Read some tips before coming to Mexico !
We know preparing your arrival for a new country is very complicated. In order to make your life easier, we’ve prepared this guide for you !
Check your Papers
Mexico authorizes the stay of foreigners on its territory for a period of 180 days without having a visa. Check that your passport is in good condition and that its validity covers the total duration of your stay.
If you want to stay more than 180 days, there are two solutions:
– apply for a visa
– or you can leave the Mexican territory (for a duration of one week) and return for 180 days more (students usually go on vacation in border countries like Belize, Guatemala or the USA).
Do not forget the papers of your health insurance that you have subscribed.
Once you have collected all your important administrative documents, do not forget to print them and put them in a safe place during your semester (and take them when you travel), which will be very useful if you lose one of these papers. You should also scan them and send them to you by email.
Download some useful apps
Mapsme: it’s a very useful app that has a GPS function even without a network connection. Download the cards with a wifi connection and then enjoy the GPS
Polarsteps: Polarsteps automatically records your travel itinerary and creates a beautiful map where you can view text, photos and videos. Useful if you want to keep track of your travels !
Tricount : If you go on a trip with your friends, this app makes it easy to do accounts between you. Just enter each expense indicating who paid. The app then calculates the simplest way of balancing the accounts and indicates who owes how much to whom.
Duolingo : essential to revise your spanish
Whatsapp : it’s very popular in Mexico, practically everyone uses it
Google photos : save your photos and videos in order to keep space on your phone
Plan your Finances
Step 1 : Call your bank
Check the following things with your banks :
- Check that your card can be used internationally
- inform them that you will be out of the country so they don’t block your card
- Check the withdrawal limit and commissions to avoid unnecessary charges
Additional information :
- If your commissions are too high, consider opening a Mexican bank account (you only need your school ID from Mexico and the electricity receipt from your house in Mexico)
- If you lose your card, report it as soon as possible and be sure to get it delivered with a good delivery provider that gives a tracking number because the normal mail system in Mexico is very slow and It will take months to receive it ; this applies to anything that you might want to receive in the mail from your friends and family
Step 2 : Plan your expenses abroad
Yes, life in Mexico can be cheap because the currency is whatever. However, a lot of students end up spending more money than they would in their own country.
We advise you to prepare your expenses by setting up a monthly budget.
Here are some examples that will allow you to anticipate your expenses :
- Prepaid phone plan /month (unlimited Whatsapp, Facebook, and Insta): 200 pesos
- Cinema : 80 pesos
- Bus price in the city : 7 pesos
- Beer in bars : 30 pesos
- Subway 15 cm : 60 pesos
- Uber from the airport to the Chapultepec area : 150 to 350 pesos
- Bicycle rental for a year : 365 pesos
- Cigarettes (20) : 50 pesos
- Water (1L) : 11 pesos
- Starbucks coffee : 36 pesos
- Hairdresser : between 50 en 200 pesos
- Basic medical consult : 50 pesos
To help you avoid unnecessary expenses:
- prepare your travel budget at the end of each month to anticipate
- Don’t eat out and order too much food, learn how to cook Mexican dishes with our guide !
- If you plan to fly, the following 4 companies are the most affordable: Vivaaerobus, Volaris, Interjet, Califaair
Pack your bags
Check out our list of essential things that will be useful for you to bring:
- international adapter for your electronics (take 2 so you can charge multiple devices)
- A medical kit. Prepare it in advance with your doctor, he will advise you on the medications to take, but we can recommend medicine for stomach because the food is very different and there are a lot of spices
- Plan two pairs of warm clothes (they will be useful during your travels, the Mexicans love to put the air conditioning in transport!)
- Bring a rain coat (it rains a lot in July and August)
- If you have one, take a travel backpack (neither too small nor too big, it will be easier to go on a weekend without having to take your big suitcase)
- A portable battery useful for long trips
Organizing Tip: Put all your important documents and chargers in your carry-on luggage. Sometimes airlines lose luggage, so we advise you to have a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage.
Things that you should buy when you are here (because it’s cheaper) :
- solar cream
- Mosquito repellant
- An umbrella
Do not completely fill your suitcase, leave place for your Mexican souvenirs 😉