Yes, you read the title right. I spent a week in Cancun for less than $600. That included round trip, non stop airfare from LAX, and 6 nights in an all inclusive hotel in downtown Cancun! Sounds impossible, I know- but I did it, and I'm going to tell you how you can do it too.... You ready?
First and foremost, what I did (and what I recommend you do too) is set a budget. I came up with exactly how much I wanted to spend for this trip. My initial budget was only $500. I didn't want to spend more than that for this vacation. However, after looking at my options- I saw that with just a few bucks more, I could easily get everything I wanted. So, I upped my budget to $600.
After upping the budget, I was able to find a suitable hotel right in the heart of downtown Cancun, called the Adhara Hacienda. (http://adharacancun.com/en/disponibilidad.php) It was a spectacular hotel. From it's proximity to the airport and the beach, to it's 2 onsite restaurants and excursion center, this hotel offered everything you'd expect from a 5 star resort. Located just 25 minutes from the airport and the beach, this hotel sat on a quiet street with lots of local shops, restaurants, and markets to choose from. However, I never had to leave the hotel because everything I needed was on the property. The pool, the swim up bar, a gift shop, a small gym, an indoor bar, and buffet style breakfast in the downstairs restaurant made this hotel the perfect stay. The hotel was clean, and quiet, and the bilingual staff were excellent with accommodating me. It was never over crowded or busy with tourists all over the place which is always a bonus for me when traveling. The best part though, my room was only $60 U.S. a night plus taxes. Talk about a steal! In total, I paid just over $350 for a weeks stay. I booked directly through the hotel to get the best possible rates on a room. And the room was immaculate! Clean, working AC, hot water, big soaking tub, a safe for my valuables, and a private balcony. I was impressed with what I received for so little with this hotel.
Another great thing about the hotel was that they offered FREE shuttle service to and from the airport and the beach, and who doesn't love free?! That was an expense that I was able to save money on right there. A taxi to the beach and airport was roughly only $350 pesos (which translates to about $20 U.S. dollars.) Not bad, right? Plus the ride, even though they said was 25 minutes to either place, really only felt like 15 minutes to get there, and the drivers were friendly and even showed me the best place on the beach to rent a cabana. Cool!
As for my flights, I used a sight called, get this... Cheap O Air! (www.cheapoair.com) The name says all you need to know about the site. They offer cheap, affordable flights and compares the rates amongst all the airlines so it's easy to choose the perfect flight for your budget. I was able to play with my travel dates a bit and found that the best day for me to get the lowest rate was on a Monday. So, I booked the flights for a grand total of $228 non stop, round trip, and flew on United Airlines. Which was perfect for me because I'm already a MileagePlus Member with United. I was able to save big and rack up some nice miles for this vacation. It was a win/win situation all the way around.
(( A quick bit of advice: being flexible with your travel dates can save you money as well. Always look to see when the best day is to fly as prices often fluctuate throughout the week and weekend. Also, to save a few more dollars, try to travel with a carry on only. It'll save you from having to pay to check your bags in. Plus you're on and off the plane and in and out the airport without ever having to wait on your bags. ))
So, in conclusion, this is how I was able to take a week long vacation in Cancun, for less than $600! Altogether I paid $588 for this trip! Unbelievable! It took some slight digging to make it happen, but I eventually struck gold when I found it. And that is how you travel for less. Being diligent in your quest to find the cheapest rates. Always do your research and look around. Don't just book the first thing you see because you don't want to go through multiple sites. There are always other options. The best options are to book directly with the hotel and/or airlines. Sites like Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity sometimes have hidden fees that charge you to book your vacation. Not only that, if you face an emergency and need to cancel your reservations, they don't always have the best refund policies. Be smart about how you book.
One last thing to always consider when traveling and wanting to save money is to choose your location wisely. We all know that location is everything. This is why I decided not to stay directly on the beach while in Cancun. There was no way I would've been able to stay within my budget by staying in the hotels located on the beach. Sure, it would've been more convenient, and I could've simply upped my budget $100-$200, but the entire point of having a budget is to save money! Also, staying directly on the beach would've been a lot more busy and crowded with other tourist, making checking in and out of hotels a nightmare, as well as getting adequate service. I've found that the more people there are in any situation, the busier the staff are, and the less quality service you'll receive. Not in all cases, but in some.
So, do you think you're ready to go out and find your dream vacation for $600 or less? They're out there. You just have to be serious and patient when looking for them. Good luck on your quest, and as always- if you enjoyed reading this blog post, please feel free to share it with others. You never know who may need the information.
Best wishes and happy travels!
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