Tourists make their own traps here. Bargaining is common in Mexico, mainly at the curio shops. Many people are not familiar with bargaining and feel awkward. "How do I know I'm getting a good price for that?"
This is my attitude: "Pay what you think it's worth."
Mexico is a poorer country and it is much more difficult for the average person to make a decent living--even if it's less expensive to live there--than for people in some other countries.
That guy trying to sell you a big beautiful sombrero, works strictly on commission (no minimum pay for him,) and makes his money from the difference in price between the amount you pay and what his boss insists on getting. Say, for example, you see a blanket, the perfect color for the guest room, you look at it and instantly the salesman is at your service. "$20.00," He boldly informs you, "Is the price."
You like it but it's not made well enough to pay that much. You walk away and he offers to give you a better price, "What do you offer?" He asks.
Here you can make an enemy or a friend. If your counter is so low as to be insulting, he won't budge from the $20.00. If your counter-offer is reasonable he'll continue the bargaining until a price is agreed upon. Usually, when they say it's the lowest they can go and they let you walk away, then you won't get it much cheaper anywhere down the line.
While you proudly brag to your friends what a great deal you negotiated, remember, that guy probably made no more than $.50 to $2.00 on the sale. The past year or so the streets have been filling up with hawkers, almost not enough room for the tourists. There is no welfare or Social Program for those out of work in Mexico and there has been a more effective USA campagin to keep people from illegally crossing the border from Mexico to the USA (to find low paying jobs no one else wants to do.) These people have to feed themselves and their families. So, more hawkers on the street.
Right, we all know credit card fraud is on the rise, it comes as no surprise. Recently on one of my many trips to Rosarito a fellow traveler used a credit card to pay (not through previous reservation) for her stay at the hotel with her credit card. Fast forward 2 weeks later, she notices loads of transactions in the San Diego, Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada area. Her credit card was cloned by one of the employees!! Yet another hazard for tourists the world over.
Do Not Park on a City Street! I don't need to elaborate as you can imagine the kinds of things that could happen to your vehicles. Learn from other poor sods whose experiences run the gamut from punctured tires, missing lights, dents, broken glass, stoles stereos, monitors, t.v.'s, to stolen vehicles period! Beware.
Whenever we have arrived in a city without a room booked, and tried to use the information kiosks at the airport, we have been disappointed. Maybe it's just us, but we always spend the day after by looking for new lodgings.
Unique Suggestions: Try to find someone who knows the town to suggest an alternative. While we were in Chiang Mai Thailand, we found a picture of the type of hotel room we wanted to stay in at an Internet Cafe, and asked the girl who worked there if there was something like it around.
Fun Alternatives: Get a travel book, "Let's Go", "Frommers", "Rough Guide", etc., and spend a little time before you leave one town to find lodging in the next. I know this sounds pretty basic, and experienced travellers may say, "You don't do that?", but sometimes it's a good idea to repeat the basics.