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How much Money do I need to travel to Mexico?

26th March 2020

Mexico: The home of tequila, tacos, incredibly delicious street corn (no seriously, how do they make it taste so good?), stunning beaches and ancient ruins. With a bounty to offer international tourists, it's no wonder people are flocking to Mexico's shores for their next vacation. 

Nestled under the USA, travellers to Mexico are greeted by an incredibly cheap way of living, with food, transport and accommodation costs all far under what we would otherwise pay in Australia. The AUD to MXN exchange rate can leave people stumped though, especially when it comes to organising the dreaded travel budget. Luckily for you, the team at Travel Money Oz have put together a nifty travel budget calculator that combines Numbeo data with the latest exchange rates to give you the most up to date idea of how much you'll be spending (and how much you need to save) for your trip to Mexico. 

Before we dive into the calculator though, let's take a squiz at what you should include in your Mexican travel budget. 

What goes into a budget for Mexico?


Your flight to Mexico will often be your most significant expense, and you can expect to pay anywhere between $800 (the equivalent of a Taco Tuesday rate) and $2000 (spicy spicy chilli rate) for your air tickets. Once you arrive, there are a few different transport options. 

When travelling between towns and cities, you can catch a long-distance bus or an express bus called a 'directo'. We recommend the directo which leaves from the central bus terminal. They are faster than other long-distance buses and stop less. 

With this in mind, flying is often a more affordable and quicker option. For example, the trip from Mexico City to Cancun takes 15 hours by bus and costs around 1500 pesos. The same journey only takes 2.5 hours and costs around 700 pesos by plane. Kinda a no brainer. Aim to book tickets in advance to secure the best deal and ensure you get a seat. 

Car hire is an affordable option if you are keen to travel to different places at your own pace. Just ensure you use common sense and have reputable insurance.

In cities and towns, public buses called Caminos are the best way to get around. Charging only a few pesos for a journey, they are super cheap and easy enough to use. Bigger cities like Mexico and Guadalajara also have subway systems where a one-way ticket will set you back around 5pesos. Mexico City is renowned for having terrible traffic too, so be sure to account for that when planning journeys. 

You'll find taxis in most cities that are an affordable option, and Uber is in over 30 Mexican cities. A great choice after one too many tequilas on taco night. 


In bigger cities, you'll find the usual accommodation suspects: hotels, motels, hostels and Airbnb's. Prices are generally cheaper than what you would pay in Australia, so accommodation would take a huge dent out of your travel budget. 

As you get closer to the coastline in resort towns like Cancun and Talum, you can expect to pay a little more for your room. These places are very popular, so be sure to book in advance to secure a room that suits your travel style and budget. 

Prices will vary with seasonality and location; however, you can expect to budget the following for your accommodation:

Hostels - 125MXN - 300 MXN per night. Most will offer free wifi and breakfast
Budget hotels - 380MXN - 500 MXN per night
Airbnb - 200MXN - 900MXN + per night
Beachside resort room - 1000MXN - 3000MXN+ per night


If Mexico is famous for one thing, it is its food. The cuisine is characterised by beans, rice, corn, plenty of avo, peppers, fruits and a delicious blend of chilli and spice. While you will find a heap of delicious restaurants serving up your favourite Mexican dishes, make sure you indulge in some street food. Not only is it incredibly delicious, but it is also very cheap. Local markets also provide groceries, fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. 

When travelling, you can budget the following:

Street food: less than 10MXN a piece
Restaurant: 90 - 150 MXN per meal. Restaurants near the beach will be more expensive.
Beer: 15 - 30 MXN

Regardless of where you eat, you MUST try the following:

  • Tacos: duh. If you don't know what a taco is you're about to have your mind blown. 
  • Elote: Mexican corn on the cob, boiled and served on a stick. From there you can add salt, chilli powder, lime, butter, cheese, mayo and sour cream. Served in restaurants and from street vendors, you won't meet corn cob you don’t like. Not to mention the fact they are super cheap.
  • Mole: A delectably rich sauce served with meats, beans and rice. Mole is often packed full of fresh ingredients and spices, with each person having their own special recipe.
  • Salsa: both the dance and the dipping sauce. Ole.
  • Enchiladas: Soft tortillas bursting with cheese, beans and your choice of meat that is covered in salsa, chilli and sour cream. Is your mouth watering, or is that just me?
  • Guacamole: Holy Guacamole I love a bit of guac. The perfect accompaniment to any meal or corn chip.
  • Chilaquiles: These are a breakfast dish of lightly fried corn tortillas served with salsa, fried eggs, chicken, cheese and cream.
  • Tamales: Hot Tamale! These little corn dough pockets are stuffed with a sweet or savoury filling before being wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and steamed.


