Has the idea of flying into México alone ever scare you? Knowing you are arriving into México alone can be very intimidating. Below are a few tips you must know before arriving at a Mexican airport and for your convenience I even added an extra four tips all for FREE! You’re welcome 🙂 Initially I said I would write this article for a friend that has never traveled alone before. I texted her most of these ideas and then I told myself this article would be great for someone who hardly ever travels. I am a big supporter of solo travel. It teaches you so many things about yourself you didn’t know you were capable of doing. I have traveled to more than 25 countries and have arrived alone to so many of them. The tips below are a combination of information I wish I knew at the time. Be smart and be cautious. Do not show fear and look like a deer in headlights, at least try not to. Trust me, if you follow these 14 tips you’ll be just fine. When you read this article and if you feel as if I missed anything please comment below for any additional tips.
1) Always have an address of where you are staying in México. I went to visit family and since it is basically a ranch, I didn’t have an address. I just have always known how to get there and that was not enough for customs. I had to come up with an address right there on the spot. I did not have anyone’s number and I was not allowed to use my cell phone down there so what did they want me to do!? Once I got to my grandparent’s my aunt told me the exact address and I did not even have to write it down. I have it clear in my mind right now as I am writing this. Lesson: Have friends and relatives addresses and phone numbers available.
2) Memorize your passport number. I feel like I write that darn number at least three times before I get to customs. Trust me. It helps.
3) You have to fill out a form called FMM Entry Registration form. DO NOT LOSE IT. Customs will keep the top portion and return the bottom to you. You need it in order to leave México. I have a passport case with card slots and I always put mine there.
4) ATM machines have better exchange rates. Most ATMs found anywhere are English and Spanish, but the money amount will always be shown in Mexican pesos. Use ATMs located inside banks if possible. A great article about this point is right here.
5) Learn the language. Learn a few Spanish key phrases. Government and airport employees really appreciate that, especially when they hear you try.
6) Have your transportation set up in advance. If you don’t bother to learn the basic language then you’re going to have a hard time finding transportation without getting gypped. Touristic places are filled with transportation options but so is the internet. Search box is your best friend prior to traveling. Non-touristic places are not as populous and that is where the language knowledge comes in. Some airports include a ticket counter for cabs and have standard prices already set up for the region and its distance. English is spoken widely in Mexican airports so maybe you’ll be in luck. Have a budget for gratuities as well.
7) Pretty girls often get stopped for extra screening at customs. NOT to sound stuck up or anything but this does happen.
8) Have your return itinerary ready. Airline employees can list themselves at anytime and sometimes do not bother to list on the return flight. Make sure you have it ready just in case even if you have to modify it down line. All the stamps in your passport will raise flags but not having a return itinerary will raise a few more.
9) Check with you carrier for free data when traveling. I have Sprint and they have this awesome service called Sprint Global Roaming. I’ll be traveling to Jordan soon and unfortunately this service does not extend to that country but it extends to so many more. This service includes free text, free data up to 2g speeds and calls for $.20 a minute. If you learn in advance that you won’t have an International plan, have your phone on airplane mode the whole time. This will prevent any unwanted roaming charges. WiFi will be your bff.
10) Always have a pen available. You will need it to fill out all your entry and exit forms. If you feel like splurging, get a touch screen stylus pen (my personal favorite).
11) Meeting someone coming in from another airline? Make sure to know that person’s airline, flight number and estimated time of arrival a.k.a. ETA. I have the perfect app for that. Flight Aware. There are also boards displaying all arrival information. A lot of airports have different terminals for different airlines. Find out if you will be arriving in the same terminal, if not who will go to who? Google the airport you are landing at and see the names of the coffee shops and restaurants. Decide where you will meet each other. Decide what to do in case there are any delays. Decide what to do if a flight cancels and one of you doesn’t get there at all. How long are you going to wait for each other? Know your address so you can just meet at hotel or hostel.
12) Remember to bring the right power plug adapter with you. This link <—- is great to show you what kind you need. Remember to bring a portable cell phone power bank with you too.
13) Have a budget for airport WiFi. Most airports give you free WiFi for up to 30 free minutes. Infinitum is the most widely used service in Mexican airports. There are also coffee shops and restaurants that will give you a username and password while you consume in their locations.
note: image is from General Mariano Escobedo International Airport