Going on a trip to Mexico is an exciting adventure filled with culture, amazing food, and beautiful landscapes. However, it's important to budget for this trip in advance so you can get the most out of your experience without breaking the bank. One of the most important aspects of budgeting is knowing how much spending money to bring with you.
Budgeting for a trip to Mexico is crucial because it helps you avoid unnecessary stress during your travels. Without a proper budget, you may end up overspending on one aspect of your trip and not have enough money for other things.
Just know that budgeting allows you to prioritize what's important and make the most out of your time in Mexico.
The Importance of Spending Money
Spending money is a crucial part of budgeting because it's impossible to predict every expense that will arise during your travels. You may have planned for certain expenses such as accommodations and transportation, but unexpected costs like souvenirs or impromptu meals can add up quickly.
Bringing enough spending money gives you flexibility and freedom to enjoy everything Mexico has to offer without constantly worrying about going over budget. In the next sections, we'll explore how much spending money you should bring for various aspects of your Mexican vacation.
One of the most important things to consider when budgeting for a trip to Mexico is your daily spending. I would say the average in Mexico can range from $30 to $100, depending on your travel style, location, and preferences.
If you're on a tight budget, you can expect to spend around $30 - $40 per day for basic meals, some touristy things, and public transportation. However, if you prefer more luxurious accommodations and dining experiences, then you should plan on spending closer to $100 per day.
Factors affecting daily spending
Several factors can affect your daily spending in Mexico. For example, the location where you're staying can have a significant impact on your expenses. If you're staying in popular tourist areas like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, expect prices to be higher compared to less touristy destinations like Morelia or Guanajuato City.
Your activities also play a role in your daily expenses. If you plan on taking part in activities like zip-lining or scuba diving, then these will add up quickly.
Additionally, the time of year that you visit Mexico can also affect your expenses.
High season (December - April) tends to be more expensive than low season (May - November) due to increased demand for flights and accommodations. Overall, it's crucial to have an accurate understanding of your projected daily expenses while traveling in Mexico so that you can effectively manage your budget and ensure an enjoyable experience without breaking the bank.
Cost of Accommodation
The Many Types of Accommodations Available in Mexico
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Mexico, there is no shortage of options. From basic hostels to luxury resorts, the country has something for everyone. For budget travelers, hostels and guesthouses are widely available and can be found for as little as $10 a night.
Mid-range hotels and Airbnb rentals are also popular choices and can be found starting at around $40 a night. If you're looking for something more luxurious, upscale resorts offer all-inclusive packages that start around $200 per night.
Popular Areas to Stay in Mexico
Mexico has many popular destinations that offer a variety of accommodations at different price points. In Cancun, the Hotel Zone is where most tourists stay and prices vary depending on how close you are to the beach.
The same goes for Tulum where beachfront cabanas start at around $100 per night while more inland hotels go for less.
In Mexico City, neighborhoods like La Condesa and Roma Norte are trendy areas with an abundance of boutique hotels and Airbnb rentals starting at around $50 per night.
If you want something more upscale, Polanco offers luxury hotels starting at around $150 per night. No matter where you choose to stay in Mexico, there are accommodations available that will fit any budget or preference.
Cost of Food in Mexico
One of the highlights of a trip is undoubtedly the food. Mexican cuisine is world-famous for its bold flavors and unique ingredients. While it's easy to spend a lot of money on food, there are also plenty of affordable options available.
Mexican Street Food
No trip to Mexico would be complete without trying some delicious street food. Tacos al pastor, quesadillas, churros, and elote (grilled corn) are just a few of the popular dishes you'll find being sold by street vendors all over the country. Prices vary depending on where you are, but you can usually expect to pay between $1-5 USD per item.
If you're looking for something more substantial than snacks from a street vendor, there are plenty of affordable casual dining options available in Mexico. Many restaurants offer "menu del dia" (menu of the day) specials that include an appetizer, main course, and drink for around $10-15 USD. If you're traveling with others or have a big appetite, sharing dishes can also be a great way to save money.
For those looking to splurge on a fancy meal while in Mexico, there are also plenty of high-end restaurants serving up gourmet Mexican cuisine. Expect to pay anywhere from $50-100+ USD per person for a multi-course meal with drinks.
Mexico is famous for its tequila and mezcal, but there are also plenty of other delicious drinks worth trying during your stay. Horchata (a sweet rice drink), agua frescas (fresh fruit juices), and micheladas (beer with lime juice and spices) are all popular options. Prices for drinks vary depending on where you are, but you can usually expect to pay between $1-5 USD per drink.
Overall, food and drink costs in Mexico can be very affordable if you know where to look. Don't be afraid to try some street food or visit a local restaurant to get a taste of the country's delicious cuisine without breaking the bank.
Cost of Travel in Mexico
While on your vacation in Mexico, it's important to consider how you'll get around. Fortunately, there are several modes of transportation available that cater to different budgets and preferences. Here are some of the most popular options:
Taxis and Ubers
Taxis and Ubers are a convenient mode of transportation in Mexico, especially for short distances or when you're in a rush. However, they can be expensive compared to other options, so it's important to negotiate the fare before getting in. In general, expect to pay around 50-120 pesos (2.5-6 USD) for a short ride within a city. Prices can be about 50% higher during rush hour.
