The beauty of Mexico is unparalleled. From the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea to the dusty cacti-filled deserts of the north, Mexico is a land of stunning diversity. Its culture is as vibrant as its landscape, with world-renowned music and art. The Mexican people are warm and welcoming, always willing to share a smile and a laugh. Whether exploring ancient ruins or sipping a margarita on the beach, Mexico will enchant you.
It’s estimated that about 51 million people visit the country every year, making it one of the most visited countries in the world. You can get to Mexico in various ways, but one of the best ways is by road trip, especially if you live in the United States. Here’s a guide to what you need to prepare for your road trip to Mexico.
Decide on your route.
The first step is to map out your route. Driving from the States, you’ll likely be crossing the border at either Tijuana or Nuevo Laredo. From there, you can head down to Baja California Sur, home to Cabo San Lucas, or travel inland to explore cities like Guadalajara and Mexico City. Alternatively, you can head east towards the Yucatán Peninsula and its beach resorts like Cancún. Wherever you go, consider the distance and time it will take to get there. There are about 28 international border crossings you can take, each having its advantages.
Additionally, it’s good to invest in a GPS. It can help you get to places, but it’s not foolproof, especially in Mexico, where roads are constantly changing and evolving. It’s always a good idea to have a physical map as a backup, just in case. Additionally, you can get apps that can create a route for you. A good app is iExit, which shows you all the exits along your route and what’s available at each one, such as hotels, restaurants, and gas stations.
You can also get Google Maps. If you want to start a route in Google Maps, you can select the “driving” option. Then, you put in your starting point and destination. Google will give you a few options to choose from, as well as the estimated time and distance of each route.
Get your documents in order
Ensure you have all the necessary documentation for yourself and your vehicle before heading to the border. For Americans, this includes a passport and driver’s license. You should also have your car registration and proof of insurance. In addition, you’ll need to bring along the rental agreement if you’re renting a car.
It’s a good idea to make copies of all your essential documents if you lose them while on the road. Keep them in a safe place, such as a glove compartment or a Ziplock bag.
You should also consider getting Mexican auto insurance, even if you have insurance in the States. This is because American insurance companies generally don’t cover accidents in Mexico. You can purchase Mexican auto insurance online or at the border.
Prepare your vehicle
Before embarking on your road trip, ensure your vehicle is in good condition. This means getting a tune-up, checking the oil, and filling up the gas tank. You should also check the tires, brakes, and lights. It’s a good idea to bring a spare tire in case you have a flat.
If you’re driving an older car, getting it serviced before the trip is a good idea. This way, you can avoid any potential breakdowns while on the road.
Practice Road Safety
You always have to be a responsible driver when you’re on the road, especially when you have a long trip ahead. Remember to take breaks often, especially if driving for more than eight hours. It’s recommended that you take a break every two hours.
When driving in Mexico, be mindful of the different rules and regulations. For example, in some states, using a cell phone while driving is illegal. In others, drivers must yield to pedestrians. Be sure to do your research before heading out on the road. Additionally, you should practice defensive driving.
This means being aware of your surroundings and being prepared for anything. Defensive driving is essential in Mexico, as the roads can be unpredictable. Many potholes, animals, and pedestrians can make driving challenging. You can learn defensive driving by taking an affordable eight-hour driver improvement course. The course covers being aware of your surroundings, what to do during an accident, and more. The best part is that it only takes eight hours. So you can technically do it a day before your trip. However, it’s always good to take it a week in advance.
Mexico is one of the prime destinations when it comes to road trips. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind before embarking on your journey. Following the tips above, you can ensure that your road trip to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.