The last post was about the daily need to knows about traveling in Mexico. Today’s post includes tips for when you are out and about. Once again, these aren’t just applicable to Mexico, they can also be used in other international travel destinations.
- Local Cuisine – Eating the local fare is, in my opinion, one of the best things about traveling. However, your sweet holiday can turn sour quickly if you are not careful. When eating any fruit and vegetables, make sure that it has been either cleaned properly (most likely though a solution of bleach and water), or has a peel (bananas, oranges, etc). Usually nice hotel restaurants and American chain places are held to a higher standard of cleanliness. But if you are daring, and would like to eat at a street vendor’s cart, choose the ones that look the busiest. The food there will likely be more fresh, and won’t have sat out spoiling all day.
- Staying Dry – This is simple one. If it starts raining, take cover! Mexican rainstorms are intense, quickly lead to flooding, and can leave you stranded. Just use your common sense and try to avoid getting caught in the downpour.
- Transportation – When needing to get from point A to point B, there are many options available. There are usually taxi cars driving around that you can hail by simply waving a hand. These are usually the most expensive of your basic options. There is also the option to using the bus system. In Maya Riviera the main bus company is called ADO. They have decent prices, and are quite comfortable to travel in. These typically go to the touristy and high traffic areas and can have a variety of locals and tourists on them. In addition to those usual options, and our preferred method of transportation, are group taxi vans called collectivos. These can also be hailed from the side walk, and will take you to most locations within a certain distance. You will most likely be sharing them with others, so be prepared to squish! Always check for the price of the ride before you get in, and it helps to know what the locals are charged so you have a reference point. If it seems like too much to pay to get to a certain destination, it most likely is.
- Haggling – Debating over the price of an item before purchasing it is part of the tourist culture and a fun part of traveling. Before you even start haggling over an item you wish to purchase, know the price you would be willing to pay. Often, the first price given to tourists will be over the actual price. Try counter-offering with an amount half the price of the amount you were given. If the sales person does not lower their price, be willing to walk away. The simple action of leaving may help persuade the sales person, or they may not be willing to sell at that price. When Kyle and I haggle, we have a secret sign that lets the other person know that we really want the item but will try walking away to see if we can get a lower price. We’ve gotten some really good bargains that way. All that being said, be aware that this may be the livelihood of the person, so be considerate. Don’t rob them of being able to care for their needs just because you want to save a few dollars.
- Language – above all, always make sure that you do your best to communicate in the language of the country you are visiting. Thankfully, Kyle is fluent in Spanish, which makes it easier for us to travel. However, before I travel, I try to learn the following words in the national language of where I am going: please, thank you, excuse me, hello, goodbye, please, bathroom. It also helps to know phrases to ask for directions, ordering food, and asking simple questions. You may not have the pronunciation correct, but you are trying and that is much appreciated.