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Could anyone give me advice for my 7 day trip to mexico???

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
People my mom knows who have gone to mexico have given me some good advice:

1. Tan before you go
2. bring tons of suntan lotion
3. Never bring anything valuable to the beach (because of the fine sand)
4. Never give money to the beggars (I wouldnt mind doing it but I know they swarm and mob you then)
5. Never drink the tap water, only drink water from a recognizable brand of water.

Anyone else have anything I should be aware of?

Like... What things in mexico would be considered rude if you did them, but not in America/other countries?

I already know to bring my own things such as washcloths, and I am preparing for some colder showers, I have a list I made up, combined from things I know I will need, and things the pamphlet told me to bring (washcloths)

I dont feel comfortable in shorts, but people keep telling me to forget the pants and bring shorts... I only have one pair of shorts, should I buy more???

Anyone have any advice on things I might have to buy??

I have to buy some clothes anyways, so I am spending a bit of my graduation money to prepare for this trip.

I speak spanish ok.. ive had five years of it.. our teacher is fluent in spanish.. so no problem with communication.. Anything I should avoid bringing? I am not bringing more than one book, and only my camera and film, no other electronics.. maybe a camcorder if I can borrow one from somebody...

Help would be appreciated Thanks!

:O I get to go on Isla de las Mujeres... the mother islands...

Does anyone know if I would be allowed to do things like swimming with the dolphins.. if I cant swim?? I have tried and tried to learn how to swim, but I just cant. I am excited to see the ocean also!
post #2 of 29
Hi Ya! Bigorangemenace!
Where exactly have you going to spend that lovely days in México and how long are you stay?
Can you read my location?
I´m at your orders if you want to practice in spanish!
post #3 of 29
umm, on any holiday in general dont bring any valuables that arent replaceble.. such as family jewelery ect..

why dont you just buy skirts???

i dont know if you are used to the hot weather... but... for example because i was used to the Australian 40 Degrees celcius, i am able to still wear pants and a pull over when its 35 degrees here, while everyone is outside in their bikinis and think that i have some sort of blood disorder. So unless you cant handle heat, you should bring more shorts, and have one or two pair of pants incase it gets chilly in the evening
post #4 of 29
I would say, don't buy anything from street vendors.
I know a lot of people who have become ill from the water, so be sure and drink bottled water.
Other than that. Have fun.
post #5 of 29
[quote=BigOrangeMenace]People my mom knows who have gone to mexico have given me some good advice:

1. Tan before you go
2. bring tons of suntan lotion
3. Never bring anything valuable to the beach (because of the fine sand)
4. Never give money to the beggars (I wouldnt mind doing it but I know they swarm and mob you then)
5. Never drink the tap water, only drink water from a recognizable brand of water.

[quote]

I am sure Rigel can provide better advice, but here we go: The quality of the tap water always depends on what place you are in. The Distrito Federal (Federal District) Isn't exactly a place where I would worry about the quality of tap water. As far as recognizable brands of water, that can become difficult for the simple reason that brands vary from country to country. So do not be too strict on that.

I would personally suggest limiting shorts to the beach. In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic you don't find a man or woman dead on shorts outside... and thats more or less the norm in most of Latin America... shorts are the best way to identify an American tourist
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
I absolutely DO NOT wear skirts.

No.. no skirts

No dresses...

no... just no..

To be truthfull... I have no clue where we are going O_O other than Isla de las mujeres... I know we are seing pyramids... and stuff like that.. but basically we are just going onto the plane and my spanish teacher (who is our chaperone) knows where we are going.

Also.. if there are bellboys or something like that.. how much do I tip them??

What about maids? do you tip them???

I know not to leave anything out because they consider anything not in a drawer to be trash and throw it away.. I do know some things...

What about where I keep my money?? I dont think I should just put it in my pockets,it would be too easy to get stolen... should I buy one of those waist things? like a tiny thing with a zipper that goes around my waist?

Oi.. I kind of wish I wasnt from wisconsin...

