Safe Travel in Tijuana, Mexico
When talking to people about going to Tijuana for dental work, more and more the question arises, “Is it really safe to go to Mexico?” My answer is always YES! I feel quite at home in Tijuana, but like anywhere, you have to use common sense while traveling in Mexico.
I can understand the apprehension that some people have as they contemplate going into another country, where everything is strange and unknown. Then when you hear bad things on the news, it can make it even more frightening. While the decision of whether or not to cross South of the border into Tijuana is the responsibility of each individual, I would like to answer a few questions to try to put things into perspective, as well as give a few tips on how to travel more safely in Mexico, or any foreign country, or even into any Metropolitan down town area of the USA.
To consider answer the question, “Is it dangerous in Mexico?”, don’t be fearful when you hear negative reports on the news. Keep in perspective that the news agencies look for any incident that will grab headlines. The problem is that news reports often give an exaggerated view and can distort reality. Not to dismiss out of hand the reports one hears, because we always need to be careful and vigilant, but the truth is there are a lot of incidents that happen everyday in certain parts of every large US city that never gets reported because they are so common. Everyday in San Diego and Los Angeles, or New York, or Miami, or Denver, or Dallas, or in Washington D.C., it is common for someone to get mugged or robbed, or found dumped in an alley, so common that it doesn’t grab the attention of the news hounds anymore. So what I am trying to say is that yes, you need to be careful while traveling in Mexico, or Tijuana, but also you need to be careful walking in downtown L.A., or San Diego. Don’t let rumors or news reports, that are attempting to grab headlines by focusing attention on bad things, exaggerate the dangers and frighten you. Just be cautious, and you’ll be alright. Remember, literally 100’s of thousands of people cross over into Tijuana from the USA every month without incident.
I have traveled into Mexico dozens and dozens of times. I have been very often to Tijuana, Juarez, Reynosa, and other border towns. I have also been in many Latin American countries, and have lived for several years in South America. I have NEVER had an incident where I felt in danger. However, I used to live in Denver working for the cable company, and have been threatened with bodily injury and have felt very intimidated on several occasions. I even had to call the police in order to complete my work in someone’s back yard because they had threatened to shoot me when I went to shut their cable off!! I feel safer in Mexico, than in certain areas of Denver. And what is Denver compared to L.A.? Or Washington D.C., or Miami?
Tips for Traveling Safely.
1. Be discrete. Never flash a lot of money. Keep the majority of your cash hidden in a front pocket that you can zip or button down. Just keep a limited amount of cash in your wallet. Also keep your passport, drivers license, and credit card hidden in another front pocket. It would be good to keep those documents together with a rubber band or a money clip. Also, don’t bring all your credit cards with you, just bring one or two, that way if you loose it, you will know which one to report lost.
2. Walk over and take a Taxi rather than drive over. Unless you are planning to stay for several days, and would like to site see, it takes a lot of stress off to not to have to keep an eye on your car, or to have to maneuver in Mexico traffic. I always hate been stuck in the long line to cross back into the USA. It is liberating to just leave the car parked in the USA and let a taxi take you to your dental appointment. If you do drive over, NEVER leave valuables, like your camera or purse, in plain site in the car seat. If you do, you might be inviting a break in. That is not just true in Mexico! Also, if you drive in, make sure you keep your vehicle locked, and ALWAYS put a manual locking device, like the “Club”, on your steering wheel. At Sam Dental in Tijuana, they have off street parking that is secure, but it is still a good idea to use a locking device.
3. Keep your night life to a minimum If you are concerned about safety, remember that not only in Tijuana, but in L.A. as well, most crimes are committed late at night. Common sense is a must!
I enjoy traveling in Mexico, and I love the atmosphere and culture. Aside from the tremendous savings I have experienced getting dental and medical procedures done, I have love it in Mexico, and I plan on retiring there in a few years. I feel that it is safe to go to Tijuana. But, the truth is, just like in any large metropolis in the USA, it pays to be cautious and vigilant. You will have a good experience, just like the 10’s of thousands of people who cross the border every day without incident. Don’t be fearful, just keep your eyes open, and you’ll be fine.