Tips for Budget Travel in Mexico

You can make sure you don't go over your budget on your trip to Mexico by taking a few easy steps. Choose the hotels and services that Mexicans choose, eat when they eat, and shop where they shop to avoid the overpriced costs for tourists. That way, you'll have some extra money to splurge on the things that are really important. Decide what will make the most difference to your enjoyment of your stay, and splurge on that, while saving on other things. Here are some easy ways to save money on your Mexican vacation.

  • 01 of 07

    Choose budget accommodations

    Hotel Marlowe Mexico City
    ••• Courtesy Hotel Marlowe

    The best way to keep the cost of your trip down is to save on your lodging. The difference in price between budget hotels and more upscale hotels and resorts is extreme and your choice in this matter will make the most impact in savings. You'll find many inexpensive decent hotels throughout Mexico. They may not have all the features you've come to expect in a hotel: you might have to do without a coffee maker and iPod docking station, but you will have the essentials: bed and bathroom, and most likely a television as well.

    See our choices for budget hotels in Mexico City.

     

  • 02 of 07

    Stick to Mexican mealtimes

    Chilaquiles
    ••• © Suzanne Barbezat

    Enjoy a large Mexican breakfast to fuel up for your day. The main meal of the day is generally taken between 2 and 4 pm: look for places that sell "Comida Corrida" for a set price meal with several courses. Then if you're hungry again in the evening, try some of the delicious street food options like tacos. 

  • 03 of 07

    Do your souvenir shopping in the market

    Mexican market
    ••• © Suzanne Barbezat

    One thing you'll probably notice right away when you're traveling in Mexico is that prices vary widely depending on where you're buying (and sometimes based on your appearance). Whenever you can buy directly from the person who produces the goods you're purchasing, you'll usually get a better deal and ensure that workers get a fair price for the things they make. 

  • 04 of 07

    Avoid the middle man when booking activities

    Chichen Itza Group
    ••• © Suzanne Barbezat

    Do your research ahead of time to choose what activities you would like to do, and book directly with the company providing the service. If you book through your hotel or an agency, you will often end up paying extra. 

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Choose your form of transportation wisely

    Bus in Mexico
    ••• Photo by velmab

    You should do some research ahead of time to determine what form of transportation will be the most cost-effective. Long-distance buses in Mexico are very economical, but distances can be great, so in some cases the cost of a flight is well worth it. Check out our tips for flying with Mexican discount airlines for finding the best fares.

  • 06 of 07

    Buy water and snacks at the corner store

    If your hotel offers free purified water, by all means take advantage, but if they only provide a bottle or two, beware the price on any extra water you may consume. Some hotels charge an exorbitant price for plain water. Of course, you should always avoid the mini bar if you're watching your spending. Stock up on water, snacks and other beverages at the corner store, for your hotel room and also to take with you on your day of sightseeing because tourist sites can also be guilty of overcharging for water.

    Also read: Day pack essentials

  • 07 of 07

    Stay connected cheaply

    Wifi devices
    ••• Get connected at the Mexico City airport. ImageGap / Getty Images

    Don't make long distance calls from your hotel room phone, and avoid roaming charges on your cell phone. Take advantage of free wifi whenever you can. Your best bet is to choose a hotel that offers free wifi, but otherwise, you'll find cafes and restaurants where you can connect without paying a fee and make calls over Skype or Whatsapp.