13 things to avoid on your first road trip through Mexico … and how to turn them around

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A road trip through Mexico is a great idea, but you must bear in mind that Mexican roads have their good points and their bad points. Before you fill up your tank and go out in search of new adventures, take a look at these tips. 

1. Don’t let the night catch you

In addition to the obvious complications of night driving — reduced visibility, fatigue, and the ability to hit the wrong road — less traveled and guarded Mexican highways have a higher incidence of assaults after the sun goes down. 

It is best to plan ahead. Calculate your times, try to drive on toll roads when you have the option and use the nights to rest. You can even take advantage and stay to sleep in a town or city of those that you have always wanted to know.

2. Do not stay overnight in the car or camp in unfamiliar areas 

No one denies that camping where the night falls is an almost irresistible temptation for any adventurer, and if you are lucky enough to find an established camping area, go ahead. But outside of that rare possibility, camping where you fall is not recommended. 

Most of the land that you could settle on is private agricultural areas or federal areas. Sleeping in the car is not a very good idea either. A car parked on the side of the road will make any highway patrol come over and interrupt your sleep with a ticket. 

Try to get to sleep at a hotel. Cheap hotels abound in Mexico, mainly around the cities. If you have no other option and you must spend the night in the car, try to park in the rest areas next to the toll booths.

3. Don’t trust your internet connection 

We have become used to Google Maps, Waze and other applications getting us out of trouble when navigating through cities, but on the roads of Mexico things are different. The internet connection often fails and the routes that browsers mark may not be the best. Although it may seem archaic, make a habit of carrying a map when going out on the road. It can get you out of a lot of trouble if you get lost or your phone runs out of battery. 

4. Don’t carry so much luggage 

It seems somewhat negligible, but gasoline is one of the most considerable expenses when making a road trip and losing liters per kilometer due to excess luggage will eventually begin to reflect on your wallet. Too much luggage also means that you will have less space to store the things you buy on the way and that you will surely end up with everything piled up.

Limit luggage to one backpack for each passenger and keep order inside the car. Try to fit as much as possible in the trunk and if you have towels or blankets, use them to cover the back seats. Anything to save space and travel more comfortable. 

5. Don’t stop calculating your expenses 

When the trip starts, everyone wants to pay for this and that. With a few days on the road, generosity gives way to I put more than you . Avoid misunderstandings and money fights from the beginning. Build a common fund and keep track of shared expenses. It is also recommended that before getting in the car it is clear what these shared expenses will be and in what percentage . 

6. Don’t drive until you are tired

You may be the best driver in the world, but fatigue is very treacherous on the road (even with those three coffees you had). Avoid those six-hour marathons behind the wheel. Give the wheel to someone else while you flutter your eyelashes. And if you’re traveling alone, stop every two or three hours to stretch your legs and wake up a bit.   

7. Don’t leave everything to chance

It is true that much of the charm of a roadtrip comes from improvisation and spontaneous experiences. However, neglecting your original travel plan too much will put you at risk of missing one or more of those places you were dying to visit.

8. Abused with police controls

It is very common to find police and military checkpoints on the roads of Mexico. It is also natural that you distrust them because of the bad reputation of some of these institutions. Avoid any setbacks and kindly answer the questions they ask you. You will not achieve anything if you start filming the policemen with your camera without justification or you start to question them insistently as to why they are holding you. 

If they ask you to perform a trunk check, accompany them and show them the luggage yourself (don’t let them do it themselves). If you show a good attitude and availability, you will be away from the checkpoint in a few minutes. 

9. Enjoy and relax, but do not stop advising where you are

It is also not about telling your mom every fifteen minutes, but make sure your family or friends know from time to time where you are. This way they will be able to locate you more easily in case you are cut off or need help.  

10. Use your common sense before stopping to take photos

You will surely see a lot of landscapes that you will like and you will all want to take photos. But please use your common sense and do not stop the car on dangerous curves or high speed roads without vehicle bays. 

11. Check the news and do not venture into risk areas

Unfortunately, there are some areas of Mexico where it is very risky to travel by road due to drug trafficking. Although it is difficult to know where it is safe and where it is not, the daily news is a good reference to know in which areas of the country there is more incidence of violent drug trafficking. Another good option is to approach the local tourism institutions and ask for the best routes to explore the area in which you are.

12. Don’t overlook your car inspection

This is basic. Don’t hit the road without first taking your car to the mechanic for an inspection. Also be sure to carry basic tools such as power cables, ghosts, jack, cross wrench, spare tire, etc. in the car.

13. Don’t go out without knowing how to change a tire

If you’ve never changed a tire, learn before you hit the roads of Mexico. Tire flats are one of the most common breakdowns on the road and although it sounds incredible, you could be stranded for a long time if you don’t know how to solve it yourself. And speaking of tires, don’t forget to check that the spare tire is in good condition.  

They seem like a lot of recommendations, but it really is about following very basic measures that, rather than limiting, will help you navigate the road and have good memories of your road trip.

Source: Matador Network

Mexico Daily Post

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