Changing currency from your national flavor to the Peso is nothing
that you need any help doing. However, there are easier ways to exchange
money than going to the local bank and waiting in line (sometimes
for an hour) to cash travelers checks or to trade your currency for
To begin with, there is no need to travel with large sums of money
on your person whether in your national currency or the Peso.
If you are traveling for any period of a week or more, I would have
to recommend against spending money over the International exchange
rate day after day to trade currency at a bank or Casa de Cambio.
Make no mistake about it . . . banks exist to make a profit and each
time you exchange money, they will take their cut. If you bring cash
to Mexico, by all means bring the dollar. You will find that other
currencies have exchange rates there that are down right insulting.
The safest and easiest way to fund your cash need is to begin with
buying some Pesos at your bank before you go.
Next, remember that if you have a charge card, use it whenever possible
as the set International currency exchange rate will apply.
For those times when you need some cash . . . remember that you
can go to a Walmart, pay with a Visa/Debit card and get some walking
around money back. Or, use the ATM.
However, be aware of the ATM scam now popular in some parts of Mexico.
This is a high tech form of robbery that will give you plenty of
headaches. The crooks (in this case) attach a card reader that looks
like it is part of the ATM machine and will copy the magnetic strip
on your card when inserted. This is used in combination with a hidden
camera that will record your PIN number. Both the data from your
magnetic strip and the hidden camera are wirelessly transmitted to
a nearby car with a laptop. This information is then used to make
an exact duplicate of your card . . . and there are reports of the
crooks withdrawing $1500 dollars a day with the duplicate card (Interesting
because you could only draw $500 per day).
Protect yourself by only using ATM machines inside banks.
Try to use the same machine so that you notice any changes in appearance
(particularly over the card reader) . Watch for hidden cameras at an angle
to see your PIN number and place one hand over the one you are using to punch
in the PIN number (in case there is a hidden camera you don't see).