Hey Subscriber,

Over the last 20 years, I've flown a lot and over the last year or so I've been going to Mexico every three or four months for training. Some of these tips are just related to flying, and some will be things I've learned about traveling to Mexico, and I'd say are probably generally applicable to Latin America in general.

Travel Tips

1. Gallon-sized ziplock bags are great for toiletries. Save some weight for scuba gear!

2. Make a video of your rental car. Mexican rental car agencies are kind of notorious for charging you for every little ding that isn't recorded on the inspection. I had to pay 41 dollars on my last trip because someone scuffed the quarter panel of the car. Scuffed as in someone would need to buff it out with a little turtle wax... I've had other situations where showing the video of the car was all I needed to show the rental car company and they didn't charge me.

3. Check your credit cards to see if they offer free insurance for rentals. My AmEx covers 100% of damages to rental cars. I've used it twice in Mexico and it's really easy. I think all AmEx cards offer this coverage if you rent with their card, but check your agreement.

4. You know those arms that control the entrance and exit of vehicles in a parking lot?
In the US, they stay up as long as someone is driving through, so multiple vehicles can pass. Not so in Mexico, if you try to follow the car in front of you, you'll end up with damage to your car. (See tip #3)

5. In Mexico, the police aren't your friends. If you're in an accident don't call them, call your rental car company and have them work out the payment with the other party. If you call the police, you're likely going to be arrested.

6. Take a video of your AirBnB upon departure. This is a new rule of mine because I had a property owner trying to say that I'd left the AC on and the door to the unit wide open when I left. According to the owner, he didn't inspect the unit until 6 days after I'd left, and there was water damage. It worked out in my favor, but I'll be taking video from now on.

7. Download the offline language pack for Google Translate. My Spanish isn't bad, but it's nice to be able to find a word or phrase when there's no data available.

8. Download Google Maps offline maps for the area you're going to be in before you leave. Even if you aren't driving, it's nice to be able to use walking directions!

9. Don't leave your fins at home. I took a trip once and though, "Oh, it's warm water, I'll just save the weight and use rental fins." A week later I had worn all the skin off of the back of my ankle. Mask, fins, and boots are mandatory items for me.

10. Washcloths aren't really a thing, so being one from home. If you're staying at a hotel, you'll probably be ok, but if you're airbnb'ing it, you're rolling the dice.

11. Immodium. Need I say more?

12. Bring a small bottle of your favorite ear treatment. My default is rubbing alcohol. Swimmer's ear is no fun. Remember TSA will make you throw away big bottles of liquid. Last year, they saved America from the threat I posed by making me throw away a tube of toothpaste that I'd packed in my carry-on.

13. If you're diving dry, bring two undergarments. That way you can launder one. If you're diving wet, bring two swimsuits. Things get a little ripe when you wear them every day!

14. Bring a battery for your computer.

15, Bring two different kinds of shoes. If you're going to be doing a lot of walking, you'll start to develop blisters. Alternating shoes each day gives you a chance to recover Each shoe will have different points that irritate your feet, so you will be much less likely to develop blisters.

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