• Rebecca Blackmon

Trip to Mexico on a Budget: How I Traveled to Mexico for Less Than $500

Updated: May 27, 2021

Hey guys! I wanted to take a break from trip itineraries and tell y'all a little bit about how we made this trip to Mexico on a budget and what much is the trip to Mexico cost. It’s no secret (for those who know me) that I work a lot of hours and don’t make a lot of money. However, travel is one of the most important things in the world to me and I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would never let a job schedule or a lack of money stand in the way of me getting to see the world. The last international trip I took was to Cancun, Mexico back in October 2020. I stayed for 5 days/4 nights at an all-inclusive resort, and the whole trip cost me less than $500 - below I’ve listed 5 things I did to make that trip possible for me (and really could be the same for any trip you want to take!).

1. Trip to Mexico on a Budget by Getting an Airline Credit Card

First off, let me start by saying I am NOT a financial aficionado. If you struggle with spending habits, maybe a credit card isn’t for you. This, however has been pivotal for me in being able to travel freely. Right after college I went on a last minute trip to Miami with a friend of mine for a weekend getaway. On the flight home, the attendant came over the intercom and said “don’t forget to apply for a credit card and you’ll receive 50,000 complimentary miles”. I thought it was for sure a scam, but after my fair share of research I realized I needed a credit card to start building my credit anyway, so it might as well be an airline credit card. What I do (and have done every month since that trip) is pay all of my bills with my airline credit card, and then I turn around and pay it off at the end of every week. That allows me to reap the benefits without letting it spiral out of control. For every dollar that I spend, I get rewarded with airline miles. As you can imagine, after paying all my bills on that card for years, those miles really start to add up. For our trip to Mexico, I found a flight that was 25,000 miles each way (50k total), and I used my miles to buy the ticket. It literally cost me $0 for the ticket - the only thing I had to pay was an $11 processing fee. Every single airline offers these credit cards and I would argue that for a lot of places (especially international travel) the flights are what set you back the most. Being able to fly wherever I want for almost free is a game changer!! I'll link below some places to start doing your own research:

American Airlines

Delta Airlines

United Airlines

Southwest Airlines

2. Trip to Mexico on a Budget by Using Travel Deal Sites

For our trip, we used TravelZoo. There’s like a million and one of these travel deal sites - TravelZoo just happened to be that one that offered the best deal that lined up with where and when we were trying to go on vacation. For those who don’t know how those sites work, think of them like deal hubs. TravelZoo employs a group of people who scour the internet for all the best deals - travel, food, hotels, things to do, etc. Once they find those deals, they put them on the TravelZoo website (the “hub”) and try to incentivize travelers to book through their website so that they make a cut of the profits. These websites are not trying to scam you! They want to make money just as badly as you want to save money. I will always encourage people to do their own research, but travel sites like TravelZoo are good places to start in my opinion.

3. Trip to Mexico on a Budget by Going to an All-Inclusive Resort

Here’s the deal - if you like to eat food and especially if you drink alcohol, an all inclusive resort is one of the cheapest vacations you can possibly go on. I know that the price tag seems staggering but that’s only because you're seeing the whole price of the vacation at one time. Let’s say you go to the beach in Florida. You pay for a condo. You pay individually for each meal. You pay separately for each drink. You’re still spending that money (more money, actually), but it’s not being spent all at one time. Ten $10 charges will always register differently in your brain than one $100 charge. All that to say, all inclusive resorts are not as expensive as you think they are! It just looks that way because you’re being hit with one charge. The resort we went to had an all inclusive option, but they also had a “pay as you go” option for the people who didn’t want all inclusive. All of the menus, therefore, had prices beside each meal and there was not a single meal cheaper than $12 listed. If you don’t drink alcohol and you only eat one meal a day, that might be the way to go for you. Otherwise, you WILL get your money’s worth!

4. Trip to Mexico on a Budget by Traveling With a Group of Like-Minded People and Set a Budget

I went to Mexico with two friends. First of all, the best way to do it is to go with a group bigger than two people, but small enough that you can all stay in one suite. We had three people, so we all shared a room, and all we had to do was pay a fee to have an extra person in our room - but that fee was MUCH cheaper than it would have been to have four people go and have to pay for two separate rooms. Do your research and find out your resort’s policies on how many people can stay in a room, and how much it costs to add a person! This was the best option for us because we sat down before we even started thinking about where we wanted to go, and we set a budget. We all shared what we were comfortable spending, and obviously went with the cheapest budget that we all agreed upon. For us, we settled on $500. We then basically figured out the nicest place we could go for the least amount of money, and we found the Mexico deal on TravelZoo like I mentioned above. Here’s why this is important: Could I have agreed on a $1,000 budget? Maybe. But that would have meant that I didn’t get to travel again for the remainder of 2020. Instead, I chose $500 because it allowed me to have a nice vacation, but didn’t limit me from what I wanted to do for the months following. Luckily, my friends agreed with me and we were all on the same page for the whole trip. Traveling with people who didn’t share that mentality would have been a serious hit to my budget because I would have been peer pressured to spend more than I wanted to. I know it’s not fun to talk about money with other people, but it really will help the outcome of the trip if you do!

5. Trip to Mexico on a Budget by Having No Excursions

This one really comes down to preference and exactly how much money you’re trying to save. Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE excursions. I’ve never been on one and regretted my decision - BUT they add up very quickly. Each excursion will run you a couple hundred dollars. If you’ve budgeted for that, great. My advice then would be to plan your excursions ahead of time using the resort website for resources. Don’t wait until you get to the resort to plan your excursions because then they can talk you into all kind of add-on’s. But, in the grand scheme of things, you’re already staying in an all inclusive resort! There’s always activities going on around the property. If you really are trying to save money, skip the excursions and take advantage of what the resort is offering you for free. When we went to Mexico we didn’t do any excursions and I promise you we were never bored!

Here's our Trip to Mexico Cost - Breakdown of Cost

Flights: $11 (processing fee)

Resort: $384

Miscellaneous (airport food, etc): $50

Total cost for 5 days in Mexico: $445 give or take maybe $10

I hope this helps if you’re looking for ways to travel to Mexico on a budget! Feel free to reach out or comment below if you have any questions or ideas! Check out this post about our trip to Cancun - Cancun girls trip - where we stayed during our trip and some of our itinerary items!


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