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Old 12-02-2014, 01:53 PM
 
34 posts, read 96,955 times
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Hi! My boyfriend and I are traveling to Mexico next week for the first time and we need some advice. We will be in Cancun for 3 nights and Playa Del Carmen for 5 nights.

Questions are:
Where do we get pesos? Do we NEED pesos? Is it better to exchange HERE prior, there at the airport, at an ATM in Mexico or a bank in Mexico??

Is it safe to drink the water in restaurants?

Can we use our credit/debit cards in Mexico?

Do we need to call our debit/credit card companies and tell them we are traveling to Mexico?

Any additional advice is GREATLY appreciated! This is my first time traveling out of the country!! EXCITING!!
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:37 PM
 
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You might want to try the Travel forum. The only one I can comment on is DEFINITELY let your debit/credit card companies know that you're traveling. You don't want to be stuck in Mexico with cards that don't work.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,070 posts, read 19,008,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachbabe09 View Post
Hi! My boyfriend and I are traveling to Mexico next week for the first time and we need some advice. We will be in Cancun for 3 nights and Playa Del Carmen for 5 nights.

Questions are:
Where do we get pesos? Do we NEED pesos? Is it better to exchange HERE prior, there at the airport, at an ATM in Mexico or a bank in Mexico??

Yes, you should get some pesos. Use your Debit card and the ATM's. There is one at the airport and everywhere else.

Is it safe to drink the water in restaurants?

Restaurants at resorts and tourist restaurants, yes. But it's probably a good idea to get bottled water anywhere else.

Can we use our credit/debit cards in Mexico?

Yes. Both. Visa and MC are widely accepted. AMEX less widely accepted.

Do we need to call our debit/credit card companies and tell them we are traveling to Mexico?

Yes. DEFINATELY.

Any additional advice is GREATLY appreciated! This is my first time traveling out of the country!! EXCITING!!
Make photocopies of your passports and keep them separate from the originals.
Don't bring any expensive looking jewelry, even if it's fake.

Wear lots of sunscreen.
Don't rent a car.
Enjoy yourselves!
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Toronto
347 posts, read 882,194 times
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Good advice from JKGourmet. I would just add that unless you have a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees (most do charge) you will do better to pay cash for most of your purchases to avoid that fee. When you withdraw pesos with your ATM, there's just a nominal one-time fee (usually about $3) and the exchange rate is generally good.

Prices will be quoted in pesos with a $ in front, but it's not dollars.
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,070 posts, read 19,008,543 times
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Good point on the foreign transaction fee on the credit card. But I'd rather pay the small fee than carry lots of cash. The ATM fees add up, so we try to use them as infrequently as possible.

For future reference, Capital One checking account and Capital One credit cards waive foreign exchange fees. They do not charge any annual fees, and the credit card gives back 1.5% in points which can be used for cash.
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,482 posts, read 4,172,686 times
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It's too late for the OP now, but I've seen many recommendations for Charles Schwab, which also has no ATM fees on any ATM.

Call your bank and CC company and ask about Foreign Transaction Fees and use whichever one has the lowest.
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:50 PM
 
2,361 posts, read 2,660,826 times
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only drink bottled water and that goes for teeth brushing. No street food, no salads (they wash it in tap water) no ice.

As soon as you get there visit a pharmacy and buy some Xifaxan (Rifaximin). Can be bought without Rx in Mexico.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:04 PM
 
573 posts, read 1,087,443 times
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brush you teeth with cerveza
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:15 PM
 
438 posts, read 498,565 times
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Always bottled water, no unpeeled fruits and veggies unless you are positive it is safe.

When you pay in pesos or dollars, always do the math yourself. Don't just assume the merchant will do it right. I have always converted to pesos at my hotel's concierge.

You may be approached by young kids selling things, or they may want to take a picture with you. Be aware and alert as many of them are very good at picking your pockets. I was at a bar on a 2nd floor balcony and watched these little ones work the crowd. They are very, very good at it and their parents are almost always watching from around the corner.

Aside from those basics you will have a great time. I love vacationing in Mexico.
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Old 12-02-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: NC
7,010 posts, read 4,964,547 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlhm5 View Post
only drink bottled water and that goes for teeth brushing. No street food, no salads (they wash it in tap water) no ice.

As soon as you get there visit a pharmacy and buy some Xifaxan (Rifaximin). Can be bought without Rx in Mexico.
No street food? Kinda eliminates the primary reason to go to Mexico in the first place.

The transaction fees are probably about the same or less than the exchange fees (definitely less than exchanging at hotel). IMO, credit card fees are worth the security of not carrying cash, and in general the protections CC's give.
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