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10 Things Californians Should Know Before Their Mexico Vacay 

What if the trip of a lifetime was ruined before you even left the driveway? 

Many in California dream of taking a trip to Mexico, and these trips are a great way to show your family a good time they will never forget. However, if you don’t have the right travel insurance for Mexico, you might find yourself in some serious trouble in a foreign country. 

In addition to providing the kind of rental car insurance you’ll need while in Mexico, we also have important travel tips every California resident needs to know before heading south of the border. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know! 

1. Understanding Restroom Doors 

Knowing how to ask where the bathroom is important in a foreign country. Plus, you need to know which door to go through once you get there! 

In Mexico, doors marked with an “M” are for women, as it’s short for the word “mujeres.” Or you might see a “D” for “damas,” which means “ladies.” Gentlemen need to look for doors marked with an “H” or a “C,” which respectively stand for “hombres” and “caballeros.” 

2. Other Bathroom Rules 

The other vital bathroom rule you need to know is that you aren’t supposed to flush toilet paper. That’s because paper can easily clog Mexico’s narrow pipes. 

We know it can be a culture shift for anyone visiting from California, but make sure to put any toilet paper you use into the bathroom’s trash bin instead of flushing it down. 

3. Hang on to Your FMM If You Get One 

One of the more annoying things about visiting Mexico is that you can’t always predict the headaches you’ll encounter. For example, the country started phasing out the Multiple Immigration Form in 2022, but visitors to the country still occasionally get this form from Mexican immigration officials. 

If you do get the FMM, make sure to hold onto it. You’ll need that to leave the country, and if you don’t have it, you may have to pay a fine. 

4. Even Knowing a Little of the Local Language Is Helpful 

The idea of learning an entirely new language can be intimidating for many people. However, you don’t have to suddenly become fluent in Spanish before visiting Mexico. Simply learning a few common words and phrases can help you get much more out of your trip and will help you understand more of the language so commonly used throughout California. 

We recommend using apps such as Duolingo to work on your language skills. It’s easy to practice anywhere, which can be really handy if you’re in the passenger seat during the drive down. 

desolate road with storm clouds and sign welcome to mexico

5. Be Ready to Present Your Travel Paperwork 

You might have heard stories from your friends in California about Mexico automatically giving them up to six months to stay in the country. These days, though, you are most likely going to have to tell immigration exactly how long you’ll be staying in the country. 

In some cases, this means you’ll need to provide proof of when you’ll be leaving the country. As long as you have your travel paperwork on you (such as details of a hotel stay), you should be fine. 

6. Local SIM Cards Are a Life-Saver 

You might be surprised at how unhelpful your California smartphone is if you’ve never been to Mexico before. For this reason, consider getting a local SIM card and temporarily putting that in your phone. 

Why a local SIM card? It will help you make reservations, ask locals for help, and even help you post your killer vacation pics and videos to Instagram and TikTok. Ultimately, this will be a major time-saver on your trip and can even help you protect your identity

7. Bring a Water Filter 

Water should be a primary concern for anyone traveling from California to Mexico. Unfortunately, local tap water in the country isn’t safe to drink. And since it is hot in most (but not all) areas of the country, you’re going to find yourself constantly needing to stay hydrated. 

Local vendors know this, and they often sell water at a significant markup to exploit tourists. You can save yourself time and money by bringing your own water filter that will allow you to safely drink the local water. 

8. Follow Basic Safety Tips 

It’s a pretty good guess that you’ve had some friends and family members express concerns about your upcoming trip to Mexico. And those concerns usually boil down to the fact that they think it won’t be safe for you when you visit, but the truth is that most of the tourist-centric areas of the country are very safe. 

Use the official travel advisory to get an idea of which areas you should avoid altogether. Otherwise, staying safe is mostly a matter of common sense: Don’t flash money or valuables around, don’t carry too much cash on your person, and be wary of walking down any dark alleys or using ATMs at night. 

9. Use Local Currency 

For those heading south of the border from California, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that most places will accept your United States dollars. The bad news is that you are far better off converting those dollars to local currency ASAP. 

It’s generally true that paying with American dollars rather than, say, local pesos means you are paying more than you have to since the exchange rate fluctuates. It’s basically like throwing your money away for no reason, so we recommend using local currency when possible. 

10. Protect Yourself With Travel Insurance for Mexico 

As safe as it is to visit, we still recommend you get travel insurance for Mexico ahead of your trip. Think of this as a special form of Mexico car insurance, and it’s the kind of protection you’re going to want as you travel. 

Right now, you may be asking: Wait, does my car insurance cover me when I travel? Sadly, the answer is “no.” As soon as you leave your home country, your coverage stops working (which is doubly annoying due to the cost of your premium). Because of this, most travelers try to get a rental car once they arrive, but you’ll still need rental car insurance in Mexico. 

This special type of insurance provides extended liability protection to help pay for any damage you accidentally cause. But it also helps protect you against potentially high legal costs if you end up going against local authority. This insurance also provides collision coverage and protects against theft, so if you do end up bringing your own ride, you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged or stolen

Get the Best Mexico Travel Insurance Today! 

Now you know the most important things about traveling from California to Mexico, including the need for special travel insurance for Mexico. But do you know where you can find the coverage you need at a price that won’t kill your souvenir budget? 

Here at Cost-U-Less, we specialize in protecting your trip south of the border and ensuring it is nothing short of magical. Call us at (800) 390-4071 or get a fast and free insurance quote online. You can also find a nearby office and come visit us in person! 

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