Sarah is an expat living in Mexico and getting to know the entire country.
Mexico is one of the most affordable travel options for those looking for an international getaway. When compared to other destinations in Europe, Asia and even within the United States, this country south of the border will more than likely end up giving you more for your money.
As affordable as the prices already are, you can find hotel room prices that will leave you wondering why you did not pack your bags sooner. Here are a few tips to help you get the most bang out of your buck.
Tips for Saving Money on Hotels in Mexico
The prices that you will pay for a hotel room when you travel through Mexico vary depending on the destination. A room in Mexico City or Cancun is more likely to charge more than one from Puebla or Queretaro, but don’t let that keep you from visiting popular destinations. There are ways to get cheaper rooms even in those highly coveted destinations.
You could realistically get a 5-star hotel room for as little as $60 at a great location, while some can go as high as a few thousand dollars. The important thing is to do your research before you book.
If a 5-star hotel is not something you would like to try, it is realistic to find 3-star hotels close to the center of the city for around $25. Cancun is a little more difficult because of its popularity and the number of hotels in great locations is smaller. The rules below still apply and should help you get better prices.
1. Pay in Pesos
The first thing that you should do when looking at your destination is to pay in Pesos. Most sites will allow you to decide what currency you would like to make your payment in (e.g. Booking.com). This saves you money because their conversion rate is not always the best.
You should figure out the conversion rate that your bank will offer you and compare it to the current one. The currency for a website is usually located at the top of the page. You can use the current currency rate when you are ready to book and compare the prices.
The “pay in pesos” applies to anything you want to buy, so if you are traveling to a popular tourist destination and you are given an option to pay in dollars, always choose to pay in pesos. While you may think that it will be easier to keep track of your transactions if you pay in dollars, your bank should show you the transactions in your currency when you check your statement online anyway.
2. Use the Mexican Website to Book
If the website that you are using to book your hotel has a Mexican version, and you can access it, then use that for your reservations. Usually, if a website has a Mexican version, you can find it by substituting the “.com” for either a “.mx” or “.com.mx”. If you can access that version of the website, you will likely find the hotel you are looking for at a lower rate. When you first access a Mexican travel website, they will likely be in Spanish, but they will have an English tab so you can surf in your language.
The only thing to remember about this trick is that the savings apply only to the hotel, and not necessarily the air travel. If you are booking everything as a package, then you will likely pay less in the regular version of the website, but if you are booking your flight and hotel separately, you could end up saving a pretty penny.
3. Book Your Room the Same Day
Booking your hotel before you travel gives you peace of mind that you will not have any issues with your stay. That said, you can also save some money if you book a hotel on the day of your stay. It is not recommended that you do this in the high season or for your home-base hotel. If you are traveling to Mexico City and you decide to do a short one or two-day trip to a city or town nearby, booking on the day of your stay does save some money when compared to reservations online.
Most hotels will list their prices in the lobby, which will help you decide where to stay. In the low season, some hotels even lower their prices if they are not full on the day of your stay, but that is not as common as it is in other parts of the world. It is more likely that you will run across one of those deals if you are in smaller cities and towns.
There is always a chance that hotels will be booked if you are trying to get a room on the same day, so it may be best to try it on the offseason or after confirming that there aren’t any big events taking place in town. The weekend is too risky and you should probably not try that.
© 2019 Sarah Friedman