Travel Tip of the Day: Driving with Cash in Mexico

MexicoDriving with Cash in Mexico
Remember that tip from two weeks back about not speeding in Mexico? As I wrote then, if you drive across the border, there’s a chance the police will pull you over in hopes of getting a bribe out of you—so to build on that, here’s a tip I picked up from some of my friends and readers.

When driving in Mexico or any other foreign country where the cops are known for being corrupt, make sure you only carry the amount you’re willing to give up (maybe $50, and more than zero) in your wallet. Meanwhile, your other cash should remain hidden. This way, if you find yourself in a sticky situation, you can show the cops the amount you have in your wallet is all you have (so they don’t try to take more).

 

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Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

4 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Driving with Cash in Mexico"

  1. I think it’s important that your readers know not to immediately assume the police officer wants a bribe just because they were stopped. This is dangerously FALSE info!!!!! Both my husband and I have family in Mexico and have extensive driving experience there since we live in San Diego and it’s only a 20 minute drive away. Many “gringos” tend to call Mexican police federales but here is where the problem begins. All police in Mexico DON’T want a bride or as we call it a “mordida”. There are 2 kids of officers, the Judiciales and the Federales. Basically the local and the federal police. If you can’t tell them apart, which many non-locals can’t, don’t do the mistake of bribing the wrong one or you can land in jail for bribing an officer which is a federal crime. The corrupt officer will always assume the “gringo” doesn’t know what’s up so they will give definite hints at what they want and sometimes even say it out right.

  2. A policeman directing traffic waved me over when he saw the “renta” on my front license plate. He told me that my registration had expired, but the date he was pointing to was actually the date the car was manufactured. I acted like I didn’t understand what was happening, which is what a guidebook had recommended. He took a paper and pen and wrote down “$500” as the amount of the fine I owed, but when I protested he cut the amount in half. I took the pen and paper and started to write down his badge number whereupon he snatched them back from me and immediately sent us on our way.

  3. A couple of years ago we had crossed the border at Tijuana and went down to Rosarito Beach. I ran a stop sign (was hidden) and was pulled over by the police. I suggested I pay the fine there but the police had us drive to the station. On the way there I told my partner to take out all of his cash and I took out all but $32 of my own and we hid the rest under the dash. Upon arrival at the station the officer at the desk told us of our offense and wanted to know how much cash we had. I took out my wallet and said $32. He said the fine was $32. We paid and left.

  4. I live in Mexico and I do not bribe Mexican policemen. Please do not advise your readers to perpetuate the practice of bribing the police. If you are innocent of whatever reason they give you for pulling you over then tell them you want to follow them to the police station and settle the matter there. If you are guilty of a traffic infraction then ask them to write you a ticket and direct/lead you to the police station where you can pay the “official fine”. Nine times out of ten they will let you go with a warning.

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