* Flights - if flying through Mexico and some Central America we've used Volaris which has been wonderful at a more than reasonable price. If you have a smartphone, download the Volaris app and sign up for the obnoxious yet helpful emails. You can access the site from a computer of course. We've personally found $32 USD one-way tickets from Tijuana to states throughout Mexico when the deals are around. Our flight from Miami to Mexico City cost us $85 USD a person one-way with one of the deals.
* Transportation - Uber is available throughout CDMX and is quite affordable as long as you have service or wifi. You can travel across the city for about $5 USD. Even cheaper is the public transit through busses and trains. Each way is about 5 or 6 pesos or $0.25 and if using the trains you can transfer to different lines to get just about anywhere without paying additionally. There are also electric scooters in certain areas along with shared bike rentals which can cut down on costs as well.
* Room and Board - We've used sites like Airbnb, Couchsurfing and Workaway as means to travel along with the use of points we collect using rewards credit cards but primary in Mexico we've used Airbnb. It's safe, reliable, reviews are helpful and it takes the need out of carrying kitchenware, towels, etc. We typically search for places under $15 a night and have found some amazing places, even last minute. The last place we stayed we paid $11 a night and it was wonderful.
* Food - Street carts are everywhere and food is cheap. Tacos for 10 pesos or about $0.50 each, the mercados or farmers markets are even cheaper. As long as you're not in the very touristy areas you can find some of the best valued culinary experiences. We were recommended a local very nice sit-down restaurant (Piloncillo y Cascabel) which with a bottle of delicious Malbec from the Guadalupe Valle in Baja California, a shared starter, two entres and a dessert with gratuity under $30 USD. Our plan of attack towards food was to buy local cuisine at markets and cook two of three daily meals. The third we'd find an interesting restaurant and enjoy
* Communication - If using Airbnb, most accommodate WIFI. Otherwise depending on your phone and provider you can buy a local sim-card depending on provider for around $10-$12 USD at any OXXO (convenience store found everywhere) or as I do run with T-Mobile which works well throughout and I pay about $2 USD a day (I get 5GB at 4G LTE per cycle before it slows down to 3G with the unlimited plan per month)
* Entertainment - Museums are found all over Mexico and share a rich history of pre-America's past to present. Many can be accessed for about $3.50 a ticket and most accept card (to keep your pesos available and reduce the need to pull funds with a debit card; most central banks charge a $3.50 USD fee and will be displayed in pesos so don't be too alarmed but other ATM's can charge up to $12 USD with fees so be aware). Adult beverages again can vary depending on the neighborhood and location to touristic places but a domestic beer will cost from $0.75 - $2 USD while a craft beer possibly $3-$4 USD. Asking the locals for the inside scoop will many times provide local fun at a reasonable price. I mean locals definitely aren't looking to get gouged at the touristic prices to have fun.
* Other - There is always the case of a cough or an unexpected expense which we keep open as to effectively track our spending
Budgeting or self-discipline is the number one thing to being able to enjoy yourself in Mexico City (or anywhere a matter of fact). We run a weekly budget beginning on Wednesday the day we began in CDMX and would run a log in a book each night of our expenditures through the day. Keeping receipts, writing a quick reminder on pesos spent or using my online bank records would give us a quick overview of what we spent. We ran a log of each of the above categories per day and for each would total give an idea of how to curb our habits. If one day we spent a little over, say while treating ourselves to a nice dinner, we would take it easy the next day. Running a weekly budget ($350 or $50 a day) makes it easy to keep in line. As long as your'e honest with yourself and true to your budget you can do just about anything. Both of us are jobless and homeless but with the sense of adventure and our savings we are taking this beyond CDMX which you can too. If $50 a day seems a little much, $40, $30 or even free if working through workaway can be a possibility. Being creative is key while having a plan will allow you to enjoy adventure through Mexico affordably. Last note, I understand myself that this may seem like all of the work may take away from the fun factor but in all honesty after building good budgeting habits and taking five minutes out of each night to keep a log it becomes painless and puts you in control. Best wishes to all of you travelers and if you haven't yet: Save, Book your flight, visit Mexico City. A treasure trove of rich history, culinary wonder and a culture as old as the America's themselves.
Alex & Bia
Free Mexico Mexico City Vagabond North America Budget
Mexico City is cool, vibrant, and eclectic. Oaxaca is beautiful, colourful, and laid-back. We LOVE both! Join us on this trip and allow us to show you why! Be prepared to fully immerse. See, listen, taste and smell while we walk through Mexico’s streets and markets, connect with its people, and try lots of mouth-watering food (and drinks)!
Mexico City Food & Cultural Tour
Experience one of the most magical neighborhoods in Mexico City, walk around beautiful cobbled streets. Go back in time and feel the charm of the colonial era, a neighborhood full of history, with lovely churches, monasteries and plazas. Between delicious food samples, you’ll visit cultural, religious and historic landmarks.