If you’re planning a trip to one of Mexico’s many tourist destinations, somewhere off the beaten path or even dreaming about a road trip across Mexico, one of the things you’ll want to research and prepare in advance is a car rental. You’re no doubt very excited about your trip, but some prospective travelers start to get cold feet when they start researching because so many people have posted about their bad experiences with XYZ Company on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
First, it’s important to remember that people are much more likely to write a review about a bad experience than a good one (no news is good news), so you definitely shouldn’t let that make you second guess your decision to go on vacation in Mexico. Second, many tourists from the US, UK and Canada have bad experiences because they didn’t do enough research before leaving town. To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, make sure you keep these tips for renting a car in Mexico in mind before you go.
1: Know what you need to rent a car in Mexico
The last thing you want is to show up at the rental car office to pick up your vehicle only to find you don’t have the required documentations. Here’s what you’ll need:
• Driver aged 25 or older
• Valid driver’s license written in Latin characters (not Chinese, Arabic, Russian, etc.)
• An international driver’s license if your original is written in another type of characters
• Credit card
• A second form of photo identification if your driver’s license has no picture
• Proof of CDW insurance (may be purchased at the rental office, may be included as a benefit on your credit card or travel insurance policy)
• Proof of PLI insurance (PLI MUST be purchased from the rental company)
2: Book your Mexican car rental online ahead of time
You’re more likely to get a better deal on your car rental if you have a rate locked in before you get to the counter. This also gives you plenty of time to comfortably read over the fine print and terms of the rental agreement so you know what is included and what isn’t. Which brings us to Tip #3…
3: Read the fine print on the car rental agreement
It’s important to know what’s included in the quoted price. You might find a major discount travel website offering rental cars in Mexico at rates of $8 USD a day – sounds great! Until you get to the rental office and learn that doesn’t include any of the required insurance coverage, or taxes, or fees. Insurance can double or triple the cost of a rental car, and Mexico has a fairly high sales tax called “IVA” (Value Added Tax in Spanish).
4: Don’t assume that a US-based car rental company is better than a Mexican one
Many of the worst reviews online are from US and European tourists who booked their car rental with a company they were familiar with from their home company, only to find that they operated very differently in Mexico. The lesson here is, you can’t blindly choose or rule out a car rental company by where it is headquartered. You have to do your independent research.