Travel Advisory: Day of the Dead, Mexico City
Regional Security Information Manager, Mason Wray, “As thousands of travellers head to Mexico City for the Day of the Dead festival, we advise taking a few precautionary security measures. Generally, it’s opportunistic petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, that effect visitors in the crowded celebrations. Also, travellers should take care when going to and from the celebrations, and should consider avoiding self-driving, as roads will be particularly busy.
“Business travellers in the area, even if not visiting the celebrations, should allow additional time to move around the city and take precautions to ensure their trip is not impacted by the celebrations.”
Travel Security Tips when visiting Day of the Dead, Mexico City
1. What travel advice would you give to those planning on travelling to Mexico City for the Day of the Dead festival?
- Maintaining a low profile is a necessary precaution while keeping in mind that no area is immune to petty street crime, even in upscale neighborhoods or around exclusive hotels. Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth. Do not carry excessive amounts of cash or wear visible jewelry; avoid carrying expensive items, such as cameras or laptop computers. Carry only what is necessary for the day and avoid walking as much as possible after dark, when the risk of being targeted increases.
- Remain vigilant to your surroundings and reject unsolicited offers of food or drink from strangers; criminals occasionally drug their victims before carrying out robberies or assaults.
- Criminals are commonly armed; if targeted, avoid doing anything to resist or antagonize the assailant.
- Consult local contacts to ascertain specific details regarding festival events in your area and ensure that road travel bypasses affected routes. Allocate plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Pre-book accommodation and private transport for important journeys prior to travel. Having transportation arranged by the hotel or restaurant is the best way to use taxi services. Few drivers speak fluent English, so pre-arrangement will help more smoothly facilitate your transportation. Avoid flagging taxis in the street or using taxis that lack a professional license.
- Ride-sharing services such as Uber are another suitable method of transportation. The cashless transaction with the driver and the ability to see driver and car details prior to departure add layers of security.
- Choose business-class accommodations rather than low-budget hotels or hostels due to increased security measures. It’s preferable to stay in a more upscale area of the city including Polanco, Santa Fe, La Condesa or Colonia Roma, among others.
2. What are the biggest dangers for visitors attending the Day of the Dead festival?
- Mexico City does experience regular instances of violent crime, but this typically affects the local community more than visitors. The most significant risks will be from petty crime, with criminals taking advantage of the influx of tourists and distracting atmosphere to carry out common robberies and pickpocket visitors perceived to be wealthy. Being overly inebriated may leave someone further vulnerable and increase that individual’s risk of falling victim to such crimes. Finally, population density and hectic traffic conditions will make self-driving in the city a practice that should be avoided due to the risk of an accident.
3. Would you give any different advice to women planning on travelling to the Day of the Dead festival?
- In general, Mexico City is a fairly progressive city where the risks affecting women will be largely the same as those faced by male travellers. However, female travellers should be particularly cautious about walking or travelling alone after dark, as well as becoming inebriated during the festival as this will increase their vulnerability to sexual assault. In public places, women may be the unwilling recipients of whistling and cat-calls. The best response is to ignore the attention. Groping in crowded public places may also occur.
About International SOS and Control Risks
Our alliance brings together two of the world’s leading medical and security specialists, International SOS and Control Risks. Our combined resources and expertise are well placed to meet the customers’ growing need for integrated travel security risk services. Our solutions ensure that mobile employees are safe and productive and help employers with their duty of care obligations. 50 dedicated experts, located across the globe with access to over 200 dedicated travel security experts through 26 regional Assistance Centres and a partner network of over 700 accredited providers, produce global travel security information and analysis 24/7. We also provide travel security training, preventative travel assessment, support with the development of travel security risk policies, evacuation plans and the latest technology to enable clients to track and communicate with their mobile employees.