So going to California may sound like a great vacation place, but to add a bit of vitality and exotic excitement to your holiday, how about taking a short day trip across the border into Mexico? If you are in the San Diego, a detour into Tijuana, Mexico is easier than you might think ñ you can even take the San Diego Trolley down to the border from where you can walk across.
One of the most important things to remember is that this is legally leaving the US and so you MUST have your passport, or other forms of ID (including photographic) with you otherwise youíre going to have problems getting back into the US! Although you canít use your driverís license in place of a passport, you can use this as photographic evidence along with other proof of nationality. Whilst you are in Mexico make sure that you keep your official papers in a safe place and never unattended.
The US/Mexico border is open 24 hours a day, so thereís no closing time, but if you are relying on the trolley bus to get you back to central San Diego, you need to find out the time the last trolley runs each night and ensure you cross the border at least an hour before that ñ depending on how many tourists have spent the day in Mexico, and how many of them have paperwork problems on their return, it can take over 45mins to clear customs ñ better still, aim to catch the one-before-last trolley so you have a fallback plan if something goes wrong at the border patrol!
If you have a hire car for your California vacation, you wonít be allowed to take this across the border so be prepared to park it on the American side of the border and then either walking or taking the shuttle bus across. If you have your own car, you have the option of taking your car into Mexico, or parking it on the US side of the border. If you take your car, note that you will need to allow for more time to clear customs and immigration at the US border on your return into America, than you would if you were on foot.
Make sure you get a map with local information on it before entering Mexico. Find out which areas are ìsafeî and tourist friendly, the areas to avoid, and where you can go for help if you get into some kind of trouble. Most tourists to Mexico have a great time and return to the US unscathed and wanting to return another day, there are however, those who donít. As long as you stick to the tourist ìrulesî and take warnings issued by the US government seriously, youíll have a great time and be one of those people who long to return to Mexico another time.