Traveling into and throughout Mexico is still very simple, even in this day and age of heightened sensitivities about border control and enforcement. However, there are several key requirements that you should know about concerning travel in Mexico. These include knowing about documents that you should always carry with you, what type of items that you can and can’t take from one country into another, and finally, the certain situations that are best avoided while vacationing in Mexico.
One of the most recent developments concerning international travel to and from the United States is the necessity of having a valid passport. As of January 23, 2007 United States citizens are required to show a valid passport if traveling by air outside of the country, that includes even to Mexico or Canada. By January 1, 2008 that requirement will also include any travels by sea or land outside of the country. To obtain a passport or to register a lapsed one all you need to do is visit one of the over 9,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States. It is recommended that you allow 10-12 weeks time before your intended travel, as it could take that long before your passport documentation is completed.
The Mexican government will issue an official travel card to you. This travel card is usually included in the cost of your airline ticket, and it should be kept with your passport in a secure place while you are visiting the country. Always, keep your travel documents in a secure location that is not on your person. Writing down your travel card number and having it handy can be helpful in certain situations. It would also be prudent to have your driver’s license and a copy of your birth certificate with you, although these are not required, they are always good to have – just in case.
When you arrive in Mexico and again, when your return to the United States you will have to go through customs and fill out a form either declaring items that are above the allowance for an individual or choosing not to declare. Be aware that if you declare items your baggage will be searched and duty will be collected. Even if you don’t declare anything, there is still the chance that you will be searched and any undeclared items found can result in heavy fines and penalties. While staying in Mexico be aware of purchasing items that may not be able to be brought home without paying a duty tax. A list of items allowed can be found on the Internet or by contacting your travel agent or airline.
Whether you are in any area or for that matter, any city that you are not familiar with, practice common sense in order to remain safe. If you are out at night enjoying the abundant nightclubs, always keep your money and valuables in a safe place. Never walk anywhere alone and avoid dark corners or dead ends. If you become “a little worse for wear” due to over-participation in adult beverages, do not drive and never walk alone back to your hotel. Even if it is only a couple of blocks, take a taxi.
These are very simple requirements that you should adhere to when you vacation in Mexico. Following them and using common sense will ensure that you enjoy the safest vacation and one that is hassle free.