If you're looking for an affordable way to get around Mexico, buses are your best bet. There are several types of buses available, ranging from inexpensive local buses that stop frequently along their routes to luxury coaches that offer reclining seats and air conditioning. Prices vary depending on the distance traveled and the type of bus you choose, but expect to pay anywhere from 10-50 pesos (0.5-2.5 USD) for a local bus ride and upwards of 200 pesos (10 USD) for a long-distance coach.
Renting a car is another option if you want more freedom and flexibility during your trip. However, it can also be more expensive than other modes of transportation and requires some planning ahead of time.
Rental car costs vary depending on the company you choose and the type of car you want, but expect to pay at least 800 pesos (42 USD) per day. Overall, choosing your mode of transportation in Mexico depends on your budget and travel style.
Taxis offer convenience but come at a higher cost while buses are the most affordable option. Rental cars provide a higher level of freedom, but require more planning and come at a higher cost.
Exploring Mexico's Top Activities
Mexico is a country full of exciting and diverse activities that cater to all kinds of travelers. For those seeking adventure, activities such as zip-lining through the jungle or hiking up ancient pyramids should definitely be on the list. If you're looking for something more relaxed, there are also plenty of festivals and cultural events throughout the year.
Like any other destination, each activity in Mexico comes with its own associated costs. For example, entrance fees to popular attractions and national parks can range from $5 to $20 USD per person.
The cost of tours usually depends on the type of excursion and the duration, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $30 to $100 USD per person. If you're interested in water sports such as snorkeling or scuba diving, prices will depend on whether or not equipment rental is included.
A two-tank dive can cost around $90 USD while a snorkeling tour runs about $40 USD. Whether you're traveling solo or with a group, it's important to factor in these costs when budgeting for activities during your trip to Mexico.
Shopping Expenses: Bringing Home a Piece of Mexico
No trip is complete without buying a souvenir or two to commemorate your adventures, and Mexico has plenty of options. From handcrafted pottery to colorful textiles, there's something for everyone to take home. You can find these treasures at markets, bazaars, and shops throughout the country.
Shopping Options Available in Mexico
Mexico is famous for its vibrant markets and bazaars filled with souvenirs and locally-made products. The Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela in Mexico City is one of the largest artisan markets in the country.
It has over 350 stalls selling everything from jewelry to hand-woven baskets. Other popular destinations include Mercado de San Juan in Oaxaca and Mercado Hidalgo in Guanajuato.
Beyond the traditional markets, you can also find upscale shopping experiences in cities like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. These areas have large shopping malls with well-known brands like Zara and Adidas.
Allocating Money for Souvenirs
The amount of money you should set aside for shopping will depend on your budget and what you're looking to buy.
If you're on a tight budget, consider buying smaller items like keychains or magnets as souvenirs. These are often inexpensive but still provide a memory of your trip. Who's grandmother doesn't want one?
If you are wanting to bring home more substantial pieces, plan on spending anywhere from $20-$100 USD per item depending on what it is. Handmade pottery or intricate textiles may cost more than a simple t-shirt or hat.
Pro-tip: DO NOT bring back anything agricultural related! I have seen this happen too many times at airports returning back to the USA. If it's a fruit, vegetable, plant or tree (ie living) it more than likely will be caught by dogs at customs on your return. Do not do it unless you know it can be imported or you have proper documentation for it.
Overall, shopping can be an enjoyable way to explore local culture while also bringing home unique mementos from your trip to Mexico. Just remember to stay within your budget and have fun haggling for the best deals.
Hidden Expenses: The Not-So-Obvious Costs of Traveling to Mexico
Traveling to Mexico can be an exciting and budget-friendly experience, but it is essential to factor in hidden expenses that may not be immediately apparent. Here are some additional costs that travelers should keep in mind when budgeting for their trip.
ATM Fees and Currency Exchange Charges
Using an ATM or exchanging currency can result in extra fees that can add up over time. Many banks charge foreign transaction fees for withdrawals or have unfavorable exchange rates. You can learn more about Mexican Banks and ATMs here and how to access your cash.
Tipping is a significant part of Mexican culture, and service industry workers rely on tips as a significant portion of their income. Plan on tipping at restaurants (usually 10-15%), while taking taxis, and during tours. However, it's important to note that some establishments may add a gratuity fee automatically especially if it's a large party so look at the bill.
While travel insurance is optional, it can provide peace of mind when traveling abroad. In case of unforeseen events such as medical emergencies or trip cancellations, travel insurance can cover the associated costs. I highly recommend this! You just never know what can happen. Keep in mind; this expense may vary depending on the level and length of coverage you select.
Roaming Charges and Phone Bills
International roaming charges can quickly add up if you're not careful about using data while abroad. While AT&T and Verizon customers can use the network for free (to US calls), you may need to consider purchasing a local SIM card if you plan on using your phone frequently (or calling within Mexico).
Its important to budget for a stress-free vacation and by doing research and considering all expenses, you can make a trip to Mexico on a budget.
One key takeaway is that the average daily budget per person in Mexico can range from $30 to $100, depending on factors such as location and activities. Another important consideration is accommodation costs, which vary depending on the type of lodging and location.
When it comes to food and drink, travelers can expect affordable prices for delicious local cuisine. However, transportation costs can add up quickly if not planned properly, so it's important to consider all options available.
If you're looking for adventure or relaxation activities like tours or spa treatments there are plenty of options available in various price ranges; shopping expenses should also be considered when budgeting for souvenirs or gifts. Hidden expenses such as taxes or tips should be accounted for when creating your travel budget.
With careful planning and consideration of these factors, you can enjoy your trip in Mexico without breaking the bank.