Thrifty Travel Guide: How To Experience Mexico on a Budget

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Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.

It might seem like you need an extensive budget to have a great experience in Mexico. Flights, five-star accommodations, and excellent cuisine can all come at a premium.

However, many people need to realize that you can make Mexico a fantastic vacation destination on a tight budget. Follow our travel tips and tricks to get a five-star holiday on a two-star budget.

Be Flexible With Your Destination

Gulf of
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

One of the easiest ways to get a cheap flight to Mexico is by being flexible with where you’re willing to land.

Although the regions can differ wildly around Mexico, from the enormous waves and blue surf on the West Coast to the jungle atmosphere with blue lagoons on the East Coast, they’re all equally fun and fantastic to visit.

Whichever main city you fly into, you can choose to stay in a private cabana, a small hotel, or even an all-inclusive resort, whichever fits your style.

Pre-Plan Your Transportation

Sayulita Nararit
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

First-time travelers might need to realize how large Mexico is. For example, if you’re flying into Puerto Vallarta and staying in the chic bohemian surfing village called Sayulita, you’ll need to drive through the jungle for over an hour.

Instead of haggling for an overpriced taxi at the airport or missing the bus that takes more than double the time, you pre-book private transportation to and from the airport for less than the cost of one taxi ride. Or, you can even rent a car for as low as $5 a day for an economy car.

Choosing any of these options will save you in the long run.

Bring Pesos With You

Woman Holding Pesos
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Usually, trading in USD for pesos at your local bank will be the best deal. But be sure to plan ahead; many smaller banks don’t keep that many Pesos on hand and might need to order them for you.

While most towns and cities in Mexico have an ATM on every corner, they always charge an extra transaction fee, and you certainly won’t get the best or most up-to-date conversion rate.

To save yourself some extra cash, bring more than enough Pesos with you; you can always return to your home bank and exchange the money back to USD.

Stick to a Tight Food Budget

Restaurants in Mexico City
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It can be tempting to go overboard when spending on food and drinks in Mexico. They have some of the best cuisine in the world, and a frozen margarita on the beach can be hard to say no to.

Each region also specializes in something unique, like the molé (chocolate chili sauce) in Mexico City or the chile relleno (cheese stuffed peppers) in Puerto Vallarta.

You’ll want to put aside a specific budget for food to stop you from going down the street and trying every taco in sight. Also, consider stopping at a local market for breakfast, lunch, and snack staples to avoid going to a restaurant for every meal.

Get an International Phone Plan

Woman on her Cellphone
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Finding your way around a foreign country can be an overwhelming experience. Inevitably, most people turn their cellphone data roaming on just to check a map or find a restaurant to eat at.

Instead of dealing with the roaming charges on your next bill, contact your service provider to add international data to your plan. This way, you can use your phone to look up directions or search for transportation.

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