So, you think you're ready to travel? On a planet this vast, you have no shortage of places to explore and fall in love with. Whether it's exploring the bush (and meeting interesting animals) in Australia or checking items off a bucket list while gallivanting across Europe solo, everyone has big dreams for their first travel experience.
The thing is, not every location is ideal for a first-time traveler who's full of naivety and low on cash. But the good news is that there's one destination that ranks highly with travelers all over the globe. Plus, getting there might be more accessible (and enjoyable) than you'd think. Here's why Mexico makes the ideal first-time travel destination.
12 Getting There Won't Cost An Arm And A Leg
Step one of planning your first vacation: figure out where you can actually afford to go! For most would-be travelers, far-flung destinations in Europe or Australia aren't going to cut it. Mexico is much more affordable (not to mention faster) if you live in Canada or the United States. And, if you decide you want to venture outside of North America (yep, Mexico is technically part of America), there are 7 Central American countries to visit just a short trip from Mexico's border. There are also 12 more to explore in South America.
11 Mexico Is Practically Dirt Cheap (So Your Pesos Go Far)
The current economic situation isn't beneficial for anyone, but the peso is actually worth very little in comparison to US dollars at the moment. Even historically speaking, though, the US dollar usually enjoys a favorable exchange rate with Mexican pesos. Basically, in Mexico, $100 USD can buy you a whole lot. You won't need to save for years to finally afford your dream vacation to Mexico unless you're really going to go all-out.
10 The Paperwork Is Next To Nil
There's a reason why spring breakers head to Mexico for all their partying: there's not a complicated visa process to get into (or out of) the country. For American citizens especially, the requirements are pretty basic for passing through security at the airport. You need a passport, sure, but it's not labor-intensive to get your paperwork together. People who are citizens of the United States can also skip their passport and get a special passport card that they can use when traveling into Mexico by land, which can mean significant cost savings if you're up for a road trip.
9 You Can Get By Without A Second Language
Plenty of people in Mexico speak English. You have the option to visit some of the Americanized communities, and you may not need English at all. Places like the expatriate center of San Miguel de Allende or a gated condo community in Lake Chapala have high volumes of English-speaking folks. But in bigger cities, like Guadalajara and Mexico City, you're bound to find someone who can translate if necessary.
8 The People Are Always Friendly And Hospitable
When you encounter people in shops and near tourist destinations, they're usually eager to help guide you in the right direction. At the very least, they'll smile politely and appreciate your efforts to speak some broken Spanish. Unlike some other touristy countries, people in Mexico tend to be quite welcoming toward travelers, even when they come from places that don't necessarily respect Mexican culture or the country's citizens.
7 La Comida Mexicana Will Change Your Life
Two words: street tacos. Seriously, every traveler that's been to Mexico comes home raving about the delicious street tacos. No matter where you go, you'll find cheap and supremely yummy tacos that are also authentic (no Taco Bell here, folks). The best part is that each city and state has its own trademark taco combinations. You'll find seafood near the coast, of course, and if you're brave, you might even try tacos de Lengua (hint: it's beef tongue) and find them to be delectable.
6 Free Attractions Abound All Over
You have to pay to see the big tourist attractions, like the cenotes and pyramids. But Mexico also has a ton of free museums and places to check out that don't cost a single peso. Mexico City, for example, has a long list of free museums that anyone can visit. From history to coins to cartography, there's something for every interest, explains Northern Lauren. Plus, the parks are enchanting, too.
5 Eco-Tourism Is Growing In MX, Too
Not every destination in Mexico is eco-friendly, but eco-tourism is becoming a major vibe down south. Frommers explains that you can visit protected areas like the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-largest in the world) under the guidance of local ejidos and cooperativos. So keep an eye out for those terms when booking your excursions, and be sure to pack your biodegradable sunscreen and watch for baby turtles in the sand!
4 People In Mexico Are Super Laid Back
People always joke that Mexico is on its own time, which really means that everything happens at a snail's pace. But when you're on vacation (or looking for a retirement spot), you can't beat the relaxed ambiance of most Mexican cities. Being rushed is totally not a vacation vibe, so prepare to calm down and embrace the culture of slow-mo Mexico. Of course, you should still minder your manners.
3 There's A Lot To See, No Matter Where You Go
From beaches (there are a ton) to mountain peaks (check) to ancient ruins (check, check, check), Mexico has it all. You can explore underground swimming holes (cenotes), scale Chichen Itza, lounge on picturesque beaches, and more. Or, you can opt for an all-inclusive resort and try things like scuba diving, parasailing, ecotourism, or eating your way through every Mexican delicacy.
2 Beaches (Seriously, This One Doesn't Need Any Further Description)
The beaches in Mexico are breathtaking, no matter what state you're visiting. You can lounge, check out the sea life, enjoy water sports, or sip an ice-cold Mexican beer. And if you're staying at an all-inclusive resort, you may even have access to exclusive, private beaches with amazing views and even better poolside service. Of course, locals (and repeat travelers) also have their own ideas about which beach is the best of the best, so you might want to take their advice.
1 Mexico Is Safer Than You Might Think
People always worry about safety when discussing Mexico, and it's true that traveling there can be dangerous. Tourist areas often see high rates of petty theft and other smaller crimes, while narcos (Mexican drug lords) often have violent confrontations in city streets. That said, these types of crimes happen in every country, whether they're splashed across the news or not. Besides, there are plenty of safe places to travel in Mexico, no matter who you are or how you want to travel.