It’s Summer 2021 and you have not left the country since 2018, 2019, perhaps any time before 2020! Thinking about traveling with peace of mind?
Well, this past July, a good friend of mine decided to celebrate her 30th birthday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We had a blast!!
Read further to learn some tips based off my last trip!
Book an AirBNB instead of a resort. We loved having the privacy of the AirBNB, access to the strip in a ten minute walk and the beach in a 15-20 min walk or quick taxi ride. All without worrying about shared facilities and our AirBNB manager ensured we had our COVID-19 antigen test (at least 3 days) before our flights. We all tested NEGATIVE and this I partially credit wearing our masks everywhere we went and to not being on a resort! Also, don’t forget to tip your cleaning crew, they often prefer U.S. dollars, but use pesos if you have converted all your money already!
Book at least 3 months in advance and purchase a direct flight if possible! Also, remember to fill out paperwork in advance it will save you time when going to Mexico and returning to your home country. There were a lot of delayed flights coming into Cancun during July 2021 and if you have a connecting flight, you lose time of your travel and getting back to your home!
(The following part of this tip is given based on a round trip flight from the U.S. to Mexico as of July 2021.)
To travel to Mexico, you’ll need:
- An Immigration form for each passenger (filled out online and printed)
- One Customs form per family (printed and filled out)
To return to the United States of America, you’ll need:
- Mandatory health declaration form before exiting Mexico
- Proof of negative COVID-19 test results
- Mandatory travel declaration form (The airline I flew with allowed us to submit all of this informational digitally through an app. therefore, it is important you carefully follow your airlines directions as they should email you all steps!)
Book a taxi company to your AirBNB or hotel before arriving and ensure all party members of your van or car meet at the same terminal for pick up! If you get a taxi from the airport, they will rip you off. I have been to Playa del Carmen, pre-pandemic and booking the van/car ahead of time saved us a ton of money then and this trip as well. Although, if you and your group members are flying different airlines, make sure that you know which terminal the van/car is arriving. You may have to take a shuttle to the terminal and have your friends escort you to the side where the van/car pick up is as the shuttle may leave you on a different side.
Excursions must be booked in advance to ensure you go on the excursions you want! Also, pack a small first aid kid that includes an icepack that activates when crushed. Excursions book fast, especially if you want to lay out on a Catamaran and travel out to Isla Mujeres o Cozumel. When you book online and/or in advance you will likely pay LESS than paying in person. Also beware of scammers! Remember to get a receipt for everything and verify the source of the company you are booking. If you plan to go hiking, caving, snorkeling or ATV riding, I highly suggest you have some band-aids, Neosporin and an ice pack at the least! Many times, these excursion companies have nothing to offer if you fall or bump your head!
Pay in Mexican Pesos rather than the U.S. American Dollar y ¡habla español si sabes el idioma o quieres practicar! If you cannot find a good exchange rate in the states, consider changing your money in Playa del Carmen, not Cancun! If you only have your debit/credit card, I suggest ensuring you are using one that has NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES! You can have the vendors ring you up in Mexican Pesos rather than U.S. dollars. Vendors will ALWAYS up-charge you if you pay in U.S. dollars! Usa el español, no importa si tienes que practicar, si ellos responden en inglés–explicale que estás practicando tu español. 😀
Last but not least, ENJOY your time in a new space. Take time to learn a bit of the language and culture and relax it’s your vacation!