I traveled to Mexico for the second time during the COVID-19 pandemic. I went for my bachelorette in June 2021, and I am writing this post en route back to New York City after our January 2022 trip. Since there is a surge, I based these tips on my recent trip.
I am not a medical professional. These tips are purely anecdotal. I am just sharing what worked for me!
Research Hotel or Resort
We ended up switching resorts one week prior because recent reviews of our original choice were so-so. Also, they charged $150 for covid tests. The extra $300 for a hotel that had poor reviews was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I took a deep dive toggling between Trip Advisor and Booking.com. The hotel we landed on Generations by Karisma checked all the amenities boxes and had great covid safety reviews.
Trip Advisor is, of course, subjective, but covid safety is pretty straightforward. I looked for prevalent mask-wearing amongst guests indoors and all staff wearing masks. Many resorts did not quite hit the mark on that front. So, it was easy to rule them out.
Then I looked for free (or inexpensive) covid tests for our return to the US. Our resort charged $25/person for a rapid antigen test, which I found more than reasonable.
I also checked for any issues with getting results pre-flight. We registered for our test the day we arrived and were scheduled for tests one day before departure. We received our results that evening, which gave us plenty of time to upload them before our flight check-in.
Lastly, I confirmed that the hotel had good policies in place should we test positive for covid. For example, can we stay in the room we are already in? Do we have to pay full price for a room while isolating? Does the staff treatment change with a positive test?
“Isolate” before the trip
I avoided social encounters for about two weeks before leaving, only running essential masked errands. It is not always an option, but great to do if you can.
My reason for doing this is because our trip was mostly outdoors/easy to socially distance. If we test positive for covid, we likely would have had it before we got there. So, best to avoid anything that can expose us leading into the trip.
Also, if my last social encounter did lead to me getting covid, I would have had time to isolate/recover without hindering our trip. Thankfully this was not the case, but I had a plan if it was.
Test before leaving
Mexico is one of the few destinations that does not require a covid test for entry. Even though it is not required, I took a PCR test a few days before our departure. Without the testing requirements, I did not have the time restraints of needing to get tested in a particular window. I also was not stressed about how quickly I git the results!
Why test? I would rather know my status before I go, versus getting stuck in another country with covid. Also, I would hate to be that person that unknowingly got on a plane while contagious.
If traveling in a group, I would strongly recommend asking the entire group to get tested even though it is not required. All it takes is one person being positive to ruin a great vacation for everyone else. Mexico is a lot less fun from inside a hotel room in isolation!
We have all been in this thing long enough to know masks are your best defense against getting covid. We wore our KN95 masks from the minute we got into our airport Uber until we checked into our resort (except for brief moments when eating or drinking).
While on the resort, per resort rules, we wore our masks in all dining situations (before being seated at our table). The tables were well spaced. So, we felt very safe dining both indoors and outdoors.
We also wore masks in the lobby and concierge areas as well as anywhere socially distancing wasn’t possible (i.e. the bar).
Don’t be too friendly
We have all been on vacation and made new friends. Pre-covid, this was an amazing part of traveling. Post-covid, it is potential exposure. Everyone seems nice, but you do not know who they were with or what they were doing before they boarded that flight to Mexico.
For this reason, we stuck to ourselves for the most part on the trip. We, of course, said hello to people we passed and engaged in conversations with people. Things just were not taken to that next level of being super friendly.
The upside to this is that you get to enjoy the company of the person (or people) you are with.
Remember to have fun
It is easy to have covid on the brain 24/7. Do not do that. Take the proper precautions, but thoroughly enjoy your trip! Have fun during your escape.