Travelling in Mexico can be a rich and rewarding experience. Mexico is a beautiful, intriguing, and expansive country with a rich culture to enjoy. With dozens of fantastic destinations, from beach resorts to art hubs to big city museums, it is virtually impossible to be bored there.
The problematic security issues that are often in the headlines can’t be overlooked, however. As a mystery novel author whose main character is Acapulco Detective Emilia Cruz, I spend a lot of time immersed in these security issues and know that a little common sense can go a long way. Here are three tips for avoiding problems and having a great time in Mexico.
Passport to Paradise
Protect your passport; it’s your most valuable commodity. Don’t take it to the beach or the market.
Keep a copy of the photo page of your passport with you. The original can stay in a room safe (along with copies of credit cards and contact numbers for the issuing companies.) Along with the copy of your passport, keep handy the phone number and business hours of your embassy in Mexico and the phone number and address of your hotel. You don’t need the mystery of trying to remember the hotel address in front of a taxi driver.
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No New Conversations
Getting into and out of a vehicle can be a particularly vulnerable time. A parking area is full of hiding places for would-be thieves and it is very easy to be distracted from your surroundings by the process of loading and unloading people, packages, strollers, etc. When we lived in Mexico our family rule was no new conversations getting in or out of the car. This meant fewer distractions for parents, faster loading/unloading, and zero incidents of robbery.
Expect the Unexpected
Once upon a time I was a student in Paris and travelling through Italy during Christmas break. While on a local train somewhere near Brindisi a group of boys got on shouting and throwing firecrackers, disorienting everybody in the carriage. The boys swarmed over our luggage, kept up the ruckus for the 10 minutes it took to get to the next town, and left, having taken everything out of my friend’s unattended purse.
Be prepared to encounter similar disruptions in Mexico. Getting accidentally squirted with water/mustard/liquid soap while strolling a market, being accosted by kids trying to give or sell you something, and other unexpected encounters can be a prelude to being pickpocketed or getting a purse stolen by those making the disruption or their accomplices. Reduce your risk by being alert, not wearing ostentatious jewelry in obvious tourist areas, and keeping your bag closed, preferably with a zipper.
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