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.

Six Things You Must Know Before Traveling to Mexico (Part 1)

Generally, Mexico is a safe place to travel. It is artsy, colorful, and full of incredible eats. However, remember to follow these steps to make sure your trip there goes off without a glitch.

1. Ask About the Water

It is widely known that much of the tap water in this country is not suitable for drinking. However, to avoid it can be harder than you may imagine, you should call your hotel ahead of time to check whether their drinking water is suitable for travelers. If the answer is not, grab some large bottles from the airport to use during the days you will be there. And if you want to visit more rural areas or down-home restaurants, be careful as ordering drinks that might be made with unfiltered ice or as eating foods such as salad that might have been rinsed with contaminated water.

2. Be Aware of Business Hours and Holidays

Business hours in Mexico are a little different from those in the U.S and Canada.  Most retail stores there open their doors in the late morning and remain open until late evening. Most restaurants in this country also accept nighttime diners until 11 p.m while night clubs don’t open until well into the night (11 p.m. at the earliest) and usually stay open as late as 5 a.m. Banks adapt operating hours similar to those in the US and Canada but they are commonly closed on Sundays and holidays.

3. Call Your Car Rental Companies

In Mexico, rental car companies have also been pulling fast on tourists for years. They usually advertise to offer an affordable rental car rate online, then double or triple your rate with the mandatory liability insurance of the country after you have arrived. Call your rental car company in advance to know the total cost, including the liability insurance, for the duration of your trip so that you will not be one of the many customers caught off-guard upon arrival.