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 two 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. 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. Hostels are even cheaper than that. 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. If you eat at good restaurants three 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!
Book your trip now!
Book your flight
The first thing you have to do is find cheap flights. But where do you find those? There are many search engines, but the one I highly recommend is Skyscanner. Here you can compare fares from all over the world and pick the one that suits you best.
Book your accommodation
The next thing you have to do is secure your lodging. Whether you prefer a hostel, a guesthouse, a B&B, or a hotel, you can find them all on Booking. You can find lodging of all kinds ranging from cheap to expensive and somewhere in between. Many people have scored good deals using it.
Another popular option is Hostelworld. This website focuses on hostels as opposed to hotels.
Book a tour
In some places, you might want to hire a tour. Not all places are equally accessible to visit by oneself. It helps enormously when you visit with a local guide who can show you around and answer any questions you might have…all in your native language. My to-go place is Viator as they offer tours of all kinds and have a presence all over the world.
Rent a car
Public transportation is usually cheaper than renting a car, but it’s sometimes more complicated and time-consuming. That’s a reality. In some cases, it’s more convenient to rent a car. My recommendation is Rentalcars.com. Here you can compare rates and choose the one that fits you best.
Book your bus tickets
You can save money by booking bus tickets online. My favorite site to do this is Busbud.
Get travel insurance
Never travel without a travel insurance policy, especially during these days! Travel insurance can save your life. My recommendations are World Nomads and Insured Nomads. Both companies cover COVID-19 related incidents, which is crucial these days.
Just click on the “Plan your trip” tab at the top of this page, and you will find more resources like getting Mexican insurance for your foreign car, buying travel accessories, and learning Spanish. And, of course, don’t forget to check back often to read about more tips on Mexico travel.