Migrant Student Services

Travel Tips

Travel Information for Mexico

Documents

You will need to have your passport as proof of citizenship. If you have a passport, check the expiration date. All travelers to Mexico are required to have passports.

Please keep a photocopy of the first two pages of your passport . This copy can be used to obtain new travel documents in the event that your passport is lost or stolen. Also keep a photocopy of any credit cards or bank cards you may have, including the customer service number on the back.

Customs and Immigration

Prior to checking in at the US airport ticket counter: make sure your bag in not over the allowed weight. Fill out a that is provided by the airlines that asks for the name of the person’s bag, address, and phone number. These tags are available at the ticket counter. Place one on each check in luggage item. You will then be ready to proceed to the ticket counter. You will need to show your passport when you check in at the ticket counter.

Once you have checked in at the ticket counter, you will have your Boarding pass and your baggage check-in tabs. You will proceed to the security gate. Prior to entering make sure you have no items that you will be boarding with that are not accepted. Some of these are: liquids over a certain amount of fluids, no water, nothing sharp such as scissors, etc. You will need to have on hand: your passport and your boarding pass.

Once through security you will proceed to your flight gate. This information is on your boarding pass. Make sure to be around your gate and check for any gate changes.

Boarding the aircraft:

Make sure that you are around at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled take-off time. If you are not, you could lose your seat and not be able to board the aircraft.

Once you begin to board, look for your assigned seat.

During the flight:

As you get closer to your destination, your flight attendant will be passing out 2 forms for you to fill out: Application for your Mexican Tourist Visa and your Mexican Customs Declaration document. You will need a pen to fill these out. You will also have to know your passport number (that is found inside your passport), your airline and flight number, how long you will be in Mexico and other items. If you do not know exactly where you will be staying in Mexico, you can print only the city where you will be. Also mark that you are traveling as a tourist.

Upon arrival at your Mexico airport:

You will proceed to the immigration area. This is where you will need to present your passport and your filled out Tourist Card application. The person will stamp your Tourist Card. You will then proceed to the checked in baggage carousel to pick up your baggage. Proceed to the Customs area with your bags. They will ask for your Customs Declaration Card. You will also be asked to press a button. If you get a green button, you will not have to open any of your bags for inspection. If you get a red light, you will have to open your bags for inspection.

Return flight to the USA

Upon leaving Mexico you will have to show your passport and Mexican Tourist Card at the airline check-in desk. Please look at procedures leaving the USA. They are the same as leaving Mexico for the USA. Note there are some restrictions on the quantity of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products you can bring in. In addition, no items that are made of any endangered animal skins or other parts of protected animals are allowed. No Cuban Cigars are allowed. If you are under 21 years of age, you are not allowed to bring in alcohol even though you were able to buy it in Mexico.

Clothing

The days will be sunny and warm, but evenings and mornings can be quite cool. Lightweight cotton and natural fibers for clothing will be ideal. Bring a couple of sweatshirts and sweaters. Laundry service is available at hotels for a reasonable price, so take advantage of it. Although the chance of rain at this time of the year is slim, bring a lightweight rain poncho and rubber flip flops. Most of the time, the attire will be very casual. Items to bring with you include:

  • Comfortable, casual clothes…slacks are fine

  • Walking shoes with rubber soles since you will be walking on some cobblestone areas and uneven ground around the cities and other places you will be traveling to.

  • Include athletic or sneaker type of shoe

  • Leave the fancy clothes at home for this trip…the lighter you can travel, the happier you will be

Luggage

All luggage even carry-on bags must be clearly labeled with easy to read labels. Thing you may want to include in your luggage include:

  • Face cloth, moist towelettes, Kleenex

  • Writing material, address book, reading material

  • Camera and film/batteries

  • Passport/currency wallet holder

Money

The monetary unit in Mexico is peso. The exchange rate is about 12.05 pesos to the dollar. There are many places to change dollars at the airports and the cost for pesos is always better in Mexico than in the United States, so there is no need to get pesos before you leave home. When you do change money, change enough to hold you for some days, so you don’t have to return to change money on a daily basis. Travelers checks may be difficult and expensive to change.

  • Credit cards most commonly used are VISA, American Express, and MasterCard. Credit cards can also be used in automatic teller machines (ATM’s) in order to withdraw funds in the local currency at the current exchange rate, but this is a more expensive way to obtain funds. Credit cards can be used in many stores and restaurants, but it is not possible to use them in markets. Before you leave the United States, copy all your credit cards and drivers license. Check with the bank where you have credit cards to get the “real” telephone number should you lose the cards…it is difficult to access 800 numbers from Mexico, and it will save a tremendous amount of time and effort if you have the correct number, with correct area code for the bank(s). Contact your credit card companies to let them know you will be using them in Mexico. If you do not, they could be blocked from being able to use. NOTE: Most credit card companies add on a 3% charge for every time you use it while outside of the USA.

  • ATM machines are almost every single place we will visit, including the airports. It is a safe way to obtain money since it directly deducts money from your checking account in the United States. The exchange rate is excellent. Not all ATM machines accept all ATM cards, but most banks will accept your own card.

Time

Campeche, Merida, Puebla and Oaxaca are on Central Standard Time.

Telephone Calls

Hotel list and phone numbers will be provided in our Website. It is possible to call the United States direct by using a telephone calling card or by calling collect.

  • Check with your long distance carrier (AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc.) before you leave home and get the 800 access number for calling from Mexico. It will be expensive

  • Inexpensive “phone card” can be bought in Mexico to call home.Among other places, you can purchase these at pharmacies in Mexico. You want to purchase the Ladatel cards you can use for the phones that are on the streets. Cards are 30 pesos, 50 pesos, and 100 pesos.

  • There are e-mail cafes all over Campeche, Puebla, Oaxaca and Merida. This is another way to stay in touch