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How to Travel to Cancun on a Tight Budget

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My husband, Luke, and I went on a blissful 8 day honeymoon from Seattle, WA to Cancun, Mexico the day after New Years Eve and spent less than 2,000 dollars total for everything, including flights. Traveling can be so expensive, so I want to give you my best tips on how to travel to Cancun for a perfect tropical getaway, without spending more than you should. Here’s how we did it:

We Waited to Buy Flights

This saved Luke and I a large sum of money because often times flights are the most expensive part of the trip. You need to do your research for the destination you wish to travel to. I researched for months the best time to buy flights, specifically to Cancun, before Luke actually bought the flights, because I wanted to make sure we were getting the best deal possible. I found that the sweet time to buy international flights to Mexico was around 4 months out. I already knew it’d be tough to get a really cheap deal since we would be flying out on January 1st, right around the expensive holiday season, but I was determined. I used the website Skiplagged to check flights daily and also used Google flights with alerts I had set so I’d be notified when flights dropped for the dates we wanted to fly to and from Cancun. Luke and I departed from Seattle, so we were looking at much spendier flights than if you were to depart from the eastern side of the country. Long story short, after hours of research, checking daily, and waiting oh so patiently, a glorious day in August (4 months out) arrived when flights dropped dramatically, over 200 dollars lower compared to the past days, weeks, and months, and Luke and I snagged two flights from SeaTac to Cancun for $691.04 including taxes and fees. In recent weeks and months prior, flights had been $550 per person, give or take a few dollars depending on the day, but I had seen no flights drop anywhere near the $300s. We also opted to fly out on a Monday, which helped a great deal in getting a cheaper flight since flying out on a Sunday is the most expensive day to travel. If you are looking to save big money on flights and are not extremely picky towards your destination, check out theflightdeal.com. This site has crazy cheap deals that can save you hundreds on international as well as domestic flights. I suggest buying the flights first and then figure out your lodging after, so you can fly the cheapest dates possible. Below is an example of flights from today, May 19th, 2017, to give you an idea of the kinds of deals you can snag. I would be flying out of Seattle so that’s the departing city I chose, but you can choose a city near you.

We Booked a Condominium with AirBnB

We scored big time with our lodging on our honeymoon to Cancun. For 7 nights, we paid $567 USD dollars, including cleaning fees and taxes. We received a condominium with a kitchen, full size fridge, eating area, couch, and queen bed with a balcony that looked out over the beautiful Atlantic ocean, just steps away from us. The complex also had a restaurant down below right on the beach, with delicious food for inexpensive prices. My favorite part of the condo complex was the newly renovated infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Talk about beautiful and relaxing. You can use my AirBnB code to get $40 off your next stay with Airbnb! Use this link to redeem your $40 off!

The view from the pool

The view from our Condo

The beach right out front our Condo

We Used Public Transportation for 1$ USD

There was absolutely no point in forking out cash to rent a car for the week because we had a bus stop literally a few yards from our Condo. The bus will take you into the city and along the hotel zone strip for $1 USD each way. We had no issues at all taking the bus and actually really enjoyed it as we were able to meet lots of other travelers as well as locals.

We Grocery Shopped For Meals and Snacks and Stuck To Eating Out One Meal Per Day

Some people may not want to do this on their honeymoon, but if you want to travel budget style, it suited Luke and I perfectly. We bought all kinds of delicious and nutritious foods for breakfast, lunches, and snacks at a big grocery store and saved dinner for our meal that we “splurged” on by eating out. Splurge is a relative term, though, considering we ate out at fancy restaurants multiple nights and were always shocked at how cheap our bill was.

Going out to eat our first night

Eating Dinner Out at a Delicious Steak House

Our Beautiful View at Dinner

We Used Some of the Money We Saved on the Things Listed Above to Splurge on Two Extra Special Outings

Because we were in such a beautiful destination with plenty to do as it was, we didn’t feel the need to splurge on excursions and expensive outings every single day. We chose two days to do special, more expensive, splurge activities and the rest of our days were spent exploring the beaches, swimming in the ocean a lot, relaxing under the sun, adventuring to different parts of Cancun using the cheap public transit, playing tourist in the shops, and exploring around town. Our two more expensive splurges were a massage & spa day at the Marriott Hotel and a day long excursion to four different cenotes (natural limestone pools under ground) where we snorkeled, kayaked, cliff jumped, zip lined, and repelled into a deep underground cenote. Both the massage/spa day and the cenote excursion cost $100 USD/person so we spent about $400 extra dollars on those two special outings that we could’ve saved. We don’t regret spending that money at all and it was well worth it in our opinion, but my point of adding in those costs to this blog post is to show you could travel to Cancun and have a fabulous time enjoying the beaches and other free outings without spending extra money for more expensive outings. Had we not done those two extra activities, our total would’ve been a few dollars over $1500 USD for 8 days spent in Cancun, Mexico, including travel costs to get there and back.

 

The Cinote Excursion

Our Massage & Spa day

 Conclusion

I calculated out the total cost of our trip to Cancun and it came to $1,950, give or take a few dollars because I estimated on how many times we took the bus, as well as the cost of dinners (which once again were surprisingly inexpensive and I have a good idea of the average we spent each night). Had we not done those 2 days of extra splurges we would have spent $400 dollars less. Once again, because it was our honeymoon, we absolutely wanted to do those extra special splurges, but this goes to show you CAN go on a beautiful, long, relaxing tropical vacation for CHEAP if you go about it the right way. I’m sure Luke and I could’ve swung this trip for an even better deal had we not departed right around the holiday season, because the holidays are always a more expensive time to travel. So even with bit of splurging, we were able to keep our costs under $2,000 dollars USD for our 8 day honeymoon in Cancun, stayed in a beautiful place with the ocean waves crashing in our ears each night as we slept, and had the time of our lives.


 

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4 thoughts on “How to Travel to Cancun on a Tight Budget

  1. I love the cheap flight tips! and wow that picture of you in the coral dress with the wind blowing in your hair is like a painting – so gorgeous!!

      1. Yes, for sure! And I just found a similar app: Hitlist: https://www.hitlistapp.com/. It lets you choose where you want to go (anywhere from specific city on specific days to vague i.e. anywhere in a country whenever), and it’ll send you alerts when it finds a deal.

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