Monday, July 11, 2016

Mexico City Budget


Here's something I haven't done before, or at least, haven't posted before: an itemized budget following a trip. One of the main reasons I picked Mexico City is because it's an inexpensive destination for an American - cheap flights are easy to find and the exchange rate is good. Mexico City suffers less inflation than the more touristy areas of the Riviera Maya, even during touristy times like Spring Break. 

At the time of my trip, March of 2016, the exchange rate was 1 USD = 17 MEX.

AIRFARE
313.90 USD 

I purchased my airfare about four months out, through Delta. I'd been watching prices (in an incognito tab - important!) for a few weeks, so I hopped on this fare as soon as I saw it. It was cheaper than flying to see my parents in Texas at Christmas!

LODGING AND PARKING
95.38 USD - Comfort Inn BWI, one night
23.18 USD - Comfort Inn BWI parking
24.54 USD - Hostel Suites DF deposit
2772.00 - Hostel Suites DF, seven nights
15.00 USD - hotel tips
= 321.10 USD

I paid for cheap airfare, quite literally, when an early flight time meant I needed to book a hotel at the airport the night before. The Comfort Inn near BWI was one of the worst hotel experiences I've had, and the only thing holding me back from writing an entire post about how horrible it was is that I don't feel like reliving it. Maybe someday. At the other end of the spectrum, my hostel in Mexico City was amazing - clean, quiet, hot water, great desk staff, and a private room with an en suite for about $30 a night.

TRANSPORTATION

248.90 - Uber, four trips
255.00 - Uber tips
13.00 - trolley
40.00 - metro, 8 rides
6.00 - tren ligera
94.00 - accidentally spent on tren ligera
= 38.70 USD

Uber in Mexico City was incredible as well. It was nice for peace of mind - because you type in your pick-up and drop-off locations, there's no language barrier to deal with (though most of my drivers spoke English), plus, there's an electronic record of who picked you up and where you went. I tipped as I would in the states, which was probably too much, but every driver I had was super professional. The metro was a great way to get around as well - about $.33 a ride and relatively easy to navigate, thanks to the system of colors and symbols for each line and stop.

FOOD
~80.00 - Sears Café
40.00 - Taqueria Auténtica
63.00 - Churreria el Moro
150.00 - La Guapachosa
172.80 - Sanborns
10.00 - ice cream
2411.00 - Pujol
5.82 USD - Margarita at the Gran Hotel
80.00 - Tostadas Coyoacan
~40.00 - candied pineapple
~30.00 - hotcakes
~17.00 - Cafe Jarocho
~50.00 - LaTorta Brava
~60.00 - Taqueria Auténtica
10.00 - ice cream
~80.00 Taqueria el Caifan
249.60 - La Cervecería de Barrio
330.00 - Qué Bo!
= 228.19 USD

You may notice, skimming down this list, that lunch at Pujol cost more than everything else I ate that week put together. You can spend a lot on food in Mexico City, or you can spend next to nothing.

SHOPPING
170.00 - lipstick
295.00 - Sirena
90.00 - floral ornament
90.00 - magnet
350.00 - large embroidered bag
30.00 - postcards
18.00 - paper banner
135.00 - Oaxacan Pottery
75.00 - bobble-head tortugas
70.00 - Jaguar Whistle
345.00 - Casa Azul giftshop
170.00 - Coatlicue book
280.00 - Airport MAP store
= 124.59 USD





Again, here's a place where you can either cut costs if you're trying to save money, or you can find some real bargains.

MUSEUMS AND FEES
65.00 - Templo Mayor
free - Arte Popular (free on Sundays)
5.00 - Rivera Mural Museum camera permit (free on Sundays)
64.00 - Teotihuacan
57.00 - Castillo Chapultepec
20.00 - voladores tip
59.00 - Museo Antropologia
190.00 - Casa Azul + photo fee
30.00 - Catedral Metropolitana bell tower tour
~50.00 - Bellas Artes
= 32.00 USD

Here's Mexico City's true embarrassment of riches - not only do they claim to have more museums than any other city in the world, but on the whole, these museums are cheap. Frida Kahlo's home was by far the most expensive museum I visited, clocking in at around $11 USD with a photo permit. The Anthropology Museum - one of the best museums in the world - is $3.50 USD. With prices as they were, I felt I could try anything I had time for, without worrying whether or not it was worth the money.

ACTIVITIES
350.00 - Xochimilco boat
2300.00 - hot air balloon
250.00 - Teotihuacan transport roundtrip
= 170.59 USD

Here's another place I splurged. The hot air balloon ride was totally worth it.

ETC.
74.00 USD - insurance
30.00 USD - ATM fees
= 104.00 USD

Here's one place I do get hosed - on ATM fees. I could apply for a different card just for travel or i could be more mindful of when and where I take money out. I also got travel insurance for the first time and would consider doing so in the future as well.

TOTAL = 1333.07

Overall, I'm extremely happy with what I ended up paying for this trip - a little under $200 a day, all-inclusive, for a week long spring break in a world-class city. It would be easy to do Mexico City even cheaper, or to splurge more, which is one of the main reasons I now recommend the city to anyone who asks! Hopefully this will give you an idea of how much to budget for your own Mexico City vacation.


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