Insurance Coverage in Mexico
- Bear in mind that Mexico does not recognize American or Canadian insurance. An automobile accident is a felony if significant damage is done to property or if someone is injured. This situation can result in incarceration for you and impoundment of your vehicle.
- Sit down with your insurance agent and review your policy carefully for coverage. Have you agent research the best policy – recognized in Mexico – for you to buy. Get a policy that has Legal Aid coverage. This could be crucial if a situation goes bad.
Plan Before You Pack
- Don’t take valuables or watches and jewelry that look real. Realistic fakes attract robbers.
- Do not take a computer to Mexico City if it has your personal information on it.
- Scan both sides of your bankcards, passports and travel documents and e-mail them to yourself (you can access your e-mail from any computer).
- Learn or write down phrase in Spanish you may need. These could include “I need help”, “where is hotel ---“ etc.
Things to do Before You Leave
- Give someone who is always accessible at home your itinerary and update it daily if need be. Also arrange for this person to take collect phone calls if necessary.
- Buy a money belt that fits underneath your clothing. A fanny pack or purse simply designates you as a target. Carry credit cards, traveler’s checks and cash in the money belt.
- Plan your arrival during daylight hours so you can deal with getting transportation, finding the hotel and getting settled in before darkness.
Driving in Mexico City
- Drive at or slightly below posted speed limits and do not drive at night when there is a greater possibility of a car crash.
- Make certain your vehicle is fully checked out and every needed repair is made, including like-new tires. Do not put yourself in the bad situation of having to get repairs made in Mexico. Certainly do not put yourself into the legal position of defending yourself should you get into an accident that is traced back to your worn-out brakes or balding tires.
- Take only marked – painted yellow with a white light on the roof – airport taxis to the hotel from the airport.
- While in Mexico City do not travel in any taxi other than Turismo taxis. These taxis are generally safe and are unmarked making them less of a target for robbers or kidnapers.
- Do not ever hail a taxi on the street or call one to meet you somewhere. If absolutely necessary, call Sitio taxis where the drivers speak English and are generally safe.
- The Metro subway system offers transportation all over the city. The stations and trains are clean with highly visible directions in English posted everywhere.
- Buses are a time consuming method of travel, but inexpensive. You should take buses that are clearly marked with Pink Placards. This indicates a “Women Only” bus and was instituted due to male passengers openly groping women passengers.
When on the Streets
- Do not dress expensively or flamboyantly. Do not call attention to yourself as a tourist by walking around with cameras or an unfolded map.
- Access ATM in hotels, banks, malls or stores; not on the street.
- Use the hotel safe for the greater portion of your valuables. Do not store valuables in your room.
- Find out from the concierge if there are places to avoid or current issues you need to look out for. Never glance over to or acknowledge catcalls or else it will continue and escalate.
- Never allow males to attempt to accompany you. These are generally men who are looking for free drinks, meals or an opportunity to steal from you.
While these precautions may make you wonder why you would ever entertain the thought of going to Mexico City, bear in mind they apply to any large city in the world. However, you are at a distinct disadvantage in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or understand the customs or laws.