If you’re looking to visit Mexico on a budget, here are some tips to help you save money: 1
How to visit Mexico on a budget
Decide on your preferred area
First and foremost, it’s important to choose a location that fits within your budget. Mexico is a vast country, with many diverse regions ranging from bustling cities to serene beach destinations, each with their own unique price points. By understanding the cost of living in each location, you can easily choose the best place suited for your budget.
It’s not uncommon for travelers who wish to see as much as possible to gravitate towards expansive touring packages. However, these can quickly become quite pricey. Instead, consider focusing mainly on one or two cities or regions.
Lastly, take into account that popular tourist locations are naturally going to be more expensive than less-frequented areas. Opting for lesser-known towns and cities may provide a more immersive cultural experience while simultaneously reducing costs.
A backpacker might choose Oaxaca over Cancun, for example. While both offer unique attractions, Oaxaca presents a more authentic cultural experience and has lower overall prices for accommodation, food, and entertainment.
- Avoid costly touring packages and focus on one or two cities or regions.
- Research the cost of living in each location before choosing where to travel.
- Consider visiting during off-peak seasons when prices are generally lower.
- Opt for lesser-known towns and cities to reduce costs and have a more authentic cultural experience.
- Prioritize budget over sightseeing, don’t blow your budget just to visit a certain must-see sight.
- Choose your location carefully keeping your budget, timeframe, and interests in mind.
Plan Transportation Wisely
Moving forward, let’s cover transportation. When travelling to Mexico, flying is often the easiest and quickest option, but it isn’t always the cheapest. Prices can fluctuate greatly depending on various factors such as location, time of year, airline and how far in advance you book.
Another part of transportation to consider is within the country itself. Once again keep your budget in mind when planning this. Public transport is generally very cheap in Mexico and a convenient way to explore the city.
Lastly when hiring taxis or rideshares always agree on a fare upfront to avoid any surprise charges at the end of your journey. Also research typical fares and distances between common places in order to not get ripped off.
Let’s say you’re traveling from Mexico City to Puebla. Instead of hiring a private driver, you might find it more budget-friendly to take the bus. Pullman de Morelos offers an affordable, comfortable ride and will take you there in roughly under three hours.
- Compare flight prices well ahead of your travel date to score better deals.
- Use public transportation within the country as much as possible – it’s cheaper and a great way to experience local life.
- Avoid taxi scams by researching typical fares beforehand and agreeing to charges upfront.
- Consider taking buses for longer distances with reputable companies like Pullman de Morelos.
- Walk whenever possible instead of driving or using taxis to save money.
- Avoid major international car hire chains – opting for local rental services can often be less expensive.
Select Budget-Friendly Accommodations
One of the biggest expenses of any trip is likely to be accommodation. In Mexico, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to choose from, including hostels, budget hotels, and vacation rentals. These offer great value and will significantly lower your overall trip costs.
While hotels are often seen as the go-to option, they may not necessarily be the most economical choice. Staying in a hostel doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your privacy — many offer private rooms while still retaining the price benefits of shared accommodations.
Lastly, consider rentals. Platforms like Airbnb can provide affordable accommodations with the additional benefit of cooking facilities, allowing you to make your own meals and save on restaurant expenses.
To illustrate, many quality hostels in Mexico City, like Hostal Regina, have private rooms for less than $20 a night. With these prices, you can extend your stay and still stay within budget.
- Explore multiple accommodation options including vacation rentals, budget hotels and hostels.
- Hostels often have private rooms available at a fraction of the cost of hotels.
- Use online platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com to find budget-friendly accommodations.
- Hotels located farther away from city centers and tourist hotspots tend to be cheaper.
- Share accommodations with other travelers if possible to cut down on costs.
- Look for accommodation with kitchen facilities so you can save money by preparing some meals yourself.
Eat Like a Local
One of the great joys of travel is trying new food and drinks. However, dining out for every meal is not sustainable when you’re traveling on a budget. Luckily, Mexico offers delicious street food that is both affordable and authentic.
