Ben Franklin got it right when he came to the realization that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” The reality is that paying less for something, whether it’s interest rates, stocks or, you guessed it, Cabo vacations, is just as good as earning an income in the amount of the money you saved. It’s a fact.
This article aims to spare you the cost of unnecessarily overpaying in your Cabo vacation. So are you ready to save some extra dough or shall I say earn some?
This one’s pretty interesting. The days you travel have a huge impact on the price of airfare. And I’m not talking about planning trips in unpopular seasons. Within even the busiest seasons, a difference in your departure and return days may reduce your cost by almost half.
Let’s look at one sample trip to Cabo. The month is August and the departure city, Los Angeles. Since American Airlines offers some pretty competitive fares from LA, I researched their site for flights. It turned out that a round trip ticket for three adult passengers on a seven-day trip would cost around $1800 US. Both the departure and arrival days were on a Saturday. By moving the departure date forward by a couple of days to a Monday and moving the return flight forward three days to a Tuesday, the fare instantly dropped to around $1350. Not bad. The drop in the fare warranted that extra day for our trip. You would be right in thinking of it as a free night at a Cabo resort.
That’s almost 50% off the original airfare!
Still, however, that’s not the lowest quote I was able to get for the flights. By using comparison sites like Expedia and the same dates mentioned above, the fare dropped to $991 US. Of course, location as well as time of day (and year) also affect the possibility of getting such a big price cut, but that’s almost 50% off the original airfare!
Most airlines serving flights to Cabo from the United States and Canada offer the first checked-bag per passenger on a complimentary basis. The second would be for around $40 US. So plan the amount and size of luggage you bring in accordance with the policy of your airline. Don’t forget to weigh it all at home to avoid excess charges when you hit the airport.
Without a doubt, food and drinks will be one of the largest expenses in your trip to Los Cabos. As I’ve mentioned in our Cabo Travel Info page, drinks can easily cost you north of $100 US per day if you’re traveling in a party of three or four and buying from your hotel. That’s why you might want to consider getting an all-inclusive package so you don’t have to worry about the tab when you check out. Visit the above-mentioned page and our Cabo Hotels section for more on the pros and cons of going all-inclusive in Los Cabos.
Even if you do decide to go for an all-inclusive package, the food and drink items in the minibar are usually not included. They tend to be overpriced. Unscrewing the cap of a bottle of water from the minibar costs around 10 times more at the hotel than at the local markets. Talk about some sweet profit margins.
In case you don’t own the minibar business yourself, don’t worry. Located just a single block away from Medano Beach is a large warehouse store called City Club. Here you can purchase anything from groceries to flat-screen TVs to sunscreen. If you’re looking to save money on the essentials, this is the place to do it. Just don’t buy any electronics from Cabo unless you’re fine with overpaying for subpar gadgets.
For those of you who haven’t yet brushed up on your Spanish, that’s the word for something we all like to feel in our hands — and in our bank accounts: money. Usually, paying with US dollars in Cabo is not a problem. However, if you’re not careful, any shop or restaurant will conveniently receive your cash at an exchange rate favorable to them. Don’t let the old 10-pesos-per-dollar exchange rate come back to life in your trip.
Take, for example, a dinner for two that costs 1000 pesos. With the old exchange rate, which existed for a great deal of years, you would be billed $100 US. If, however, you came prepared and changed your dollars for pesos, you could expect to pay no more than $83 US. That’s saving you 17% without even waving a coupon! And when you’re paying for everything in your trip with dollars, the amount you’re overpaying will add up, trust me.
Update (September 2016): Recent volatility in the Mexican peso has caused exchange rates in this article to be quickly outdated. The current exchange rate is about 20 pesos per US dollar and 15 pesos per Canadian dollar.
The rate at which you exchange your cash will partially depend on your currency converter’s appetite for profits.
Follow these money-saving tips to sweeten up your Cabo vacation.
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