Its 80 degrees today, I am wearing pants, and I am just about to go turn on the air conditioner.... and its only 80!!!
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeHacker
I would say, don't buy anything from street vendors.
I know a lot of people who have become ill from the water, so be sure and drink bottled water.
Other than that. Have fun.
Well, buying from street vendors (which are also common in some parts of my country) can be fun... particularly souvenirs, and some surprises here and there on the things sold. However, this isn't something that would happen to me a lot with my straight-out-of-Oaxaca face so I never had the bad experience while on the D.F. but tourists can get charged more than usual...
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigOrangeMenace

To be truthfull... I have no clue where we are going O_O other than Isla de las mujeres... I know we are seing pyramids... and stuff like that.. but basically we are just going onto the plane and my spanish teacher (who is our chaperone) knows where we are going.

Also.. if there are bellboys or something like that.. how much do I tip them??

What about maids? do you tip them???

I know not to leave anything out because they consider anything not in a drawer to be trash and throw it away.. I do know some things...

What about where I keep my money?? I dont think I should just put it in my pockets,it would be too easy to get stolen... should I buy one of those waist things? like a tiny thing with a zipper that goes around my waist?
I cannot tell you about maids, but its a safe one to tip them... I am pretty sure it must be a common practice among the Americans as it takes place in the states. Although its not common in Puerto Rico... now, as to bell boys and other people, just take into consideration that the Mexican Peso is at 11 pesos the dollar and take it from there. Taxi drivers in Mexico are not normally tipped.
post #9 of 29
Absolutely, you can buy from street vendors. The outdoor markets and such are wonderful places for beautiful inexpensive silver pieces and fabrics, blankets etc...

You have to barter. Its expected that you won't pay the asking price for anything.

Some zones in Mexico are more commercial than others and the water is perfectly fine.
Some areas, like Cancun (which is the least like Mexico I find) are more American than Mexican.

I would tan in a bed to get a base tan before you go as the sun is much hotter there than in Wisconsin....You can burn much faster if you don't and you will have a horrible time because of it.

Absolutely tip! Many people in Mexico depend on their tips to survive as they don't get a large hourly rate. It depends on how many people are in your room, but I would say that each person tips at least 2 dollars a day.

If you tip the concierge and the bellboy , you will also get better service all throughout your stay.. They will be very gracious and giving of information as well.

Have a great time!
post #10 of 29
Just spent 10 days down there. Some simple things we did:

- Eat 1 tablet of Pepto Bismol each morning. It's a preventative measure in case you do eat or drink something that doesn't agree with you.

- Ask for bottled water AND purified ice (aqua purificato and aiello purificato) - please don't laugh at my spelling.

- Unless you are staying at a big resort or reputable place, use caution when eating any fruit or vegetable that has not been peeled (such as a banana). If the water supply to the area is questionable, remember that they rinse fruits and veggies in water before serving. If the water is bad, those will be bad also.

- Most resorts will NOT allow their guests to become ill from bad food or water. They would lose all their customers and go out of business. Don't be over paranoid about what you eat or drink. Use caution when you are in out of the way places.

- It is YOUR digestive system that isn't used to the stuff in Mexican food and water. It isn't that it is bad, it's that you haven't been exposed to it before.

- Don't put all your money in one place. Put some in a pocket, some in a fanny pack, etc.

- If you are staying at a resort, consider bringing an ATM card and withdrawing peso's when you need them. Most big places have ATMs (find out in advance if you can).

- If you strike a good deal with a street vendor, go for it! Most likely you are being ripped off, but they are probably poor and need to eat also.

- Tequila kills germs. A shot a day keeps the sickness away.

- Get yourself a load of shorts and lightweight clothes, preferable light colors - dark colors will only absorb the heat. I brought 1 pair of capris which I didn't wear cause it was simply too hot. You will bake in pants. If you hate skirts you might look at skorts as an alternative if you are planning on going to some nice places.

- Get waterproof sunscreen. Even if you don't swim, you will sweat and you don't want to sweat it off. I didn't tan first, and only used SPF 15 (even as a redhead) and got away with it. My other "pink" travel friend swore by SPF 45.

