‘Mexico Travel Cost of Living’ – 105 Days in Mexico – So what did that cost?
This is the first in our series of our ‘Travelling the World’ living costs.
We’ll be doing country by country, so you can see what it costs to travel and live in various places.
It will outline all our living costs/housing/transport costs/food for a meat eating, beer/wine drinking couple.
Yes, we both love our meat, eating out and a drink or two in the evenings.
To set the scene, you should know our budget for our Round the World Adventure is $135 USD a day maximum, however we aim to come under this wherever possible. And in the last 1000 days travelling we have spent way less than this.
So what did everything cost?
Let’s break that down into categories so you can see how it all works.
Firstly this is what life looked like.
We landed in Guadalajara and travelled overland by bus throughout Mexico as far as Cancun (way better than flying I might add) for 105 days taking only one internal flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City. (which I would never do again by the way – it took they same time door to door – way better on the bus)
Mostly we bought groceries and cooked our own food, although most weeks there would be at least 2-3 meals out. We visited any attraction we desired, we didn’t skimp on sightseeing or adventure activities and most days we went somewhere. Avoiding group/tourist type tours was a priority and we utilised free walking tours where possible. Free Walking Tours are readily available in most cities these days. They’re not actually free as there is an expectation of a donation/tip – usually well deserved. Sometimes we hired a guide for an indepth cultural experience.
In most places we stayed 1-2 weeks so got weekly rates on accommodation.
We had 12 days of Housesitting, so accommodation here was free. Our first accommodation in Mexico was a very inexpensive apartment in Tlaquepaque for $125 a week. I didn’t need look too hard for it; I came across it easily just by googling. We loved the apartments (there were 5) and had a sense of home with lovely neighbours.
The apartment price included all utilities, water and good internet, which was pretty much the same for most of Mexico.
Imagine that including power and internet!
Airbnb is our first place to look for an apartment and that usually works well. If you want to see in detail where we stayed – here is all our Mexico Apartments.
A high point of living in Mexico is the fact that these types of apartments usually come with full kitchens, (although sometimes no oven) this is really great if want to save some money by cooking like we do —anything you rent here will likely come with a gas stove, pots and pans if it’s a furnished apartment. And of course if there’s something you need in the kitchen line then it’s pretty inexpensive in the market anyway.
We also used 3 weeks of our blessed Timeshare around the Cancun area (not my favourite topic) which is not included in the cost here. The cost of this taking into account our annual fees and exchange fees would amount to an additional $1095 for 21 days. While the Timeshare places were great, they were more than we needed in terms of facilities and price!
Average Daily Cost $25.10 for 84 days in Apartments
Average Daily Cost $52.19 for 21 days in Timeshare
It’s no secret Des loves his food, in particular meat and while I also like food, I do not need the quantity he does. We scoured the butchers at the markets to find just the right one, given that there is little or no refrigeration, it’s good to have a butcher’s eye to make sure we get meat that is fresh and not going off.
We loved the abundance of vegetables and fruit. Mexico fared well here, there’s great choices, it’s fresh and cheap. The food for two in Mexico worked out at $31.25 a day and this also included alcohol and eating out which we did about 2-3 times a week.
For eating out costs, a cheap quesadilla is15 pesos (just over $1) at one of the stands, a nicer taco is about 40 pesos (about $3.25), and a meal at one of the restaurants in town runs up to $10 or $15 USD for 2, we had a dinner one night for $16.92 for both of us and yummy ice creams were around $1.00 each.
My food budget was pretty generous, so if you cooked at home most nights, I think you could get by on about $200 a week. We bought most of our meat, vegetables and fruit at the markets, and only went to the ‘dry goods store’ for toilet paper and other things like rice.
Average Daily Cost Food/Alcohol/Eating Out $31.25
Bus fares between cities ranged from $25-$35 for pretty much a first class ride. We loved riding the Mexico buses, they were a sightseeing adventure in themselves.
Mostly we booked apartments in the centre of town. And one of the perks of living close in, is you can walk most places. The only transport we needed was occassional public buses and a few taxis. We usually took public bus for around 60 cents each, and taxis were always about $2.00 – $3.00.
What can I say – it’s essential!
While some might say isn’t it great that some one else does your laundry. I like my laundry to come back in one piece, the same size and colour – and that is not always possible from a Laundromat.
I actually hate having my laundry done by others and if I find an apartment with a washing machine I am in heaven.
I’m strange I know; but it took travelling the world for me to realise how much I loved washing machines, irons and clean clothes every day. Many of you who know me will recall the famous washing machine photos on Facebook! – I way prefer to do my own laundry and hence my washing machine fetish!
I have an unlocked IPhone so it’s very easy to get a sim for each country. Mobile Data is also pretty non negotiable these days. There’s nothing better than be able to look up something on the run. In Mexico it was quite a high cost @ $24 a month for 500 MB – just on that topic here are the instructions of getting a sim in Mexico from the gurus at Too Many Adaptors.
As I said we never skimped on sightseeing and yes Mexico has some beautiful sights.
We visited churches, cathedrals, museums, we went on boat trips, snorkelling, zip lining, swimming in many different cenotes, visited almost all the Mayan Ruins, we did walking tours and hikes and loads more.
Often many sights are free like wandering about the neighbourhod and heading for the local zocolo and just people watching. We always do a load of walking and watching… no cost for this – always google ‘free things to do in….’
The average daily cost for us both – just $6.00!
We are not party people and rarely go out at night except for dinner, just so you know, but there is plenty to entertain you in Mexico of you want to seek it out – actually you don’t even need to seek it out… you will hear it first.
So our nightlife budget really doesn’t exist.
However Mexico usually turns up it’s boom boxes day and night regardless. We grew to accept the noise that is Mexico in party mode every other day for no other reason.
The bit of entertainment showing is for donations for street entertainment and the odd drink here and there.
Covers some chemist items, insect repellents, posting parcels home (expensive!) entry and departure tax Mexico, haircuts, some incense and other random stuff.
We like to buy a ‘tiny’ momentos of places we visit, might be a key ring, a figure of a cathedral or something of that nature. We also like to buy books when we have room to carry them. We also collect the free souvenirs like the tickets to things, boarding passes… often they are dated which is fun when looking back.
Personal expenses cover clothes, haircuts, jandals, razors, sunglasses – you get the idea. We also got our teeth deep cleaned in Mexico for $38 each. I also had to have a couple of routine blood tests which were also pretty cheap.
Drumroll…please – Mexico travel cost of living comes in at $83.25 a day for both of us.
All the baseline living costs are covered, this includes toiletries, laundry and any other expenses that come up, but not international flights or travel insurance.
For the record our World Nomads Travel Insurance costs $5.45 a day.
|Food and Alcohol||$3265.89|
|Internet and Phone||$ 63.00|
|Personal Des||$ 167.19|
|Personal Jo||$ 534.13|
You should also note the exchange rate in 2014 when we were there was around 13 Pesos to 1 USD.
Now in 2016, thanks to the Trump effect, the exchange rate is now 20 to 1. This means the cost today would be almost half in USD.
Trail Wallet and Budgeting for Travelling the World
Another question I bet you’re thinking is how do I record all this fabulous data – well I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s easy peasy with an app I discovered a while back called Trail Wallet. It’s a clever little app on your phone that you record and categorise each expense as you go.
I would be lost without it… actually as Josh from Travelling 9 to 5 said – “Once you start tracking your budget on a daily basis, it becomes a little addicting!”
Yep that’s true… especially when the little man comes up and says…’ you’ve got this budgeting thing nailed’!
A Happy Wallet means a Happy Traveller…