Mexico on the Cheap

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For some reason , I always thought an all-inclusive resort would be way out of my league when it came to vacationing with my three kids. I don’t know why.  I guess the idea of unlimited everything on a beautiful beach or poolside in a Mexican resort sounded expensive.

I was pleasantly surprised at the cost when I started researching. A lot of resorts offer “children stay and eat free” incentives! Who knew? I managed to take myself and 3 kids to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for 4 days at a total of $400 per person INCLUDING air fare. The only other cost was airport transportation and souvenirs.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I signed up at multiple travel and airline sites to get email notifications for deals (Expedia, Priceline,  Hotels.com, Frontier Airlines, Groupon, etc.) BONUS: I ended up getting points to use in the future.
  2. Determine a FEW different places you would be interested in visiting based on the deals available. Cancun, Cozumel, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic were the cheapest I had seen.
  3. Determine when you would like to go. There definitely are cheaper times of year than others. You will NEED to be a bit flexible. October and January are the absolute cheapest. If you CANNOT take your kids out of school, the second to last week of August is the next cheapest.
  4. Wednesdays and Saturdays are typically the best days fly. However, this can change depending on the deal you’re looking at and possibly the time of year.
  5. Have your money ready!! The best deals are usually 45 days out and last only 1-2 days, so be ready to pounce on that deal!
  6. Be okay with standard accommodations. I’m not saying to stay at a dump or bring pre-made PB&J sandwiches . But the trip is about memories and relaxation, not lavishness, right?

A couple of pointers:

  • We drove an hour and a half away to fly out of Chicago to get better pricing on air fare.
  • I found a parking/valet service for $8/day (It’s $18/day at the airport parking lot). They shuttled us right to the front door of our terminal and picked us up at our baggage claim when we returned.
  • At the resort destination, if there is no shuttle provided, there are LOTS of services on your travel site that will get you to the resort from the airport. I found a private shuttle that was the same price as the shared shuttles and they treated us like royalty when we arrived at the airport! (Now, foreign taxis creep me out for some reason so that wasn’t an option for me.) You may not feel the same way.
  • We stayed at a resort that was under construction but still fit the all-inclusive criteria I was looking for. Sacrifice a little when you can.
  • We stayed at the resort the entire time (I didn’t want to go gallivanting around a different country with 3 girls). There was endless food and drinks to be had, two pools, the beach, lounge chairs, swim up bar with every Virgin (and not so virgin) drink you could imagine. And plenty of daily activities for adults and kids.
  • Locals walked up and down the beach every day selling things so you can get your souvenir shopping done there or at the gift shop on site. Of course, there’s always the airport gift shop for anyone you forgot. I did a lot airport shopping.

You don’t have to break the bank to have a relaxing vacation. The kids need it. YOU need it. DO IT!

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