Need advice Please...on Mexico.

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I have been invited to stay with friends in their private home in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico in March next year for a couple of weeks.....I have never been there before and have looked at a great Itinerary with Qantas and American Airlines to Guadalajara via Dallas Fort Worth return.... My friends will pick me up from Guadalajara International airport and take me back upon my return home, .... My question is... what kind of money does one take ( besides Pesos & US currency) as I heard that they will not accept Travellers Cheques either.....I have a Qantas Cash Card but am unsure about using it there. for safety reasons as well... I don't want to carry much Cash as I heard there is a lot of Crime in Mexico.. I need just enough to get by at Airports for coffee and something to eat or a Magazine etc and then what would you suggest so I can do a little shopping as well.. Go to a bank or what.????.. ..Please can you advise me what to do as I am an elderly lady 75+ and in need of advice please...before making any arrangments.

Thanks in Advance.:)

Grandma's Wings.
 

cove

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US dollars will work in most places.
In many areas it has become safer than 2 years ago.
Do not take expensive jewellery including a power watch of any kind and dress down.
We use 28 degrees card and Citibank debit to avoid losing five or 10 percent of your funds.
 

get me outta here

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First of all, you are not elderly! The 28Degrees card is an on line application only MasterCard. It has no fee and the exchange rate is one of the best. Do a google search for the 28degress card and you'll see why travellers find it so useful. Best of luck on yr exciting trip. Don't try to guess exactly how much cash you need to the nearest dollar as you may become stressed spending even one dollar and will have no contingency. If you are worried about carrying a bit more cash, I find a slim little money belt that goes around the tummy conveniently kept In place by yr pants. Then you can put some cash and cc in there.
 

cove

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If you find you are not eligible for a 28 degrees credit card just go with Citibank Plus debit card where you load money on the card in Aussie dollars and pull out money at the other end from an ATM. You can shop with it and the exchange rate you get is fair.
My 28 degrees card came with a $5,000 limit so I would just load it with $4900 in advance of a trip. They now charge 3% for cash withdrawals so I tend to use the Citibank Plus debit card.
28degreescard.com.au would get you to their site or the other one would be Citibank.com.au/plus I think.
In Mexico they sell genuine copies of the World Cup in soccer and of course tequila which tastes a bit like Kero we used for home heating in the fifties.
 

aikman

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I was in Cancun, Mexico a couple of months ago. I went to the first ATM I saw at the airport and had no problems taking out some pesos using my NAB ATM card. I also sometimes hide another ATM card and/or a small amount of cash in my luggage as a backup in case I get robbed.
 

cove

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Drink bottled water just in case even when you are brushing your teeth. Picking up a parasite would not be a good idea.
I think Mexico is improving.
 

newmarket

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You should ask for advice from your friends in Mexico. I suggest that you will get better advice than from some people on the internet.

enjoy your trip, Mexico is as safe as anywhere else as long as you are aware (as you should be in Australia). I have been there several times.
 

ithongy

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Take it easy on the first day, walk slower than normal & don't run. As you are around 2000m above sea level & your body needs to adjust to the altitude. If you walk around market areas DON'T film any video footage. As beyond the walls of the market(s) they may be housing thieves selling stolen goods & contraband (weapons & stuff). I think it was in Tepito I made that mistake & was on my own then cornered by like 20 thugs. Thank god I made it out without a scratch...! But apart from that area I had no problems in Mexico City.
 

BAM1748

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Was in Mexico for a few days, took USD cash only and didn't need anything else except used a Visa card for car rental.
 
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I would like to thank each an everyone for your response.".. I feel so much better about everything after reading your replies...... No wonder this is such a great community of like minded people who really go out of their way to help people such as me..... This will be my last trip overseas and am using my Qantas points plus pay. It's a really good deal and I also get to fly ( economy) on the A380 which is something I really wanted to experience... Can anyone suggest good seating on this aircraft I do like an aisle seat not to far from the powder rooms. But nowhere near a Galley.... Won,t be going to Mexico City.... Flying OOL/SYDNEY/DFW/ then after a 3 hr layover fly direct into Guadalajara where,y friends will pick me up....looking so forward to taking everything in plus havinga few Margaritas as well .. LOL
 

cove

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Do chat with your friends in Mexico as they have local knowledge which is the best you can get.
80A,80K and 71D are rated as good seats on QF A380 in Economy.
 
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medhead

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I was in Cancun, Mexico a couple of months ago. I went to the first ATM I saw at the airport and had no problems taking out some pesos using my NAB ATM card. I also sometimes hide another ATM card and/or a small amount of cash in my luggage as a backup in case I get robbed.

You would have also paid a significant fee and been short changed on the exchange rate. Citibank plus lets you keep more of your own money - good exchange rate, and no currency conversion fees.
 
