By Andrea Zheng

Hey guys! It’s a few days out from my flight to Merida so it’s time to start preparing. Here are a few tips on things to bring and NOT to bring on this trip. First thing to know about Merida is that it is hot, hot, HOT. Not only that, it’s also very humid. This means that the main attire will be t-shirt/tank top, shorts, and comfy walking shoes. DON’T bring a lot of heavy sweaters and jackets, because even at night, it’s not cold enough to wear those. There will be one fancy thank you lunch for the lovely host mamás at the end of the trip so pack at least one nice outfit (button up shirt, sundress and sandals, something along those lines).

I’ve never been on a trip that I didn’t over pack for, so of course, I packed over 30 shirts and more than 10 pairs of shorts. This is definitely not necessary, as there are laundromats near the houses you will staying at as well as laundry machines in some of the houses, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Also, don’t forget a swimsuit because there will be MANY trips to the beach, both spontaneous trips to the beach 45 minutes away from Merida and planned program-wide excursions to different beaches along the Yucatan Peninsula. Along with a swimsuit, it’s a good idea to bring a towel, sunscreen*, and some flip-flops.

Even though it’s hot in Merida, that doesn’t mean there isn’t rain. There will definitely be thunder and lightning storms so be sure to bring an umbrella and rain jacket to pull out when necessary. Along with rain comes mosquitos, so don’t forget insect repellant to help protect from bites, otherwise you’ll be itching all night long.

Of course, there is also the school side to this program, so be sure to prepare any materials for class that you might need, like notebooks, textbooks, and pencils/pens. While talking about school, I would advise that you try and finish all the homework you can before the program, as this will leave you more time to explore and experience the city while there.

Don’t forget to leave a little extra space in the suitcases in case you’re looking to buy some souvenirs while in Mexico.

Make sure to check with your doctor to get any prescriptions filled that you may need on the trip and make sure you keep them in their original bottle so you don’t have trouble with airport security.

A few logistical things that may need to be done.

  1. Make that you have a passport that won’t expire until at least 6 months after the trip. And if you don’t have a passport, make sure to get one (or a visa) ASAP!
  2. Check with your bank to convert some dollars to pesos for your trip, or ask about their policy for getting money out of the ATMs in Mexico (transaction fees and such).
  3. Check with your phone company about their policy for using data, texting, and calling in Mexico because you might have a plan that can be used in Mexico with no extra fees. 

With my bags packed and flight checked into, I’m extremely excited for this trip and can’t wait to have you guys follow along as I spend the next month in Mexico!

*There is a trip to Xcaret where biodegradable sunscreen is the only type that you can bring in, so it may be a good idea to check Amazon for acceptable brands. Alternatively, you can just buy sunscreen when in Xcaret. 

Andrea Zheng studied abroad in Merida in Summer 2019.