Spring break is almost here, and for many students, this means preparing for a spring break adventure with their friends.
One ever-popular destination for college students is Mexico, and for good reason. With a variety of beachy locations to choose from, such as Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is both inexpensive and convenient for a week-long vacation. Before you set off on your spring break trip, however, make sure that you’re properly prepared for a vacation in Mexico by following the following tips.
Apply for or Renew Your Passport
When you decide on having spring break in Mexico, make sure that you have a valid passport ready in time for your trip. According to Suzanne Barbezat, writer for TripSavvy, you’ll need a passport to enter Mexico by air, and will need one to reenter the U.S. whether returning by air or on land. If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you can expect to wait between four to six weeks to receive it, so start your preparations early. If you need to renew your passport, this can take up to eight weeks; fortunately, if you don’t plan your trip that far ahead of time, you can also have your passport expedited whether you’re applying for one for the first time or renewing your old one.
Practice Your Basic Spanish
When traveling to Mexico, it will be much easier for you to get around if you know a bit of basic Spanish. If you’ve taken Spanish before, brush up on your speaking and comprehension skills so that you can communicate without a hitch. If you’re unfamiliar with Spanish, don’t worry: you can prepare easily by writing out or memorizing some helpful words, phrases, and questions. You may also want to install a translator app, such as Google Translate, in case you run into some unexpected problems communicating.
The best way to prepare for your trip and to ensure that you’ll have a safe spring break in Mexico is by doing your research ahead of time. Wherever you plan on going, research what you can expect from that city, including if there are any areas that you should avoid and the popular destinations to visit. This will help you plan out what you want to do each day, so that once you arrive in Mexico you don’t waste any of your valuable vacation time trying to figure out what to do. It will also help ensure that you’re well-prepared for any issues that may arise.
Leave Expensive Items at Home
One general safety tip that you should follow while traveling is to leave expensive items that could make you stand out, such as jewelry, at home. Keep this in mind when you’re packing; it may even make your packing process easier. Make sure that the clothes, shoes, and bags that you bring aren’t going to stand out as flashy or expensive either.
Convert Your Cash to Mexican Currency
Before you leave for spring break, it’s a good idea to convert some of your cash into Mexican pesos, so you’re prepared as soon as you arrive. That way, you’ll have more options in terms of where you choose to exchange your currency, giving you a better chance of finding the best exchange rate. Make sure you’re aware of the dollar to peso exchange rate so you know exactly how much money you need and what you’ll be able to afford once you arrive in Mexico.
Notify Your Bank that You’ll Be Abroad
In addition to exchanging some of your money for foreign currency, you should also notify your bank that you’re going to be traveling if you’re planning to use any of your credit or debit cards while you’re away. Let them know where you’re going to be and for how long to avoid having any of your cards frozen when you try to use them upon arrival. While usually having your card frozen is an easy issue to clear up by calling your bank, it’s easier to put a travel notification on your cards before you leave so that you don’t have to deal with the problem in the first place.
Familiarize Yourself with Transportation in Mexico
Before you leave, make sure that you know how you intend to get around. If you want to save some money by using public transportation instead of taxis, make sure that you’re relatively familiar with the local public transportation system especially if you’re planning to use it to get from the airport to where you’re staying once you arrive. Find out which stops are closest to where you’re going to be staying, and do some research into the costs of public transportation so you have an idea of how much money you should bring along when using it.
Plan to Stick Close to Your Friends
During your trip, make sure that you and your friends stick together while you’re out and about. You’ll feel safer, and you’ll have someone to help you out if you get into any uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations. Staying close to your friends is especially important when you’re going out at night or any time that you’re going to be drinking, as these occasions are when you’ll likely be most vulnerable.
Wherever you’re going in Mexico, there’s are several tasks that you should complete before you leave in order to ensure that you have a fun and safe spring break. Provided that you’re prepared and do your research, you and your friends can expect to have the spring break of a lifetime!