Therefore, don’t shy away from street vendors. Eating local has dual benefits- it is not only more cost effective, but you also get to experience the true taste of Mexican cuisine by trying what locals eat everyday.
But of course, always keep safety in mind while eating street food. Look for stalls that are busy with locals – they know where the best (and safest) eats are. High turnover means the food is fresh — another point in favor of safety.
Imagine this situation: For breakfast, you grab a tamale and atole from a street vendor. Lunch could be tacos al pastor or maybe a torta from a local sandwich shop. For less than $5, you’ve experienced true Mexican cuisine and kept your food budget in check.
- Street food isn’t just affordable but also provides an authentic taste of local culture.
- Choose street stalls with high turnover to ensure fresh and safe eats.
- Avoid eating at touristy restaurants that tend to charge higher prices for the same foods you can get elsewhere.
- Look for “comida corrida” places – these are small restaurants that offer a set meal for a fixed price, typically very reasonable.
- Save more by drinking local beverages instead of imported drinks.
- Purchase grocery items from local markets and prepare some meals yourself if possible.
Plan Free or Low Cost Activities
Mexico boasts cultural treasure troves waiting to be explored. Many of them won’t cost you a thing! Entrance fees can often add up to quite a significant amount of money, but by steering clear of fancy tours and popular tourist traps you can save yourself quite a bit.
Take advantage of free things to do. There are always plenty of them around if you know where to look. This might include visiting local markets, exploring public parks, attending street festivals, or just wandering around to take in the sights.
Lastly, when you do visit attractions that require entrance fees, see if they have special discounts for certain groups — students, seniors or locals often get lower rates. It never hurts to ask!
Imagine going for a hike in Chipinque Park in Monterrey. It’s completely free and offers stunning views over the city. After that, you could wander through the colorful Mercado Juarez market, taking in the atmosphere without spending a cent.
- Research beforehand about free or low-cost things to do in your destination.
- Take advantage of natural beauty Mexico offers – hit the beach or explore local parks without spending a penny.
- Avoid paid tours when possible and explore on your own to save money.
- Attend free local events or festivals for inexpensive entertainment.
- Always ask if there are discounts available at attractions that require entrance fees.
- If you plan to visit multiple attractions, consider getting a city pass. These often bundle together popular sights at a discounted rate.
Understand Currency Exchange Rates
When it comes to managing your travel budget, understanding currency exchange is crucial. The value of your home currency versus the Mexican peso can make a huge difference in the amount of money you’ll be able to spend.
Before leaving home, it’s recommended that you research the current exchange rate so you can start planning your budget. Also, take note of any fluctuations during your trip as this may affect how much you have to spend.
Lastly, avoid exchanging your currency at airports or hotels as these often have notoriously bad rates. Instead, use a reliable local bank or ATM that charges low international transaction fees.
For instance, instead of converting all your cash at once, withdraw what you need as you go from local ATMs. This approach often gives you a better exchange rate than exchanging money at the airport or hotel.
- Research current exchange rates before departing for your trip.
- Avoid converting currency at places with high conversion rates like airports or hotels. Instead, opt for local banks or ATMs.
- Plan your daily expenditures keeping the exchange rate in mind to ensure you don’t overspend due to miscalculations.
- Withdraw only what you’ll need for a couple of days to avoid carrying around large amounts of cash.
- Keep an eye on exchange rate fluctuations during your trip as they may affect your budgeting.
- Consider getting a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card if you frequently travel abroad to save on conversion fees.
How you pack for your trip can significantly impact your travel costs, especially when it comes to baggage fees. Many airlines now charge for checked luggage, and the fees can add up quickly, particularly if your bag is over the weight limit.
Packing only the absolute necessities can not only save you money on these excess baggage charges, but also leave room for any souvenirs or purchases you make during the trip.
