Travel Outside of Mexico City

Take a plane for distances farther than 4 hours by bus. This is just my opinion, but even though it’s more expensive by plane, you get more time at your destination albeit a few hours. But that’s enough time to take in a museum!

Aeromexico and Airports

Buy your tickets online on the Aeromexico site. Use the old site because the new site has a bug which will crash at the end, after you find a great price and want to pay! Once you buy your ticket and get a reservation number, you might be prompted to call the Aeromexico office anyway if you pay with a credit card with a U.S.A. billing address. Even with an Amex Platinum card, I have to call the office. Pay with Mexican pesos, otherwise you will be charged US$15 fee paying in US$. If your credit card does not charge a foreign exchange fee, then pay in Mexican pesos.

The flights I plan to take within Mexico will depart from Terminal 2 (domestic flights).  It is very helpful to have access to the Premier Clubs managed by Aeromexico. American Express Platinum is a very convenient card to have if you fly frequently. Wi-fi, snacks and drinks, as well as more comfortable seats and cleaner restrooms. The program through AmEx Platinum is Priority Pass. As more people get a club pass, the less “elite” the access becomes so lounges can become crowded.

Returning to the United States, it has been very helpful to have Global Entry to avoid the often long lines at immigration. The US$100 fee is waived with the AmEx Platinum card.

Bus Travel

Make your reservations online. Choose from the various companies that travel to your destination. Make sure you have access to your ticket barcode on your mobile device to get on the bus and/or access the waiting lounge. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait with the rest of the passengers.

I used the bus terminal at Taxqueña to travel to Cuernavaca. It was a far better trip than I expected. Don’t be put off as I was when you get there via metro and see the parked busses and tarp-covered market stalls. Just follow the one or two signs to the Terminal. You’ll be as surprised as I was to see the ample , new building with ticket counters of different bus companies.

I have taken the tourist buses (Pullman type) to and from CDMX to Cuernavaca, Puebla, and Tlacala with different degrees of comfort as far as bus travel goes.

Car Travel

I haven’t driven myself; only as a passenger with a friend. I don’t recommend driving, but that’s just my opinion. As a driver or a co-driver, the app Waze is really good!

Travel Apps

Air travel

Skyscanner

On the Fly

Delta

Transportation

Uber and Taxi’s. (Link to a post about how I feel about Uber)

Accommodations

Hotel.com

Destination Description

TripAdvisor

Credit Card

American Express Platinum + Priority Pass + Global Entry

Note: Visa credit cards are more accepted than AmEx. MasterCard is in between.

Onboard Entertainment

LAN Entertainment works on LAN flights (e.g. to Lima, Peru)

Gogo Entertainment is useless on Aeromexico flight.

 

 

Money in Mexico

What’s going on with the exchange rate? The US$ dollar to MX$ peso rate is favorable for those who have dollars. You get about MX$ 18 to 20 pesos for every US$1.00, which can stretch your buying power to experience more of Mexico in every way. Just divide by 20 to get an approximation.

Some examples:

  • a regular lunch at a “comida corrida” = MX$ 55.00 – 70.00 (with tip) ~ US$ 3.00
  • ticket with teacher discount at Cineteca = MX$20.00 ~ US$ 1.00
  • one ride (as long as you want) on the Metro = MX $5.00 ~ US$ 0.25

Compare these to New York City prices for the same things and you will be amazed at how much your quality of life could improve. Granted that you would have to like “comida corrida” (which has always been good in my opinion), like what’s offered at the Cinetea, and like to take the metro. It would be amazing to have a personal chef and a driver, but the Fulbright grant does not cover these.

  • New York restaurant (Flatiron-Grammercy): US$ 60/person ~ MX$ 1,226.00
  • New York movie, limited choices (Flatiron-Union Sq): US$20/ticket ~ MX$ 400.00
  • New York Subway to anywhere on the system (don’t go out): $2.75/ride ~ MX$ 56.00

Denominations

MX$ 20.00 ~ US$ 1.00

MX$ 50.00 ~ US$ 2.50

MX$ 100.00 ~ US$ 5.00

MX$ 200.00 ~ US$ 10.00

MX$ 500.00 ~ US$ 25.00

Coins are handy in MX$ 10 / 5 / 2 / 1 / .50 peso and centavo increments.

Suggestions

  • Get a coin pocket with a zipper; with a keychain you have two functions in one item. Ones with “Mexico” stamped in leather or sewn into the design are great souvenirs.
  • Always have some coins for tips and when the register comes up with the odd cents.
  • Always have bills smaller than MX$ 500 when buying something at a small shop that is less than MX$ 100 because most shops won’t have change for you.
  • Pick your battle when haggling in a handicrafts market over MX$ 50, for example, since it’s US$ 2.50 on the one hand or the price of a lunch on the other. Yes, haggling is expected and you should get into it.

Do you have a money story or a travelers tip for Living in…? Write me in the Contacts tab. Thank you!