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Wow !!!! al of this information that is forthcoming.... I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your advice and suggestions....Please know that I am writing all of this down and taking notes of what is being said.....About using the ATM... I have a Qantas Cash Card but have heard a few bad reports about it's use whilst overseas, so am a little hesitant about using it..... My Canadian Friends advised me to use an ATM Debit Card or go into their Bank and withdraw using a Debit Card.... I also have the little cotton Belly money belt which I had used before and taken a little cash as well.... My hubby who turns 86 years soon is also reading these messages and asking questions as he too is a little concerned for my welfare..... he will be staying at home as I need a break from being a full time Carer, hence the 2 weeks vacation...:) Thanks again everyone....
 
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get me outta here

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Also in the tummy bag it's a good idea to have a little card with yr major contact details for family, friends, yr doctor, travel insurance policy number and the ph number to call. Plus, the phone numbers from the back of the credit cards. My aunty was worried about travelling on hr own recently and pre phoned the airline to walk her through the airports etc where possible and she found that very reassuring - worth a try!
 

BAM1748

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Hope it's a great trip, will make a difference having friends meeting you at the airport. Mexico can be a dangerous place but the local knowledge will keep you out of trouble, I'd just take $2K in small denomination USD and now use any plastic while there.

Sure if you are robbed you loose it but kept in a couple of different pockets you'll be fine.

Just remember the old 'when in do as' and all will be fine, being a gringo you'll stand out so never argue with anyone in a uniform, just pay the US$50 and move on. :D


Matt
 

ozbeachbabe

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Flying OOL/SYDNEY/DFW/ then after a 3 hr layover fly direct into Guadalajara where,y friends will pick me up....looking so forward to taking everything in plus havinga few Margaritas as well .. LOL

As your connecting flight is on AA DFW/GDL your bags can be tagged OOL to GDL although you will still need to collect them in DFW when you clear customs & immigration
before relodging them.

If you haven't already applied for your ESTA, here's the link to the official site:
https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

I found the DFW Airport authority staff in the dark green vests very helpful.

I had no problems using my QF Cash card in Mexico for both purchases and withdrawing cash from atms - just don't forget your PIN.

Have you taken out travel insurance yet?
 
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Dear Oz & others...

Thanks for the information about transferring to AA @ DFW/GDL...I will look out for the people wearing Dark Green Vests... a little like the White Cowboy Hats in Calgary AB Canada.... they are very helpful also....... Yes I have the ESTA form ready to fill out... last time I used the form you didn't have to pay but am told that they charge you now... ( like everything. LOL....

The question about the QF Cash Card in Mexico.... I was a little concerned about that as they do not mention Pesos on their list of Foreign Currency.. I had a look on the website today...... so I thought perhaps I would need to load US dollars.... can you please enlighten me on that one....I was going to apply for a Citibank Plus Debit Card, plus carry a little cash on my persons...but if I can use my Qantas C/Card.. even better.... My Canadian friends who live in Ajijic ( Jalisco ) have been living in Mexico now for 2 years, but have been holidaying there for many years.... now they own property there so I will have their advice and safety when I arrive and depart for Home in Oz...

I so look forward to hearing from you & others and have taken note of all advice given... so Please know everyone the response from you all is very much appreciated.

Cheers

Grandma's Wings.

PS:

No I have not taken out Travel Insurance as yet, but that is a priority with me.... I have in the past always used Medibank Private and have never had any problems with it as luckily I have never needed it for any claims..... but since my last trip in 2011 to Canada.... I have reached the ripe age of 75 years so it's more important now then ever.... I would deem any advice you may offer...
 

vetrade

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Grandma's Wings, it's easy to apply for the ESTA online at esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta - this avoids the hassles of lodging the form. I think the one we got last year was $32 but can't recall if it's a different amount for a single applicant.

For getting cash (pesos) in Mexico it's better to use ATMs rather than trying to get cash over the counter at a bank - for some reason some foreign credit cards won't work "over the counter". Quite a few banks have a separate designated ATM for foreigners to use - these should be clearly marked but if you find a withdrawal is rejected just use the next ATM. And don't try to withdraw too much in one transaction - we found that a withdrawal of around $500 wouldn't go through but we could do multiple withdrawals of about $200 on the same machine without any problems. I would suggest you use pesos - even though US dollars are widely accepted, conning tourists is a way of life for many Mexicans so they have a habit of fudging the exchange rate in their favour if you don't use pesos. If you pay in pesos you can't be cheated on the exchange rate.

I would fully expect that your friends will take you under their wings and that with their local knowledge you shouldn't have any problems. Presumably they will accompany you when you are out and about. Lastly I endorse the comments of others about the 28 degree mastercard and Citibank debit card - definitely the way to go when overseas.
 
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