If a minor is traveling without both parents it is recommended to have a signed, notarized permission letter from the absent parent. If a minor is traveling without either parent the letter is required. You should also add permission for medical decisions. Please contact Kathryn’s Travel if you need a template for this letter.
The Mexican peso is the standard currency used in Mexico. In most areas US dollars are also accepted. Kathryn’s Travel recommends exchanging your US$ for MP$. The exchange rate is normally between the 10.4 to 1 and 11.7 to 1 range. For easy math vendors will give you a 10 to 1 exchange rate, so your US$ will not go as far as using pesos. Our suggestion for obtaining pesos is to use the ATM. It is the most convenient and consistently gives you the best exchange rates. You should also bring along a traveler’s check for back-up, in case the local ATM’s are out of cash. This is a rare occurrence, but it is best to be prepared. Mexico is #2 in the world for credit card fraud. Kathryn herself has gone through the annoying situation of having her identity stolen in Mexico from credit card use. If you can get by without using your credit card it is best. You will need a credit card if you are renting a car, but should not need it for anything else. It is recommended that you call your credit card company and your bank to alert them in advance of foreign travel. Give them your departure and return dates. Otherwise if you have a company with tight security, they may freeze your accounts for expected fraud when you try to use them in Mexico. If they are aware of your travel dates they are more likely to catch any fraud that occurs after you return very quickly.
PACKING (beach areas)
Unless you are staying at a resort with dress codes, most tourist areas are very casual. Rule of thumb; pack, and take out half, then re-pack. Make sure to have two pairs of comfortable walking shoes, one of them sandals. Swimsuits with a pareo or t-shirt, and sandals are fine for daytime. You’ll want at least two swimsuits to alternate days. For evenings you’ll want shorts and shirts, or sundresses, and a light jacket or sweater for the occasional chilly evening. Check for the dress codes if you are staying in a large resort. Pants, collared shirts, and close-toed shoes may be required for men, and dresses or pantsuits for woman. If your accommodations don’t provide beach towels, consider taking a sheet instead – lighter weight and it dries quicker. Sunscreen is a must. You’ll want to pack it because it is much more expensive in Mexico. Don't forget to put sunscreen on your ears and the tops of your feet - any exposed skin needs protection. If you plan to get your hair braided, bring sunscreen spray for your head - those new parts will burn easy. A hat is helpful to protect your head and face, and don't forget sunglasses. If you have specific brands of toiletries that you can’t live without, pack them. A few items that are nice to have (more expensive to purchase in Mexico) are band-aids, anti-diarrhea medicine, and motion sickness pills (good to have for boat excursions too – not just the flight). Make sure if you have prescription medication that it is in a labeled container with your name matching the prescription label. Remember the 3-1-1 rule for flights; 3 ounces of any liquid or gel, in a one-quart zip-lock bag, one per person. And most importantly, don’t forget your passport, travel insurance certificate, e-tickets, and any vouchers for hotels, tours, or transportation.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Can I drink the water? Eat fresh fruits or vegetables? These are the most common questions when traveling abroad. You should stick to bottled water, although using tap water to brush your teeth, or inadvertently getting a little water in your mouth while showering should not cause concern. And when it comes to water - in the hot climates be sure to drink lots! Often health issues attributed to food or water changes are caused by dehydration more than anything else. Restaurants use purified water for ice, and most wash fruits and veggies in it, or use Microdyn. If you have a kitchen and do some of your own cooking, be sure to purchase some Microdyn to wash your fruits and vegetables. Peeling them before eating is another precaution that can help. Don't expect to find food exactly as it is at home - even familiar brand name restaurants will be a little different. In fact, rather than be disappointed that it isn't exactly like home - avoid the chains you know. Be adventurous - take this opportunity to try something new. Maybe ceviche, food prepared with mole sauce, motelenos, or Yuctan-style dishes. One of the best parts of Mexico is the food.