Have fun, relax and tell us all about it!
post #11 of 29
The average tip to leave for a maid is 10 peso's. . .restaurants the usual 15%.
About the taxi drivers, make sure you negociate to price before you get in, or you'll be at there mercy!!
Mostly everything is cheap there, so if u decide u need more shorts, it should'nt be a problem.
HAVE A GOOD TIME!!!
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hm.. well this is what I have compiled for luggage so far...

3 pairs of pants
6 shirts
a pair of sandals
3 pairs of socks and related items
one short outfit

Shampoo, washcloths, soap, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste

two disposable cameras, four boxes of film

Camcorder and video tapes if I can get one..

Carry-on:

2 pairs of pants
2 shirts
Swimsuit
1 pair of shorts
Sandals
2 pairs of socks and related items

another travel size thing of shampoo and soap
1 washcloth
hairbrush
small toothpaste
another toothbrush
portable alarm clock (battery operated)

Camera,
4 boxes of film
one book
Gum
1 Black permanent marker
$$$ Money
And I thought I would be a dork and bring a little battery powered fan thing. Yeah. O_O LIKE A TOURiST :P WOOT

I was told to pack enough stuff for two days just in case my baggage got lost, that I wouldnt be stranded w/o clean clothes O_O

The gum is because of the air pressure, to help my ears pop and get used to the pressure..


and is it true the airport scanner/x-ray thing can ruin film if film goes through it? SHould I take it out of my bag then? I dont want my camera to go through it either Or the disposables. I am going to take lots of pictures.. I can use up a roll of film in about 30 seconds


Heh tequila!!! Though the drinking age is 18.. I dont think I would be allowed to, and I dont like alcohol Thank you for the advice though everyone!


The company that the school is going with is called "interact" and I dont think they would put us in a hotel in the slums of a city. The hotels will probably be very nice ^_^
post #13 of 29
Suggest at least 2 pairs of footwear. If you are near the ocean, one will get sandy / dirty / wet and you want a backup pair.
post #14 of 29
I should have clarified myself. I meant don't buy FOOD from street vendors. By that, I mean the guys who sell the food on little carts they wheel around. I'm NOT talking about street vendor stores.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
oh yeah O_O I know not to buy food from street vendors :O We get two meals a day, one meal on our own, or we can skip it, or we can have snacks.. im sure there will be vending machines..
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeHacker
I should have clarified myself. I meant don't buy FOOD from street vendors. By that, I mean the guys who sell the food on little carts they wheel around. I'm NOT talking about street vendor stores.
This is a Golden Advice! not always the food of the street vendors are soo clean... try to search a place to eat always
good Advice Hope!
post #17 of 29
wich going to be your itinerary? do you have it now?
knowing the places I could tell you if theres a good places to eat there...
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have no clue specifically where we are going. The teacher knows... and that is ok with me. I usually only eat two meals a day anyways.

I have 104 pesos and 70 centavos right now! My mom's boyfriends' brother's girlfriend (phew) went to mexico a while ago and didnt spend all her money. That is cool because I wanted to save some of the money I had since I collect foriegn moneys and coins... :P So now I can spend to my hearts content. Yay. I will have about 1100- 2200 pesos.. depending on how much money I want to take.

I am bringing back SO many souveniers!!!

I want a sombrero, I am bringing my mom one (pink if i can find it) my mom's friend who is like a second mom to me is getting one (orange) and then I watn to find something for my both my grandmothers and my grandfather, something for my uncle.. something for my great grandmothers and great grandfather, and then little things for everyone else :P Since I am not buying extra meals, and i cant swim so snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins, ect is out... I will have alot of extra money. Wee! Good thing I am not taking much. :P I will have lots of room for souveniers. yay!
post #19 of 29
Yes you say that "Isla Mujeres" maybe you go?..that is a good place the beach is precious and the water so clear... I m so sure you bring so many lovely memories!!!
And remember, ask me whatever you want!
post #20 of 29
I've never been to Mexico but I do travel a lot. I can give you a few tips on that.

