a magnet for “adventure,” as we like to call it, and we were ready for relaxation. In this blog, I’ll share all the lessons we learned during our vacation, so you don’t have to figure them out like we did!
There are so many people looking to make a buck off tourists. They want to get you a taxi, charge for parking, send you on an unnecessary tour, and just about anything else you can think of. These people are seemingly harmless, but to avoid being stalked down the streets with deals and steals, just look like you know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Heath and I joked that we weren’t allowed to roll the window down or make eye contact once we started to get annoyed with it!
I suppose I should say that you don’t have to, feel free to do whatever you want lol but I highly recommend not to. There are many people like I mentioned above who will try to convince you that they have authority. They will say things like “you can only park here for $10,” “you need a guide to swim on this beach,” or “you’re not allowed to walk to this part of the airport.” Lies I tell you! Heath and I when we first arrived were shark bait. I won’t even try to make myself sound cool, because this is something I want other first time travelers to know! We couldn’t find our car rental pickup and we were getting jerked around left and right. Don’t attract “adventure” like we did.
Because Heath and I started to become frantic, we didn’t really get on top of this one. We did change over some dollars, but quickly ran out. I recommend changing over all of your budgeted dollars into pesos right at the airport. It’s right there when you get off the plane, and it usually a normal exchange rate. Sometimes your hotel can also do this for you, but I would call ahead and make sure they can. If you try and use USD, I can almost guarantee you’ll get jipped at some point in time.
Police in Mexico can be sketchy and they will find absolutely any reason to pull you over. It will be tempting to drive the same speed as the other drivers because usually they’re flying down the road way over the speed limit. Don’t do it because once you get pulled over, you’re either bribing the police officer or handing over your passport which you absolutely NEVER want to do. They will confiscate it and you’ll have to pay for it back in whatever amount you received the ticket for. Our rental car didn’t even have a license plate, which made it super obvious we were tourists. Be smart and drive safe, which leads me into the next tip.
So Heath and I already had our car reserved with Alamo and everything was ready to go before we got there. However, we did not realize a few very important things which prevented us from getting a car right away. First off, they do not accept Visa debit cards. For all you 20 year olds reading this pay attention. I’m not high rolling to start off and I definitely don’t have multiple credit cards to whip out whenever I feel like it. This Alamo in Cancun required a $400 deposit ON TOP of the rental car fee. All rental car companies in Mexico also require an insurance which is normally around $25 per day extra. You don’t need collision if you have your own car insurance that’ll cover you in Mexico. If you’re too young, under 24/25, you’ll also be charged more per day because of your age, find an older friend guys not worth it. ALSO, most gas stations you don’t pump yourself and these workers are severely underpaid. Unfortunately, because of this they will almost 100% rip you off if you’re not paying attention. Always keep your eye on the meter and that they reset the pump. Be careful because it’s their word against yours. I'd recommend booking from your car here!
The last thing that’s super important continues with the rental car topic. When you pick up your car, takes pictures on all sides. When you park your car and pick it up, take more pictures. When you hand the keys over to the valet, take more pictures! This is to insure that if at any point something happens to the car, you can pinpoint exactly when it was and who to blame. This happened to us and we didn’t have the pictures to prove it. If we wanted to make a claim against the hotel where we parked it, we would’ve had to embark down this long painful process. Of course we didn’t and luckily were charged by the rental car company (it was a microscopic dent, but still).
There are plenty more things to know when traveling to Mexico, but these were all the lessons that we learned on our trip! Don’t be afraid after reading this, because guess what? You now won’t make the same mistakes we did! Once we learned these lessons, the whole trip became much more enjoyable. Our stress levels went down and we could finally get into vacation mode. Comment below if you have had similar experiences or other questions about our trip! Hope this helps!