There is plenty to see and do during your holiday to Mexico. Day tours will range in price, so we recommend doing some research to see where you want to go, what you want to do and what the associated costs are. To get you started, here are some of our favourite things to do in Mexico:

  • Go to the beach. It's free and often needed to cool off from the spicy Mexican sun
  • Swim in the stunning cenotes, which are vast sun-lit caverns filled with crystal clear water.
  • Drink Tequila!
  • Drive along Highway 1, from the US border to the southern tip of Baja California. You'll see isolated mountain ranges, relaxed beach towns and plenty of epic desert.
  • Attend a Lucha libre competition, where masked heroes and villains wrestle it out.
  • Go whale watching. Between December and April, thousands of grey whales come to Guerrero Negro and San Ignacio to mate in the lagoons. It makes for a whaley amazing sight!
  • Trek through many of the incredible landscapes and ancient ruins.
  • Relax on the beach, in your resort, near a cenote. Anywhere really.
  • Dress up and take part in Day of the Dead celebrations countrywide.
  • Explore ancient Aztec ruins.
  • Go diving and explore Mexico's vibrant and diverse marine life and coral reefs.
  • Eat. That's a given though.
  • Visit the local market to pick up a bargain, sample local food or grab a souvenir. The most popular are Mercado Ciudadela in Mexico City and Oaxaca's Mercado Benito Juarez.
  • Visit Mexico City's Chapultepec Park, which is one of the largest city parks in the world. It holds the Mexico City zoo, La Feria amusement park and the Museum of Anthropology. 

Pre-travel expenses

Aussie's don't need a visa when visiting Mexico as a tourist for stays less than 180 days. We do, however, recommend chatting with your doctor to ensure you're up to date with any of the relevant vaccinations. 

Finally, regardless of where you are travelling, we always recommend you invest in a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

How much does a trip to Mexico cost?

Step 1

Enter your destination (Mexico)
Let us know how long you'll be away
Choose your currency. In this case, it will either be AUD or MXN.
Taco time! You've officially started your holiday budget.

Step 2

Are you planning on eating out for every meal or grabbing a few snacks and ingredients to cook from the supermarket? Here you need to estimate how much you plan to spend on food. Remember to put yourself in a holiday mindset - you're probably gonna opt for fresh tacos over a sanga from the supermarket. 

Step 3

In this section, estimate how much you plan on shopping while in Mexico. Folks generally don't head to Mexico for a shopping spree. However, you may want to pick up some local handicrafts, textiles, sombreros or even a few cheeky bottles of tequila.

Step 4

This is for all of your transport outside of flights and cross-country travel. In major cities, there will be buses, vans and taxis. Each city operates differently, so pop on Google to see what prices to expect in each location. 

Step 5

The hard work is done! Here you'll find a simple layout of your planned expenses in both Australian dollars and Mexican peso. From here you can either go back and edit, or start saving for your holiday!

It's important to note here that this only accounts for your most basic expenses. You'll need to add in travel insurance and other daily expenses. It's also worth having a bit of wiggle room in the kitty for unexpected costs, like going a bit crazy on your tab at one of the beach resorts, or stocking up on the local brand of tortillas because nothing at home compares to how soft and delicious they are. 

Mexican Budget Examples

Here are some examples of what the bones of your travel budget would look like. Please note all of these examples are based on seven nights of accommodation and are quoted in Aussie dollars. Prices will, of course, vary with seasonality and availability. 

Couples trip

This couple is spending a week in Tulum, home to some of the best beaches in Mexico. 


