Hi everyone! I´m glad to be back! I know in my last post I said I´d be gone for about a week, and it´s been almost two, but I haven´t forgotten about you! I´ve just been really busy! Since we last talked, I´ve moved into my brother in law´s house and started the new job! I´ve also joined a gym and am now fighting off a cold Hahaha it´s been a busy time.
But all of this is since I´ve come back from a lovely vacation. I went to Puebla–where my family lives–for a few days, and then we all went to Cancun together. It was me and my husband, two cousins, one cousin´s girlfriend, and her little sister.
The plan for this vacation started when Cirque du Soleil announced they were opening a new resident show in Cancun called Joya back in November. I´m a huge CdS fan, and with Cancun being so close, I told my aunt, “I´ll pay for everyone´s tickets to the show if you pay for the hotel while we´re there.” She said, “deal!” and the planning began.
In the end, she ended up paying for the hotel but not coming with us–she said she would feel out of place with all us “young people.” I insisted otherwise, but she declined. The good thing was that she booked a suite for the six of us with a kitchenette. You might recall it was kind of my first time paying for a trip in adance with real money. That felt good. My cousins and I split all the other costs. While I was there, I realized how actively frugal we were all being, and how much I enjoy every day that I´m on vacation–and I thought to myself, life should always live like this.
LIVING LIKE I´M ON VACATION
Spend on experiences! I realize that the way I (and my husband and my family) travel is different from the way a lot of people travel. First of all, we´re super active morning to night. We´re about seeing what there is to see and adventuring. None of this sleeping in or laying by the pool/beach stuff. You can relax at home! What you can´t do at home is visit Mayan pyramids. Sure, we spend some money on entrance fees to archeological sites, but it´s money very well spent. These are experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
Splitting costs: We rented a car while we were there. Michael and I paid half of this, and it was only about $100. We also split the cost of gas and tolls with my cousins. It would have been far, far more expensive for us to take tours from the hotel or even taxis. We decided to “rough it” and use Google Maps to get to where we wanted to go. And yes, there were 6 of us and we squeezed into one car. (We´ll save talking about Mexican stereotypes for another day, okay?!) We might have been a little more comfortable in two cars, but that would have doubled not only the cost of rental cars, but gas and tolls, too. No point in that.
Use your connections: One of my cousins has a friend who happens to be a concierge at the resort we were staying at. I don´t think he had enough pull to get us a free room or anything, but he was able to send a shuttle to pick us up at the airport (before we had the rental car). This was a huge help because no way would we all have fit in one taxi with our suitcases and all. I´m certain that paying for two taxis from the airport (which was about 45 minutes away) would have cost an arm and a leg.
Cooking at home: It was absolutely brilliant to get a suite with a kitchenette. Even though I didn´t pay for the room, I´m aware this was more expensive than one without. But we saved a ton of money by eating in. As soon as we arrived we took our rental car to the grocery store and picked up all the basics. Our third of the bill was $30. You read that right. We bought cereal, hot dogs, cold cuts, frozen chicken breasts, instant mashed potatoes, hummus, crackers, granola bars, drinks, etc. While this diet may not be sustainable long term, it certainly felt hearty. We had plenty to eat at any hour. We saved by not eating out, and we saved in gas by not having to drive somewhere for every meal (or heaven forbid eat at the super expensive restaurants on the resort property). We did eat out once. We were already out, and popped into a little place and got two pizzas to split. Our third was like $11 and they were delicious.
Party in moderation: After visiting different archaeological sites during the day, we´d spend most evenings in downtown Playa del Carmen. A techno music festival happened to be happening while we were there, so there was good music basically everywhere. My cousins drink much more than Michael and I do, haha (we´re kind of like old people–they act their age), but they were smart about their expenses in this regard, too. We bought what we wanted to drink at the grocery store ahead of time so we´d have a few drinks at the hotel before going out. This way, if we stopped into a club or bar, we´d spend far less on drinks while still “partying” and having fun out.
I´m always sad when such great trips come to an end. But I´m grateful for having such a wonderful family and these two cousins who are like brothers to me. And so, I´ve decided to continue living like I´m on vacation, for the sake of my finances! We spent our money on great experiences by day, partied smart by night, ate in, used our connections to cut costs, and split our expenses.
Have you had any frugal realizations while travelling?