Anyone thinking of heading to Mexico – for business or pleasure – needs to be very aware that no part of the country, whether a trafficking route or no, is immune to the effects of organized crime. A few statistics to note from Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm providing strategic analysis and forecasting:
Note: Spring Break season is soon upon us and many students spend their break in Mexico. If you know a teen headed to one of the popular tourist spots, please share these tips with them before they go and see 7 Steps to Keep a Teen Safe Abroad.
The following are the top recommended tips for staying safe south of the border if you do choose to travel there this year:
Some of these are common sense tips that we would give to any traveler, but a few of them bear reminding given the current levels of violence and risk in Mexico.
The following are a few additional travel safety tips to keep in mind.
Your passport is the definitive identification and while some people do cross the border at certain spots and do not have to show a passport, it will be required at some border crossings and certainly at customs in the airport.
Since March 1, 2010, all US citizens – including minors – have been required to present a valid passport or passport card for travel into Mexico.
This restriction does not apply to U.S. citizens staying for less than 72 hours within the 20-30 kilometer “border zone”.
Another important point: even if your passport is valid now, Mexico requires your passport to be valid for a full six months. In addition, customs agents want a blank passport page for the entry stamp. No visa is required to enter Mexico for stays less than 180 days.
See our 7 Passport Travel Safety Tips for more details and information.
The US State Department often issues travel warnings for Mexico. Some travel insurance providers often limit their liability by excluding coverage for losses that occur in countries with active travel warnings and/or alerts. In many cases, travel delay coverage is in effect even if a travel warning is issued, but other coverage including medical, rental car, cancellation, and others are invalid if you are traveling in a country where a travel alert or warning has been issued (often within the last six months).
If you already purchased a travel insurance plan, contact your travel insurance provider’s 24/7 assistance services number with your plan details and ask if your coverage is still in effect for your trip.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.