Don't pack any film in your checked luggage. The screening equipment will ruin it. Pack it in your carry-on luggage. The screening equipment for carry-on luggage will also ruin high-speed film, so check with the agent at the security station about whether it's OK. (To be safe, I usually pack any film I have in a clear ziplock bag in my carry-on luggage, then I just pull out the ziplock bag and hand it to the screener.)

Think hard about how much stuff you're carrying on with you. Remember that you're going to have to lug it all over two airports. And what doesn't start out feeling too bad can get really heavy after a while. You do want some back-up clothes just in case your luggage gets lost, but think about what you could really get by with in a pinch. I usually figure I could wear the same pants and shoes again if I had to and pack some fresh undies and socks and a top or two. If I'm going somewhere warm I throw in a pair of shorts.

Remember that they'll be really rough with your checked suitcase, so make sure to pack anything even remotely breakable in the middle of your suitcase. Also, as a precaution, put your toiletries or anything else that can leak in ziplock bags. (If you have a toiletries bag just throw the whole thing into one of those big ziplock bags.) Believe me, it really stinks to have your shampoo leak out all over your clothes, and it can happen even with the so-called "leakproof" bottles.

Most airlines will allow you two pieces of luggage, but they'll charge you extra if either one of them is over 50 lbs. So, if your stuff gets heavy, it might be better to bring two smaller suitcases than one really huge one.

You might want to pack a little foldable tote bag or something you can use carry back all the loot you plan to get, just in case. That way you won't get stuck at the last minute if you can't cram it all in your suitcase.

They have stores in Mexico, too, so don't panic too much about trying to remember every little thing. You can buy something there if you forget it.

Have a great time!! Your trip sounds like a lot of fun!
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigOrangeMenace
I have no clue specifically where we are going. The teacher knows... and that is ok with me. I usually only eat two meals a day anyways.

I have 104 pesos and 70 centavos right now! My mom's boyfriends' brother's girlfriend (phew) went to mexico a while ago and didnt spend all her money. That is cool because I wanted to save some of the money I had since I collect foriegn moneys and coins... :P So now I can spend to my hearts content. Yay. I will have about 1100- 2200 pesos.. depending on how much money I want to take.
MXN $1,200 is USD $110.

You are going to be in the State of Yucatán.... Here's a map... http://www.sre.gob.mx/mexico/general/mapamex1.htm

And have a look at the lower right hand side of the map... thats the place you will be going to. If its possible at all, I would suggest visiting Rigel in Mérida, but I know that Cancún to Mérida is a bit of a longish commute.
post #22 of 29
Hi this is my first post, but I have been lurking awhile... I couldn't resist replying to this because I have been to Mexico City, Puerta Vallerta, Guadalajara (sp?) and more recently Cancun.
Dress: As far as areas that aren't resort, like Mexico City, etc I would dress more consertively if you are a female. Don't be shocked if men clap or whistle at you. Resort areas, dress like you normally would. Definitely dress cool, but pack a sweatshirt just in case.
Pack: Bug spray! I got eaten alive last time if I didn't put it on. It's probably cheaper to buy here that at a resort.
Immodium! Liquid is better cause it works faster. Both times I got somewhat sick and the second time I was at a resort. It happened towards the end of the trip. Just make sure to follow directions.
If you are doing any water activities it would be nice to bring a waterproof camera.
If you are going to call home, buy a prepaid card that will work to dial FROM Mexico. It will be much cheaper- hotels are super expensive for calls.
-Also I would bring some American money and travelers checks and convert the money as you need it. Carry some American money with you-vendors make give you a better deal if you pay with it. I also tipped the maids etc with dollar bills. Hopefully there will be a safe at your hotel. Lock up anything you don't want to lose, jewelery, tickets,passport, travelers checks, CD player, camera when you aren't in your room.
The only major etiquette thing I can think of is if you are going to take pictures of any locals, I would ask their permission. Some may expect some cash. Also, be respectful at any place of worship that you may visit.
I was surprised last time about how many people tried to sell my husband marijuana! This happened in the Cancun area.
Finally it is expected that you bargain at street vendors and smaller stores. Shop around and learn what is usually the going rate. Warning: if you start bargaining and you say no, don't be shocked if the vendor gets pushy.
Also, when flying into Cancun- beware the people that try to talk to you into getting a free excursion etc at the airport. They will waste your time and rip you off. Just keep walking. If your teacher is with you, he will also know etiquette. Finally, don't put yourself in any situation where you are alone.. There have been some disturbing things in the news lately about tourists in resort areas.
Have fun!!!!!!!!
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the good advice!!!!

