Tips for a Safe Family Vacation to Mexico - Page 4

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Mexico
Keep an eye on your children and stay in touristy areas while vacationing in Mexico.  (Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

Safety Tips

1. Stay away from border areas.
Border towns such as Ciudad Juárez, Reynosa, and Nogales are off-limits for the safety-minded. "It’s also definitely not recommended to drive into the country via any highway from the U.S.," says Reid.

2. Don’t drive at night.
Driving during the day on certain highways is also not recommended. Check with a hotel concierge, tour operator, or the local U.S. Embassy before you get behind the wheel for a road trip. 

3. Don’t frequent non-tourist areas.
Stay in well-known neighborhoods and steer clear of disreputable businesses or neighborhoods.

4. Leave an itinerary.
Make sure someone knows where you are going at all times. Leave a full itinerary that includes phone numbers for where you will be throughout your travels with someone at home. It’s also a smart idea to register with your local U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

5. Keep small children close.
While Mexico has a warm heart for children, it’s wise to keep a tight eye on your kids at all times. Make sure your children are familiar with the protocols if they get separated from you, and establish a plan with them before you depart. Teach them a few key phrases in Spanish.

6. Teenagers, in particular, should be monitored.
Know where and with whom your teenage children are at all times. If they are away from you, be sure they have a cell phone with them to keep in contact.

7. Be on alert for petty crimes, too.
While Rabinor says Mexico has no more risk of petty crime than Miami or Istanbul, travelers can save themselves some hassle by being aware of their surroundings at all times.

8. Learn some Spanish.
Knowing some basics will help travelers feel less alienated. Reid also recommends Spanish-language-learning vacations, as offered through schools such as the Don Quijote Spanish school in the mountain-surrounded colonial city of Guanajuato. "You can study and stay with a family for around $450 a week for room and board and tuition," he says. "With your host family and classmates, you have an immediate network and security blanket."

9. Have focus.
Rather than try to see a large chunk of Mexico, which is the size of Western Europe, settle into one of the wonderful little colonial towns, and you will come away with a great appreciation of the country. This will keep your travels to a minimum and let you become familiar with one small town and its nuances.

10. Bus station 101.
Reid urges travelers not to make any friends in bus stations. "This is where you’re most vulnerable," he says. "I’ve actually been robbed in a Guadalajara bus station. If you are with a group, don’t sit out in the open, and keep an eye on all your belongings. Put your stuff against the wall and don’t trust anyone; sometimes thieves use distraction to rob you." Do not attempt to take a nap while waiting for a bus, and it’s a good idea to have your arm looped around your bags at all times.

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