Mexico Study Tour Next Steps and Travel Checklist

Welcome to the AJWS Study Tour to Mexico! Now that your space is reserved, it’s time to start planning your trip. Please follow the checklist below and contact Stefanie Rubin (212.792.2938; srubin@ajws.org) or Neely Grobani (212.792.2800; ngrobani@ajws.org) with any questions.

  1. Complete and submit your participant paperwork. All forms are due 60 days prior to the trip (5/22/15).

    Participant Information Form
    Physician Form
    Agreement and Waiver of Liability

  2. Purchase trip cancellation insurance. We highly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance to protect you from unexpected changes to your availability. In order to qualify you must purchase cancellation insurance within two weeks of submitting your deposit to AJWS. One option is to contact Terry Seligman at the following number:

    Terry Tours Travel Insurance (TTTI)
    415.388.8391 or 877.800.0330
    www.terrytours.com

  3. Contact Absolute Travel, our partner tour operator, for assistance with visas, flights, hotels and additional services. Absolute Travel is available to help you with all Study Tour logistics related to obtaining your passport and visa, flights, reserving additional nights at the hotel, trip extensions and other additional services you may need. Please reach out to Jessica and/or Leslie for assistance and mention that you are traveling on an AJWS Study Tour:

    Jessica Weeman, Strategic Partnership Manager
    jweeman@absolutetravel.com
    Leslie Overton, General Manager
    loverton@absolutetravel.com

    Absolute Travel
    90 Broad Street #1706
    New York, NY 1004
    P: 212.627.1950
    W: www.absolutetravel.com

    • Passport and travel visa: Check your passport to be sure it is valid for at least 6 months from the date you depart. Participants traveling with a U.S. passport do not need to obtain a visa.
    • Booking your flight: It’s never too early to start looking into flights, especially if you plan to use air miles. You should book a ticket into Mexico City arriving by the afternoon of June 21st. An optional sightseeing tour will being at 1:00pm on Sunday and the Study Tour will officially kick off with a welcome dinner that evening. Your return flight should depart from Oaxaca on the afternoon of Friday, February 26th following lunch. Please email Jessica from Absolute Travel at jweeman@absolutetravel.com with your final trip itinerary so your airport pickup and drop off can be arranged.
      *If you are booking your flights on your own please have Absolute Travel review your itinerary prior to booking to confirm your arrival and departure times. Once you have finalized your travel plans, please remember to share your itinerary with Absolute Travel.
    • Additional nights at the hotel: If you will arriving before June 21st or departing after June 26th and you would like to stay at the same hotel please be in touch with Absolute Travel to reserve and pay for your additional nights at the hotel.
    • Trip Extensions: There is no shortage of amazing sights to be seen in Mexico City and Oaxaca. If you would like to arrive early or extend your trip to do some touring, Absolute Travel can help you plan an incredible trip extension.
  4. See your doctor for medical approval and travel vaccinations. You will need your doctor’s approval to travel with AJWS. If you have not traveled to a developing country within the last two to three years, you may need vaccinations and medications. We recommend seeing a doctor specializing in travel medicine. For more information on recommended vaccinations, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (The CDC) webpage here to learn about staying healthy in Mexico.
  5. Staying safe while abroad: We do everything we can to ensure your trip abroad with us is a safe and pleasant one, including conducting scouting trips to countries we have not traveled to before and consulting with private travel safety and security experts. However, travel to the developing world always will have a certain degree of risk not found in travel to Western countries. We strongly recommend reviewing the US State Department, CIA, and Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for travelers prior to your departure.

    US State Department:
    www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/mx/index.htm
    CIA factsheet:
    www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mx.html
    Center for Disease Control (CDC):
    wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/mexico

  6. Familiarize yourself with the country and culture. To get the most of out of your journey, you may want to research the country and culture prior to your arrival. You will receive a handbook in the mail in advance of the orientation call with more detailed background information on Mexico and the grantees we are scheduled to visit with. In the meantime, now is a great time to begin familiarizing yourself with Mexico’s unique history and recent transformation. You can find a list of recommended resources here.
  7. Make photocopies of your important documents and leave them with someone you trust. It’s always better to be safe than sorry which is why we recommend making two photocopies of your visa and passport and leaving them with a friend or family member while traveling.
  8. Exchange rate and making purchases abroad. At the time this document was written the exchange rate was to 1.00 USD = 14.6642 Mexican Pesos (MXN). For the most up to date exchange rate information please refer to www.xe.com.

    Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Mexico and the major cities have ATMs. While many hotels and restaurants will accept credit cards, smaller shops will prefer to deal in cash. The best form of currency to use is cash in USD which is accepted everywhere or, you can exchange a small amount of cash at the airport or hotel upon your arrival. We recommend keeping the majority of your money locked up safely in the hotel, bringing only what you need with you for the day.

    Remember, your accommodations, meals and ground transportation will all be taken care of so the only items you should need cash for are souvenirs, alcoholic beverages, and gratuities for the guides and drivers (about $10 – $15 per day for the guides and about half that for the drivers). We also strongly recommend leaving copies of your credit cards and their emergency contact numbers at home in case any of your cards are lost while abroad.

  9. Don’t forget your toothbrush! Click here to download our recommended packing list for Mexico.