We will be exchanging money in mexico, because we will get 11 pesos instead of 9, and im sure my teacher (Senora Perez) will tell us to keep some dollar money too. :P

Yeah.. and I know to put toiletries in ziploc bags.. that is like mandatory, even if you are only going upstate to visit relatives!!

Thank you so much for the advice about the film! I knew the x-ray thing would ruin the film already, but the ziplock bag is a good Idea... I think I will bring six rolls of film.. there should be places to buy it in mexico.. but My camera isnt all that good (60 dollar camera I got for christmas 3 years ago) but if I combine it with ok film (really good film is just a waste of money because the camera isnt that good) I should get some good pictures. Oh I wish I had a battery for my camcorder! Ironically I bought it from a mexican man at a garage sale for three dollars...

My teacher, Senora Perez, isnt mexican at all :P she is like norwegian or something.. but she married a man from mexico. She speaks fluent spanish, and she and her husband own three mexican resaraunts. :P She is a very dependable lady, and fun also. I just hope the younger kids going along wont be jerks and be a pain in the bum.... No one else in my spanish five class wanted to go to mexico so there will just be younger people. I hope with three chaperones though that they will behave. Im a well behaved person (well with strangers anyways.. if I know you well I probably wont be on my best behavior)

It will be Me, Senora Perez, her 11 year old daughter, A father and son, another father and son, and three other people... so ten. :P I have to go at 12:00am tuesday june 14th to the school and be on the "bus" which is a 15 person van my teacher's husband is driving to chicago... I think we go directly there but we might have other stops. I dont know :P I have never been on a plane before and I know I will be nervous. Heck actually I think the airport will scare me more .. so many people there.. I hope I dont lose anything. yeah.. from looking at the luggage I am taking.. my clothes will fit into one half of it, leaving the other half free for souveniers.. when I go back home though I will put most of my carryon into the suitcase (clothes and stuff) I should be able to fit the three sombreros in the suitcase, and then everything else (which might be more breakable) into my carryon. I think I will just buy like 20 or so necklaces for people. :P I know I dont have to buy them all souveniers but I cant help myself. I hope to get the coolest, biggest sombrero ever.

acutally I think two people from my class (we had only 8 people) are going to Europe for the summer :P

It was only 1500 for round trip, hotel, activities, and two meals a day.. which is pretty cool. Hey you know what.. I think I just remembered that the tip for maids and bellboys is included.. it said someting like that in the booklet.. that it has already been payed for. Eh.. Maybe I'll call senora on her first day of summer vacation and annoy her My mom has the number..
post #24 of 29
i also stick notes in my bra because i feel safer with it there..
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan
i also stick notes in my bra because i feel safer with it there..
Hmm... all you are gonna get is to have every single male out there asking if they can borrow your notes.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by yoviher
MXN $1,200 is USD $110.

You are going to be in the State of Yucatán.... Here's a map... http://www.sre.gob.mx/mexico/general/mapamex1.htm

And have a look at the lower right hand side of the map... thats the place you will be going to. If its possible at all, I would suggest visiting Rigel in Mérida, but I know that Cancún to Mérida is a bit of a longish commute.
cool Vic!
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by yoviher
Hmm... all you are gonna get is to have every single male out there asking if they can borrow your notes.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tari
I've never been to Mexico but I do travel a lot. I can give you a few tips on that.
Tari! What you waiting to visit us!!!... ....
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan
i also stick notes in my bra because i feel safer with it there..
You have to be kidding, right?
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