Six Things You Must Know Before Traveling to Mexico (Part 2)

4. Learn to Tip Respectfully

Tipping has become customary in Mexico, and it’s always appreciated and expected in return for quality service (or quality entertainment). In fact, service industry personnel in this country rely on your tips as a major source of income. A tip of at least 10-percent, or 15-percent in higher-end establishments, is expected at any restaurant. Hotel maids, gas station attendants, porters, taxi drivers, entertainers, spa personnel, bellboys, and any other service personnel who help you with your stay typically expect a small tip (roughly $1-$5) for the service they provided.

5. Be Prepared to Barter

A general rule of thumb when shopping in Mexico: never accept the first price you’re offered. Bartering is common in Mexico, and it’s practiced by just about everyone (aside from department stores and chain establishments). The best advice for bartering in Mexico is to respect the craft or service the seller is offering while trying to reach a price that you’re comfortable paying. Many crafts sold on the streets, in marketplaces, or on the beach are handmade, and you don’t want to devalue the seller’s item with an overly aggressive bartering strategy (although they may use one on you). Taxi drivers, if they’re not driving a metered taxi, are typically willing to barter too, so always establish the price to your destination before getting in the cab.

6. Pack Appropriate Clothing

Although Mexico’s winter temperatures may be far different than the temperatures you’re leaving, you’ll need to pack more than bathing suits and beach towels. Mexicans don’t generally wear their bathing suits away from the pool or beach, and a long skirt or pants is far more appropriate at an upscale restaurant than shorts. While the dress codes in tourist areas tend to be far laxer than the country’s less-touristy areas, they are often enforced at high-end night clubs, where long pants and closed-toed shoes are required of men.