When traveling to Mexico for a vacation, it is good to be mindful that you are in a foreign country and that some areas may not be as safe and secure as your hometown. While most of Mexico is very safe for visitors, you should always be proactive in protecting yourself and your property while traveling. Hotel employees, tour operators, taxi drivers and others involved in the tourist industry have their best interests invested in keeping you safe and secure, but there are always those who may take advantage.
When walking in public markets and shopping areas, it is always best to keep a low profile while at the same time appearing confident. Walk with a sense of purpose and avoid looking lost, even if you are, as this will be a signal to unscrupulous types that you might be an easy mark. Don’t wear eye-catching jewelry or flash a lot of cash for the same reason. A middle-class look will work best as it doesn’t stand out as much, but still elicits respect. If you appear to be intoxicated, sick, tired, or physically weak you may become targeted for foul play.
It would pay to be extra cautious at night or in locations where there aren’t many people present. If you plan on going out at night, inquire at your hotel’s front desk about any areas that would be best to avoid and make sure to take a taxi or a tour rather than walk or hitchhike. Be vigilant when you use an ATM at night and make sure you always have someone with you. Also, some bars and clubs may have criminal elements that may try to drug your drink or try to isolate you somewhere where they can relieve you of your possessions. If this unfortunate event does happen to you, just let the money go and most muggers will not act violently towards you. Always remember that your life is much more important than any money, no matter how much.
Because of the sometimes unstable political unrest in Mexico, protests or political rallies can take place, often without much warning. The best action to be taken here is to simply leave immediately or avoid an area where such activities are happening. The Mexican Constitution states that foreigners cannot participate in political activities and can be deported or detained if they do. You may not intend to participate, but if you were present the case might be hard to prove otherwise and, in any case, it is not worth the risk.
Make sure you use the in-room safe in your hotel room for any excess cash, valuables, and your travel documentation. Don’t leave anything that can’t be replaced lying around your room, as a dishonest hotel employee can easily take it. Simple, common sense decisions that you would use at home regarding your personal safety and your property are a good rule of thumb to go by while you are traveling. By being vigilant, always traveling with a buddy, and sticking to high traffic areas you can keep yourself and your property safe while vacationing in Mexico.