Travel Tips: Ways to enjoy Mexico on a budget

It’s a good time to take a luxury vacation to Mexico, according to Zachary Rabinor, the founder and chief executive of Journey Mexico, a Mexico-based travel company that sells upscale trips to the country. “The Mexican peso is weaker relative to the dollar right now, which means a luxury trip to the country isn’t nearly as expensive as it was a few years ago,” he said. 

Best of all, Rabinor’s money-saving tips can help you book a high-end Mexico vacation without the luxury prices.  

— Time It Right: The timing of your Mexico trip can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, Rabinor said. If you’re interested in Mexico City or Puebla, for example, plan a weekend visit when hotels offer lower rates for leisure travelers. The weekdays are dominated by business travelers, and nightly rates for a room can be twice as expensive compared with weekends.  

San Miguel de Allende, on the other hand, offers lower midweek rates. The weekends are pricier because of the influx of locals who frequent the city for short getaways. When it comes to beach destinations, such as Cabo San Lucas, Punta Mita and Rivera Maya, go during low and shoulder season, from May to October, when luxury beach resorts have attractive deals and temperatures are still comfortable.  

— Rent a Villa: A villa isn’t just for travelers with deep pockets. In fact, renting a luxury villa in an attractive location, such as the beach, and complete with a staff, a pool, spacious indoor and outdoor areas, and high-end furnishings is the way to go if you’re traveling with a group or have a family with multiple children.  

“The savings can be enormous because you’re buying most of your food and drinks from grocery stores and paying local costs with no markup,” Rabinor said. “Also, when you break down the price per room, per night, you’re likely paying 50 to 80 percent less than you would at a luxury hotel.” Travelers can find a villa through Journey Mexico’s villa division, or through another company like Elegant Mexico.  

— Book Early; Look for New Hotels: Rabinor said that upscale properties in Mexico often offer discounts up to 30 percent for travelers who book their stays three months or more in advance. Hotels usually want to lock in a minimum level of occupancy before raising their rates for people booking closer to their visit. Extended stays, usually five nights or more, can also mean price breaks.  

Also, consider booking stays at recently opened hotels. They often feature soft opening rates that are usually 50 percent lower than their standard prices, all to help build demand for the new property.  

— Eat and Drink Like a Local: To save money on dining out, Rabinor advised eating at lesser-known but equally tasty establishments favored by locals. You can find local restaurants through your hotel’s concierge, by asking taxi drivers or other locals and even by searching sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.

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