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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico travel’

Get a Passport, Quick to Check Out the Day of the Dead in Mexico

Americans tend to avoid thinking about death unless they simply can't help it. But across the border in Mexico, there is an entire holiday centered around death- El Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.  The Day of the Dead is traditionally a time to honor dead relatives and friends.  It is believed that the souls of the dead are able to return during the celebration and be with their loved ones again. The celebration takes place right after Americans get done celebrating Halloween, and it's actually 2 days long.  On November 1st,  dead children and infants are believed to return in spirit to spend the day with their families. T0 honor them, families decorate their graves and an altar inside the home with little gifts like toys and balloons. The next day, November 2nd, is t

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Not Obtaining a Passport Causes Problems For Oklahoma Columnist

Until last week, Susie Williams-Allen, a newspaper columnist for the Purcell Register in Purcell, Oklahoma, wasn't aware of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The WHTI, which has been in effect since June 1, 2009,  requires that American citizens returning from Mexico prove their identity and citizenship with a US passport on their way back across the border. Last week, she and her husband decided to take a day trip into Mexico without first obtaining a passport.  Unfortunately, on her way back across she learned about the new laws the hard way...from a decidedly unsympathetic border guard. Mrs. Williams-Allen and her husband faced a stern round of questioning before they were eventually allowed back across, treatment that she did not expect from a US border patrol offic

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New Passport Laws Affect Tourism to Small Town in Mexico

The small village of Nuevo Progreso lies just on the other side of the Texas/Mexican border. Known for its safe streets and great bargains on everything from alcohol to medications to souvenirs, over the past few decades Nuevo Progreso has built an economy based largely on Texans who like to winter in Mexico. In the summer, they depend on casual tourists who cross the border to shop. However, after the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect on June, 2009, the ability to casually pop over to the Mexican side of the border became a thing of the past for US residents without passports. The new law requires that citizens show US passports or passport cards to get back into the country. Previously, all you had to have was your driver's license and a birth certificate. Since

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Citizens With US Passports Urged To Avoid Parts Of Mexico

Were you planning to visit the Monarch butterfly breeding grounds in Michoacan, Mexico? According to the US State Department, you'd be better off waiting until next year. Mexico is continuing to experience problems with drug cartel violence in that region, according the AP. US travelers should also stay away from the state of Chihuahua, especially Ciudad Juarez, which has the dubious distinction of being Mexico's most violent city. It would also be a good idea to avoid Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and Matamoros. However, other parts of Mexico are still safe to visit. And, as this article from the San  Francisco Chronicle notes, there are plenty of great deals to be found far away from all of the violence.  Hotels are offering free nights, free upgrades, free meals and more. Swine flu is actu

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Get a Passport to Help Our Southern Neighbors

We've already written about how new passport laws are hurting tourism to Canada. However, it seems that our neighbors to the north are not the only ones feeling the pinch as the result of the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. According to this story in the Arizona Republic, the new passport regulations are also hurting tourism south of the border, the icing on the cake of what was already a less-than-stellar tourism year.  The swine flu panic and a sour economy had already impacted travel, but the passport requirement is keeping out Americans who would otherwise be willing and able to travel across the border. Agencies that provide travel services for Americans traveling to Mexico have experienced a drop in business, as have auto insurance companies that provi

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5 Reasons to Get a Passport Quick for a Vacation in Mexico

As of June 1st, 2009, the US government began requiring that US citizens traveling to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean carry a US passport instead of simply bringing their driver's license and birth certificates. Is visiting Mexico worth the extra trouble it takes to get a passport? Yes, definitely! Here are the top 5 reasons to get a passport to get a passport, quick and visit Mexico this summer: Beaches- Mexico has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world.  Choose from the well-known resorts of Cancun or find a more remote destination like the beaches of Isla Holbox on the Yucatan Peninsula. Rainforests- This article has a wonderful suggestions on how to explore Mexico's rainforests.  Get off the beaten path and check out the scenery and wildlife near the cirt of Tulu

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New Passport Rules A Surprise to Two Former Presidents

The Department of State put a lot of effort into publicizing the changes to US travel requirements that became law on June 1st. They added a clock to US Passport Agency's web site, counting down to the second when the new rules would go into effect. They made announcement after announcement, starting months ahead of time. However, for all their outreach, there were at least 2 people that the State Department failed to reach with their warnings: Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  The two ex-presidents were asked about the new requirements during a joint appearance in Toronto on Saturday, May 29th. As reported in the Winnepeg Free Press, here's how they responded: "I'll be frank with you Frank, I don't know about the passport issue," Bush told the crowd of 6,000.

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One Month Until New Passport Regulations Go Into Effect

Today is May 1st, which means that in exactly one month, new passport regulations will go into effect as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. We've written about the WHTI pretty extensively, but since it's about to become reality, here's  a quick review of the upcoming changes: Passports are already required for air travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.  There are no exceptions, and this will continue after June 1st, 2009. Starting June 1st, 2009, passports will be required for land and sea travel to these locations, too. Currently, all you have to have is a state-issued photo ID and a birth certificate. After June 1, 2009, children under age 16 will be able to use a birth certificate instead of a passport for land and sea travel to these locations only. Afte

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US Passport Holders Cautioned About Travel To Mexico

Recently, the US Department of Stateissued a travel warning for American citizens regarding travel to Mexico. Our neighbor to the south has long been a popular vacation spot for Americans, but  some areas of the country have erupted into violence as drug cartels struggle for power over Mexican police forces and each other. The violence has prompted the Department of State to warn US citizens to use caution while traveling in Mexico. Here's an excerpt from the travel warning (for the full text of current warnings, go to the Department of State's website): It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim.  Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business

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Do I Need a Passport to go to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean?

Travel requirements have been changing so quickly, it can be hard to keep track of what documents are required to go where. However, it's important to stay up-to-date, since not having the correct paperwork can derail your trip!  One of the common questions about travel requirements involves travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, countries covered under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Do you need a passport for travel to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean? Currently, it depends on how you are traveling. If you travel by plane, you have to have a valid US passport to travel from the US to any of these countries. However, if you are driving or traveling by sea, you just need to carry proof of identity (like a driver's license) and proof of citizenship (such as your bir

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