Road Trips

  • Don’t drive at night, especially in the rural areas. If absolutely necessary, stay on the toll roads.
  • Try to avoid state highways and rural roads as much as possible.
  • In case of emergency, you can call the federal police at 088 and then contact your embassy.
  • Cell phone coverage is not reliable outside the towns and cities. For this reason, it’s always best to print out a detailed map before you leave in case your GPS fails you. You can find a detailed, up-to-date map for each state of Mexico on the web page of the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation.  Here is the LINK.
  • Signage on the state and interstate highways is often deficient and so it is important to be alert and watch carefully for towns and landmarks as you travel.
  • Traveling by car in Mexico generally takes longer than you might expect in the United States or Europe. You can also consult the following link to get an idea of distances, approximate travel time, and tolls HERE.
  • In Mexico it is strictly prohibited to carry firearms of any kind or illegal drugs! Check points are common, frequent and can randomly appear along the highways. At these check points, the military, the marines or the different Mexican police forces may inspect your car, often with advanced and specialized technology.
  • In Mexico it is strictly prohibited to transport wild flora and/or fauna! Do not buy exotic plants or animals in the markets.
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol. Again, there can be random and frequent check points during which drivers may be subject to a breathalizer screening. If the driver’s breath passes the blood alcohol limit, the driver may be subject arrest and 20 – 30 hours detention.
  • The “Hoy No Circula” program. Due to the high levels of air pollution in Mexico City, the government has instituted restrictions on driving. This includes vehicles with foreign license plates. You can find more information at this LINK.
  • If you rent a car, check with the agency about these restrictions. Generally rental cars are newer models so they should be exempt. Also, if you are renting a car and you will be driving in Mexico City, it’s best to rent the car in Mexico City in order to be able to move throughout the country without problems.
  • More on rental cars: On top of the price of the car, you will need to buy an insurance policy. You cannot rely on your credit card coverage in Mexico; by law you must have a full policy. Research the best deals stateside if you can. There are a number of companies in the southern U.S. states that offer the insurance a little cheaper than you might find at the point of rental.
  • At the moment it is best to avoid driving around in the state of Tamaulipas and near the coast of the states of Guerrero and Michoacán.
  • When you park your car, never leave purses, bags or luggage visible to the public.
  • Best to keep the car locked while you are in it. Don’t sit in traffic with the window fully open and something valuable on your lap.