Lastly, be sure to check the weather forecast before you leave so you can pack appropriate clothing and avoid having to buy items when you get there.
For instance, if your trip includes both beach locales and higher-altitude areas like Mexico City, aim to bring versatile clothing items that can suit multiple climates. A light jacket, sturdy walking shoes, swimwear, and layers can go a long way.
- Avoid checking a bag if possible to save on baggage fees.
- Pack versatile clothing that can be worn in different climates and situations.
- Avoid packing any unnecessary items that you could easily buy in Mexico.
- Bring an empty bag for any souvenirs or purchases you make.
- Check the airline’s baggage policies and fees during your flight booking process.
- Remember essential travel documents and secure valuable belongings in carry-on bags.
One of the best ways to save money while traveling in Mexico is by choosing off-peak times for your visit. Tourism tends to drive up prices, so visiting during the most popular times of the year will likely lead to higher costs for accommodations, flights, and attractions.
On the contrary, if you travel during off-peak or shoulder seasons, you not only dodge large crowds but also enjoy lower prices. However, do your research as some services might be limited during these times.
Lastly, keep the weather in mind. You don’t want to sacrifice a good time for the sake of saving a few bucks. But generally, Mexico’s climate is pleasant year-round making it an ideal budget destination.
Let us consider airline tickets for instance. The difference in price between peak season (around Christmas and Easter) and off-peak season (such as May or September) can be significant. With a bit of planning and flexibility, you can secure more affordable airline tickets and hotel rates.
- Plan your trip during off-peak seasons to take advantage of lower prices.
- Do your research on seasonal climate changes to ensure good weather during your visit.
- Be flexible with travel dates to get the best deals on flights and accommodations.
- Book flights and accommodations well in advance to secure cheaper rates.
- Avoid major holidays when traveling to popular tourist destinations.
- Use flight comparison websites to see when it’ll be cheapest to fly.
Purchase Travel Insurance
One mistake many budget travelers make is neglecting to purchase travel insurance. While it may seem like an unnecessary cost, it can actually save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Accidents, illness, theft, and travel disruptions are all real possibilities that come along with any travel journey.
Choose travel insurance that suits your travel style and covers your planned activities. Do remember to appreciate what the deductible will be and confirm the insurance company’s legitimacy.
While hopefully you’ll never need to use it, travel insurance can give you peace of mind knowing you’re covered should anything go wrong.
Take this situation for example: If you lose your luggage during transit, without travel insurance, replacing the lost items can put a significant dent in your budget. But if you’re insured, the costs of lost luggage will be covered by your insurance policy.
- Purchase travel insurance to protect against unforeseen travel mishaps.
- Shop around to find an insurance package that suits your needs and budget.
- Ensure your policy covers all activities planned during your trip.
- Check what won’t be covered by the policy. Often pre-existing conditions or injuries caused by ‘risky behavior’ are excluded.
- Keep a copy of your policy and the contact information for your insurance company readily available in case you need it.
- Always read the fine print before purchasing any travel insurance plan.
|Decide on Your Preferred Area
|Plan Transportation Wisely
|Select Budget-Friendly Accommodations
|Eat Like a Local
|Choose locations based on cost of living and seasonal prices.
|Opt for public transportation, cycle or walk when possible.
|Consider hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals instead of expensive hotels.
|Enjoy affordable local cuisines from street vendors and local eateries.
|Plan Free or Low Cost Activities
|Understand Currency Exchange Rates
|Look for free or low-cost recreational activities, including natural parks, local markets, and festivals.
|Keep a track of current exchange rates and plan expenditures accordingly.
|Bring necessary items only and avoid overpacking to save on baggage fees.
|Plan your travel date during off-peak seasons to get lower prices on flights and accommodations.
|Purchase Travel Insurance
|Safeguard your trip with a suitable travel insurance plan that covers unforeseen travel mishaps.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy all that Mexico has to offer without breaking the bank. Happy travels!