While Mexico has gotten a bad rap as a travel
destination due to various drug-related crimes and the presence of cartels, the
country is still safe for travelers.
The main issue is that when
something does happen in Mexico, it is all over the news. This can give the
impression that crime is worse than it is and that regular travelers visiting
resort areas are taking huge risks by going there.
Mexico’s deep cultural roots and unique culinary
scene make it an incredible place to visit if you love learning about history
or are a big foodie.
The country is also home to many hotels and resorts
ranging from entry-level to luxury, and many of the world’s top all-inclusive brands are
represented there. This makes Mexico a popular option with honeymooners, groups
of friends and families who travel regardless of how much they want to spend.
But your Mexican vacation will be more enjoyable
if you know how to stay safe and avoid common travel pitfalls. Here are some
tips to keep in mind if you’re traveling to Mexico in 2024 and want to have the
safest, most enjoyable vacation possible.
Stay Near Resort Areas
The U.S. Department of State definitely shares
some worrying warnings about travel in the country. “Violent crime – such
as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in
Mexico,” the agency writes.
While Mexico has its share of drug-related
crime, the majority of crimes in the country take place near the border with
the United States and outside of the resort areas that travelers to Mexico are
most likely to visit.
If you stay in a resort town like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta or Cabo, staying in and around
tourist areas is probably your best bet. If you’re staying at an all-inclusive
resort that offers on-site dining and entertainment, you may not even leave the
property — other than a ride to and from the airport.
Book Transfers Ahead
Speaking of rides to and from the airport,
booking ground transportation ahead of time can also increase safety and peace
of mind. Anyone who has flown into Mexico knows that the country’s airports can be chaotic and that
you may be approached by all kinds of drivers who want to give you a ride
without having the chance to vet them ahead of time.
You can avoid added stress and potential safety
issues by booking airport pickup and dropoff with a reputable company online
before you leave on your trip.
Use Caution When Renting a Car
Many problems can occur when you rent a car in Mexico, which may include (but
are not limited to) bribery schemes and carjacking. For these reasons and
U.S. Department of State recommends using toll roads when possible and avoiding
driving alone or at night.
many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited
outside the state capital or major cities,” they write.
Book Group Tours When You Can
There are so many group tours you can book that
include pickup and dropoff at your hotel, which means you probably don’t need
your own car anyway.
Drink Tap Water with Caution
Drinking tap water in Mexico can pose major problems
for people not used to it, although this is more true in some areas of the
country than in others.
If you have a sensitive stomach or don’t want to
risk spending your vacation feeling ill, you should drink bottled water only
and use it to brush your teeth.
Use a VPN
Internet safety is a huge consideration
worldwide, and Mexico is no exception.
To avoid having your personal information stolen
off your computer when you’re on public internet access, take the time to
choose and install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) you can use ahead of time.
Avoid Displays of Wealth
Galivanting around Mexican vacation towns with fancy jewelry or
watches isn’t just a bad idea — it can be dangerous. If you need to bring
flashy, expensive items when you travel, do yourself a favor and leave them in
the safe at your hotel or vacation condo.
Petty theft can happen anywhere in the world,
including in Mexico, so there’s no reason to make yourself a target when you
don’t have to.
Buy Travel Insurance
Finally, buy a comprehensive travel insurance plan for your trip to Mexico,
just like you would if traveling anywhere else. The best travel insurance plans
offer coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, delayed bags, lost or
stolen luggage and other travel mishaps.
Also, make sure you have travel insurance that
includes generous benefits for emergency medical care since this coverage can
come in handy if you become sick or injured and need to visit a hospital during
Traveling to Mexico can be extremely
rewarding, and that can be true whether you’re trying to learn about unique
cultures or customs or you just want to relax the day away on a beautiful white
sand beach. The same safety rules apply either way as well, and following them
will ensure you have the best shot at a trip that’s both enjoyable and
Our advice? Pick a Mexican vacation destination
you’re interested in, nail down a resort or hotel you think you’ll love and
trust your gut from there. Most travel issues and problems in Mexico can be
avoided with a dose of common sense.
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