Work remotely from Mexico

Work remotely from Mexico: 5 helpful tips

Save yourself some hassle by following these pointers.

Remote work is in full force these days, and it’s allowing people to do their jobs from just about anywhere they please. Some are taking the opportunity to visit our neighbor in the south. If you plan to work remotely in Mexico in the near future, you’re certainly in for a great time.

That is — unless you make some mistakes.

Vacationing in Mexico is one thing. Attempting to stay their for an extended time while also working? That’s a bit tricker. Fortunately for you, I’ve put together a list of five tips you should keep in mind before you go and once you get there. If you follow them to a T, they should help things go a little more smoothly for you.

Subscribe to Google Fi and save yourself a hunt for SIM cards

Work remotely from Mexico - Google Fi

I’m not a big fan of using local SIM cards. There’s way too much that can go wrong when the phone number you’re operating with isn’t the one you typically use. Maybe your bank needs to send you an SMS for two-factor authentication and you can’t receive it. Or maybe you have clients or family members who simply don’t know how to call a non-U.S. number.

The easier path is to just keep your current number active at all times. And the most cost-effective way to do that is through Google Fi.

Google Fi has two plans you can subscribe to. One rings up at $25 per month plus $10 for each gig of data you use. The other, Unlimited Plus, charges $70 per month but gives you all the data you could possibly want.

What’s great about Fi is that it works abroad with no extra fees. You’ll get the same service while you work remotely in Mexico as you do at home. And you can add other devices to your account — such as tablets or hotspots — at no additional cost. Those use the same pool of data as your phone, enabling you to keep a iron grip on your budget.

Use a temporary ticketing service to book your return flight

Work remotely from Mexico - Onward Ticket

I’ve been through the Mexican border numerous times and haven’t been hassled about showing a return flight home. In fact, I can’t recall a single instance where someone didn’t ask me why I was coming and then immediately stamp me for a 180-day stay.

Still, I recommend having some sort of return trip booked — if only temporary. Because I have found that airlines can get very picky about this depending on who’s working at the check-in desk.

The most straightforward solution is a website called Onward Ticket. It’ll book you a return ticket for a brief period of time — long enough for you to get to your destination — and then automatically cancel it.

If you don’t know how long you’re staying in Mexico and want to play your travel by ear, Onward Ticket ensures you don’t spend full price on a fare you’re probably not going to use.

Ask for internet speeds before booking a rental

Work remotely from Mexico - Speed Test

Mexico is full of beautiful rentals. Spend a few minutes browsing Airbnb and you’ll marvel at the scenic stays you can book for a great price.

Don’t automatically assume, though, that a nice-looking condo by the beach or a swanky downtown apartment has awesome internet. Airbnb owners, like a lot of landlord types, will sometimes cut corners to save some cash. Internet service is one such corner.

Before you book anywhere, I highly recommend that you engage in some dialogue with the owner to ask about internet speed. See if they can send you a screenshot of an internet speed test. Also inquire about who has access to the connection. If it’s just for your rental, great. If it’s shared between multiple units, not so great.

Doing this will save you a whole lot of stress and anxiety while you’re attempting to work remotely in Mexico. You don’t want to arrive, settle in, and suddenly find out that you can’t actually get any work done.

Don’t carry a lot of cash around

Money

I’ve mostly found my travels in Mexico to be fairly safe. It’s like I tell anyone who asks: common sense goes a long way. There are places you shouldn’t walk through at night in Mexico just like there are places you shouldn’t walk through at night in the U.S.

I do recommend you keep your cash on hand to a minimum, however, but not because of the everyday people you’ll come into contact with while in Mexico. One thing that does set this country apart from the U.S. is that the police have a bit of a reputation when it comes to robbing tourists.

This isn’t a super widespread problem by any means. I’ve personally never had it happen to me at all. But I’ve met some victims of it. The story usually goes like this: they’re out late when there aren’t a lot of other people around. So perhaps some advice is to avoid doing that.

But you should prepare anyway by keeping roughly 100 pesos in your wallet — just for this purpose and nothing else. That way you have something on you to sacrifice. Aside from that, if you can, try not to carry any other cash. Use a card instead.

Make time for exploring

Explore

Last but not least, remember not to get caught up your job while you work remotely in Mexico. After all, if you’re just going to confine yourself to a rental all day to write, code or do whatever your job is, what’s the point of going? Why put yourself in a new place to do the same old thing?

Instead, make sure you set aside some time to explore your surroundings and see the sights. Tour the ruins. Visit some museums. Hit up as many Mexican restaurants as humanly possible. By all means: don’t let the opportunity you have go to waste.

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