Just because you’re going south of the border doesn’t mean you need to say hasta la vista to your bank account. Mexico is a conveniently affordable vacation destination for many Americans, but a few too many tequila shots can worm you out of all the funds you worked hard to save up. Follow these helpful vacation planning tips to make the most of your trip to Mexico.
Convert Your Cash into Pesos
It goes without saying the Mexican Peso is the standard currency of Mexico. Larger tourist hubs like Cancun will usually accept American dollars for many goods and services, but are likely to charge you at a markup for having to convert USD into MXN. Many businesses will charge an arbitrary conversion rate of 10 pesos to one dollar, which is bad for you, considering that a US dollar has been good for 13 to 14 pesos in recent years. It’s better to pay up front in the nation’s home currency to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. You can always convert it back to dollars when you return home.
Learn Some Spanish
Knowing a few key phrases beyond ¿dónde está la biblioteca? will go a long way while you’re travelling around Mexico. Knowing some Spanish will help you navigate the local cities and get more acquainted with the locals who live in the area. Local citizens will be more receptive to someone who can communicate in their native language and will be more likely to cut you a deal or help you find bargain activities and events. At the very least, knowing how to haggle and conduct commerce in Spanish will safeguard you from getting ripped off or taken advantage of.
Have a Safety Net Back Home
Travelling internationally is fun, but restricts the convenient access you have to your bank account in your home country. Stories of travellers losing their cash and not being able to access their funds through traditional banking access points like ATMs are common and not unique to Mexico. Sometimes you’ll find your budget fell short of your actual costs, creating the need for a source of extra funds back home to get you through your trip. Have a wire service ready, like Transfast.com, to help you procure more cash when you need it.
Arrive at the Right Time
Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and sees millions of people arrive every year. You can save some money by booking your trip during non-peak times of the year and avoid the mass migration of tourists that can drive up prices. February and early March are good times to beat both the snow bird crowds in December and January as well as the spring break scene that pops up in March and April. June, September and early October are also lighter times for Mexican tourism. Local hotels and flights are more likely to cut you a deal to drum up business during these slow months.
Budgeting your trip to Mexico shouldn’t drive you loco. There are plenty of options for saving a fistful of dinero the next time you head south of the border.