$1600 per person

Sydney to Cancun return with Virgin Australia,  with return taxi transfer from Cancun to Tulum.  



Queen bungalow overlooking the jungle with Breakfast included


$130 per day

Dinner each night at a different restaurant, mixed with a few cocktails and street food for lunch. 


$150 per day

While most of their time will be spent soaking up the vibes and sun on the beach, the couple will indulge in some relaxation packages and a day trip here and there.  

Total for couple 


Not bad for a week in paradise. 


Family getaway

Mum, Dad and the two kids are heading to Isla Mujeres, a tiny island in front of Cancun with one of the most kid-friendly beaches in Mexico! 



Sydney to Cancun return with Virgin Australia,  with return transfers from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.  



Double room in beachfront hotel with breakfast included. 


$100 per day

A few dinners out at restaurants, mixed with plenty of street food and snacks. 


$200 per day

Some day trips and tours will be the bulk of your expenses, with other days spent laying on the beach and soaking up the sun.



The kids won’t stop raving about their epic holiday to Mexico. Coolest parents ever. 


Solo traveller

This lucky vagabond is about to embark on a week in Mexico City!



Sydney to Mexico City return with Virgin Australia. 



Hostel bunk in central location with breakfast included. 


$30 per day

You can eat like a King at street markets, and wash them down with a beer or two! 


$80 per day

A few day trips out to surrounding cenotes and ruins, mixed with museum visits and exploring everything the city has to offer. 



What a bargain. Add a bit more for some extra tequila wiggle room. 


Last-minute tips

  • The further inland you venture, the cheaper things will become. The coastline is the most popular location for tourists, which makes it the most expensive part of the country as well. 
  • Travel in the low season of late April until early December for bargain accommodation deals.
  • ‘Comida corrida’ is a meal offered between 2pm and 4pm and is often a set menu offered at a much cheaper rate than lunch or dinner. Consider it to be linner.. The brunch equivalent of Lunch and dinner.
  • Alcohol can be expensive at bars and clubs, so stock up at the local store if you would like to drink for less.
  • Some resort cities will accept USD, however you will be charged at an unfavourable exchange rate compared to if you had used MXN.
  • If you do need to exchange in Mexico, look for cambios.
  • ATMs are widely available, however we recommend using those attached to a bank rather than a kiosk or one on the street. This ensures your safety and will generally help you avoid extra fees. Either way, ensure you double check the fees being charged by the ATM provider.
  • A tip of 10% is the norm in Mexico, especially if your waiter or waitress provided exceptional service. Ensure you give it directly to the server to avoid it ending up in the wrong hands.
  • While bigger restaurants and hotels will accept cards like the Travel Money Oz Currency Pass, Mexico is a cash driven society so be sure to have a range of denominations on hand.
  • If paying by card, make sure you choose to pay in the local currency (MXN) to avoid extra fees.
  • Research your 'per day' budget and include the things you want to do. Once you know the costs, you have a savings goal to work towards.
  • Take advantage of Travel Money Ozs Best Price Guarantee. If you find a better price from a competitor, we will beat it*.
  • Hostels are a great way to save cash and meet like-minded travellers.
  • Check out reviews if you think something is too good to be true. Chances are it might be.
  • Tourist attractions will always have higher prices, especially in more popular cities.
  • Don't forget to factor in pre-travel costs like travel insurance, immunisations and visas.
  • Sign up for Rate Alerts. We'll let you know when the AUD is doing well against the MXN so you can purchase and maximise your travel money.

Flight costs are based on search from and are indicative costs only for travel dates 4 - 11 August 2020. Prices were sourced on March 21st  2020^. Accommodation costs are based on an average per night price for budget, moderate or luxury hotels, as indicated in the table. ~Food based on the average cost of 1 coffee, 1 fast food meal and 1restaurant meal per person, per day. COST COMPARISON TABLE: All costs are based on estimated approximate costs from major metropolitan cities. "From" costs indicate costs that start from the indicated price and may be higher than shown. Average prices indicate a typical estimated cost you would pay for the indicated item. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different cities and towns within Mexico. This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.