You’ve got your swimsuit, your sunscreen, and a bag full of pesos. You’re ready for some fun in the sun! But what if you’ve never been to Mexico before and don’t know where all those tourist traps are hiding? I’ve been travelling in Mexico for years—and I have fallen for plenty of them! So here’s my advice on avoiding getting ripped off as a tourist while travelling through this beautiful country.
This is a tourist hotspot for a reason

Mexico is a popular tourist destination for a reason. The country has beautiful beaches, fascinating history, and great food. It’s also easy to get around and has lots of tourism infrastructure—good hotels and restaurants, ample public transportation options (including trains), English-speaking locals, etc. In other words: the basics are covered!

Still, there are some things you should know before travelling to Mexico. While it is a safe place to visit, there are certain precautions you should take. Here’s what you should know about travelling to Mexico in 2023:

-Mexico is a developing country, and as such, it can be pretty different than the U.S. You should be prepared for this fact when travelling there. Don’t expect the same standards of service or infrastructure that you would find at home! -Mexican cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Puebla are vast and sprawling—much more significant than many American cities. This means they may take longer to navigate on foot or by public transportation than you’re used to. Plan accordingly!

Say no to upgrade offers.

You’ll be offered an upgrade to a more excellent room.

  • It’s not worth the extra cost. Most hotels will try to sell you an upgrade for more money than the original room. Still, it is not worth it because most rooms are lovely with private bathrooms and air conditioning—and if they don’t have those things, you might be better off in a hostel or Airbnb anyway! You can always ask for an extra blanket or towel if you want them; there is no need for this expense unless you are travelling on business or have some other reason that requires an upgrade (like allergies).
Keep pesos on hand.

When travelling in Mexico, it’s common to encounter situations where exchange rates—and the cost of goods—can vary dramatically. In these cases, having a stash of pesos on hand is good. The easiest way to do this is by keeping some loose change in your pocket or purse. You’ll likely need small bills for taxis and tips at restaurants, so keep that cash handy!

If you find yourself in a situation where you need larger bills, there are several options. You can ask your hotel or hostel staff for assistance or try to exchange some of your currency for pesos at an ATM (though this may result in an unfavourable exchange rate). If neither option works for you, try approaching someone on the street who looks like they might be able to help.

Ask to pay by international card.

You can avoid getting ripped off by paying for things in cash, but if you’re travelling internationally, that might not be an option. Your best bet is to use a credit or debit card. This will keep you from carrying lots of cash around while making purchases, which means less risk that the money will get stolen or lost (and it’s easier on your wallet).

This isn’t always possible, though: some businesses don’t accept international cards, and others charge high fees for using them. If this is the case, ask if there are any ATMs in the area where you’re staying—or even if there are ATMs close to tourist attractions that might be more likely to accept non-local cards.

It’s also worth noting that some banks may charge extra fees for using ATMs within another country, so before heading out into Mexico City streets armed only with a credit card (and hoping everything goes smoothly), find out what those charges might be beforehand!

Don’t believe the hype about street food.
  • Street food is not always safe.
  • Street food is not always fresh.
  • Street food is often overpriced.
  • Street food is often not the best choice for tourists, who are usually concerned with staying healthy and safe while travelling in Mexico.
  • Safety should be paramount when venturing into unfamiliar territory, as street vendors may have a less-than-ideal hygienic system when preparing your meal or snack—and you don’t know that until you eat it! Furthermore, if you’re not comfortable with the quality of the ingredients used in your street-side tacos, then it might be time to reconsider going out at all… unless you want to visit a hospital instead!
Watch out for cab scams

Cab drivers are notorious for overcharging tourists. They’ll often claim not to have change for large bills or that they don’t have a meter and will charge you an exorbitant rate. Some will say they can’t speak English or are unable to take credit cards. If your cab driver starts playing these games with you, get out of the cab immediately and find another one!

It can be overwhelming if you’re a first-time visitor to India. It can also be very frustrating when things don’t go according to plan. But as with any country, the more you know about it beforehand, the more prepared you will be for what lies ahead!

Skip the taxi lines at the airport.

If you’re travelling through an airport in Mexico, there will likely be a taxi line. Sometimes, these lines can be long and confusing—full of drivers willing to do anything for your business. To avoid getting ripped off, skip the line and head straight for one of the official taxis outside the airport.

When you hail a cab from here, get into the car first, then tell your driver where they should go (and whether they should use their meter). It would be best to ask how much it will cost before entering the vehicle so there are no surprises later. If anything seems suspicious or too good to be true during this process—for example, if someone tries charging more than usual—refuse to pay until receiving a receipt for what was set at that time!

Having permits is incredibly important when trying not to get ripped off because they prove exactly what one owes another party for something done, which may have been paid through means other than cash, such as credit cards, etc…

Forgo the hotel’s safe and stash your valuables in your underwear drawer.
  • Never leave valuables unattended. That includes your room, the car, and anywhere else you go. If you must leave something behind (like a laptop), place it in the hotel’s safe or carry it with you at all times.
  • Stash your money in an underwear drawer or wherever else that seems like a safer place than the hotel secure—just don’t put all of your cash in one place because if there is an attempted robbery or break-in, thieves may target items stored together as an attempt to find more significant amounts of money.
  • Be wary when using ATMs; some might be rigged with skimmers that steal information from cards used to access them (and even those without skimmers can still be hacked). In those cases, try withdrawing cash at banks instead—but remember that they’re only as secure as their physical location: use common sense and don’t flash around large amounts of money while using them!
There are several ways to get ripped off in Mexico as a tourist and some easy ways to avoid it.

Ripping you off is part of Mexican culture.

There are several ways to get ripped off in Mexico as a tourist and some easy ways to avoid it. (This is not just about preventing scams—it’s also about being aware of how things work in Mexico.) For example:

  • Don’t drink tap water or eat ice cubes unless you know they’re purified;
  • Be careful with your belongings; and
  • There are no free lunches in Mexico, except maybe at Mcdonald’s!

For most travellers, Mexico is a cheap, safe, and fun place to explore. If you follow these tips, we promise you’ll have a great time without getting ripped off by your hotel or taxi driver.


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