When people think of vacationing, money is always one of the first things to come to mind. “I don’t have any money”, “I can’t afford it”, “It costs too much”, among other phrases are some of the most common excuses you will hear. The truth is, you don’t have to break your back to travel! Cheap Mexico vacations are a reality. With the right mindset and planning, you can make it happen.
If you have followed me for some time, you know by now that travel is one of my passions. However, that doesn’t mean I spend a fortune when I travel. I always try to look for deals or the best possible price. Fortunately, with all the advancements in technology, we can do it all from the comfort of our own homes. Let’s get started!
Tips to Save on Transportation
Flights can be expensive; we all know it. It can be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation, especially if you’re flying from a remote location. When you look online, you may see high prices and that’s disheartening, but you can make it. Trust me.
Below are some tips that could help you save money on airfare:
- Be flexible about the dates and destinations. If possible, avoid traveling during the peak season.
- Set up as many alerts as you can on different websites. You will have a better idea of when is the best time to buy.
- Book your flight at least 3 months in advance.
- Fly as light as possible. This way you can avoid costly baggage fees.
- Compare prices on third-party sites and directly on the airline websites as well.
- Never buy on impulse.
Our American friends have an advantage over those coming from afar. Driving could be an option. Even after fuel, insurance, tolls, and other related expenses, it could be an alternative to flying. It’s a great way of saving money.
The Mexican government has a calculator where you can create a route between 2 points (you can even add stops along your route) and get an estimate of how much you will spend on things like fuel and tolls. You can check it out here.
Tips to Save on Lodging
This is another important expense to consider. In fact, some tips to save money on transportation can also be used to save money on lodging. For instance, avoid booking a room during the peak season as prices are generally higher during those dates.
When I think of lodging, I don’t think of the best or most expensive hotel in town. I only want a clean, affordable, and well-located place where I can sleep and take a shower. If you think it carefully, it’s not too much asking. I can tell from experience. After all, I’m not planning to stay at the hotel the whole time.
Here are some tips to save money:
- Bundle up. If you pay for your flight and hotel together, you could get a good deal.
- Forget about all-inclusive places. Although you can sometimes get a lower price, they’re usually more expensive than other lodging options.
- Just like flights, set up as many alerts as you can. Try different sites like Expedia, Booking, and Hotels.com.
- Be flexible about the dates.
- Lower your expectations. For instance, you can get a cheaper room if breakfast is not included.
- You don’t have to stay at a hotel. Remember there are other options out there like hostels and Airbnb.
- Do you have a friend or relative in town? You could get free lodging!
You can find a room for as low as $30. Just read the reviews from other people who have stayed there before so you can make an informed decision.
Tips to Save on Meals
Mexico has many dining options for everyone. There are cheap, expensive, and in-between places where you can eat. Obviously, if you eat at good restaurants 3 times a day every single day, it will add up, more so if you’re paying for other people. What can you do in this case?
For starters, you don’t have to starve to death to save money. Some people only eat 2 times a day to save money. Not me. Breakfast is sacred in my book and I can’t start my day off without it. Having said that, you could do some of the following:
- Use apps like Foursquare and Yelp to look for affordable places in your area. I always use them when traveling and they have saved my life more than once.
- Consider buying from a street vendor.
- If you’re concerned about buying food on the street, look for other affordable options. In Mexico, you can find places that are cheaper than restaurants. They go by different names depending on where you go. You can find them as fonda, cocina económica, or cenaduría. The food they serve is more authentic and affordable, not to mention it’s delicious!
- Each city has a mercado (market). They all have good food at low prices. It’s a great way to experience the city culture at its finest.
- Ask the locals for recommendations. I’ve done it many times. You will always find someone willing to help you.
- Do your cooking. It may not be your first option, but it could save you big money.
Realistically speaking, you can look at 50-120 pesos (between $2.75-$6.50) per person per meal when eating outside. No kidding. Isn’t that great?
More Tips to Save
Aside from flights, lodging, and meals, there are more ways to save money during your trip. Here are some ideas:
- Do you really need to rent a car? Chances are you don’t. If you’re not planning to visit other locations far from town, you’re better off without one.
- Uber offers service in many Mexican cities. Their prices are lower than their American or European counterparts, but their service is as good.
- Even better, consider using public transportation. You could ride the subway or the bus.
- Buy your souvenirs in the city market. You will see higher prices at stores located in touristy areas.
- Make a budget and stick to it.
- Look for free activities in town. Believe it or not, you can have fun and not spend a single dime!
- If traveling on a budget, avoid taking tours when possible. You can visit some places on your own and save money.
- Don’t exchange money at the airport. They have the worst rates ever.
- Only use your credit cards for emergencies. Preferably, use a card with no foreign transaction fees.
Cheap Mexico vacations are a reality! Don’t take my word for it. Just do some research and you will find tons of articles and videos on the subject online.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel and have a good time. You will have to make some sacrifices like taking connecting flights, staying at cheap hotels, and eating at markets, but it’s all part of the experience. Nothing extreme. Some people take extreme measures like backpacking to save even more. It’s up to you.
What do you think? Did you make up your mind? What would you add or remove from the list? Let me know in the comments below. See you soon!