6 Ways to Save Money on Vacation in Mexico

Mexico is a fun and exciting place and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for a reason. That said, it can also be extremely expensive if you’re not careful and just think that you’re going to get great deals based on currency exchange rates alone. This being the case, let me show you that there are many ways to save money while on vacation in Mexico. All it takes is a little knowledge and simple planning.


1. Plan Your Destinations and Avoid Tour Groups

Speaking of planning, one of the best ways to save money on a trip to Mexico, or a trip anywhere really, is to plan your destinations ahead of time. Not only will this keep you engaged and more entertained overall, but it will also help you to manage your time and money more efficiently as well.

For example, maybe you want to go to Cancun for spring break like everyone else loves to do. If so, don’t just take off and expect to figure out what to do when you get there. Instead, plan out specific destinations, attractions, and venues in the Cancun area that you want to visit and when. This way you’ll be able to visit more places, spend less money, and have a better trip.

One other thing I want to mention is that if you’re really serious about saving money, you should probably avoid tourist groups in Mexico. The reason for this is that Mexican locals know that tourists are huge marks and will nickel and dime you every chance they get. Trust me, it’s nothing personal, it’s just the way the tourism industry works. Even so, you’ll be charged to the max for transportation, tour guides, and souvenirs. This means that if you’re looking to save money, you’re better off seeing the sights with your own group.


2. Pay in Pesos as Much as Possible

If you come from somewhere with a strong currency like the US, EU, or Jordan, then you’re probably thinking that the currency exchange rates are going to make everything in Mexico super cheap. This is correct, but also incorrect. The thing is if you’re paying with your credit card or something like Paypal, the fact that you’re using a more valuable currency is going to have less of an impact. Why? Because of foreign transaction fees.

To get around this, you need to convert your currency into pesos to get the maximum value out of it. However, this presents its own issue since traveling around Mexico with a ton of pesos on you isn’t exactly the safest thing to do. Instead, convert your money into just a few hundred pesos (which you should keep closely guarded at all times) and use a Mexican prepaid travel card for the rest of your expenses. The advantage of using a prepaid card is that they get far better exchange rates than typical credit cards so you get more value out of your transactions.


3. Ship Your Car

If you’re avoiding tour groups in Mexico as suggested, then that also means you’ll need a way to get around. While public transportation in Mexico is fairly cheap, it might be even cheaper to hire a company that ships cars to send your vehicle over for you. This of course depends on how much traveling you’ll actually be doing in Mexico. For example, if you’re going to travel the entire country, then yes, having your own vehicle would probably be worth it. On the other hand, if you’re just going to be hanging out around a tourist city like Cancun or Mexico City that has a good public transportation network, then you may just want to use that instead.


4. Budget Your Food and Drink

Perhaps the easiest expense to blow your money on in Mexico is food and drink. It’s delicious, plentiful, and very cheap in moderate amounts. However, if you go overboard and being eating out at restaurants that specifically target tourists every day, then you will spend a lot more money on food than you may think.

The solution to this problem is to budget accordingly. Instead of eating out for every meal, visit a grocery store and pick up what you need for easy meals. By splitting your budget into money for eating out and money for groceries, you’ll save a lot more than you might expect.


5. Use a Sim Card or Wi-Fi

If you’re using your phone or mobile device a lot in Mexico, international roaming rates can be one of your biggest expenses. Even worse is the fact that you probably won’t even know how high your bill is until you get it. You really don’t want this to happen as it could really sour your experience.

The best alternative to this is to either purchase a Mexican sim card or use Wi-Fi. Sim cards in particular offer exponentially cheaper rates than most international roaming plans and the money you save on GPS will more than makeup for the cost of the card. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, isn’t a bad option but you should know that in tourist areas hackers regularly monitor Wi-Fi connections to try to steal valuable data from people like you. If you want to use Wi-Fi, make sure your device is protected and even consider using a VPN (virtual private network) for its enhanced security measures.


6. Buy Tour Tickets in Advance

I know I’ve said to avoid tours if you want to save money, but if you really want to go on one, then you should buy your tickets in advance. This is because if you decide to go on a tour on a whim, then you can expect to stand in a long line and pay a sizable fee. Save time and money by being smart and ordering your tickets in advance.

On the subject of tickets, you will also save a lot of money if you buy your plane tickets well in advance if you’re traveling to Mexico by air. It will also give you plenty of time to compare prices and check out other ways to save money on your trip.

Plan Ahead and Save Money

How much money you save in Mexico really does come down to planning ahead as much as possible. This will give you an idea of how much you’re going to spend so that you can keep everything within your budget. That said, make sure you have a little extra cash on hand because there are always surprises when you travel to other countries. This way you don’t have to miss out on something amazing because you were too strict in your budgeting. If you can do that, then your trip to Mexico will be one to remember without breaking your bank account.


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