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Here is your Travel Itinerary for a Two Week Road Trip In Riviera Maya, Mexico for Under $750

Updated: Sep 18, 2022



If you're anything like me, the allure of traveling to a beautiful, exotic destination for next-to-nothing is hard to resist. But it's a real challenge to travel, especially for a longer trip, on a modest budget.

When we decided to head to Mexico, my partner Raul and l were in the early days of creating our online businesses. So the income was anything but consistent. But we were burnt out and needed to find a solution for some well-deserved time off.

If you're an entrepreneur or freelancer, you can relate to the importance of taking a break from putting in endless hours to make it all work. We saw it as a must and knew we had to get creative.

And that's why I'm excited to share my story of how I traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico for just under $750. If you follow my lead, I'm confident you can too.

I'll walk you through my process so you can think of how discounted travel can work for you on your next trip.


Our Route Through the Riviera Maya



We're based in Austin, Texas, and had about two weeks of time to head down south. We took a flight and rented a car, planning a road trip with four major stops.


We stayed in the towns of Puerto Morelos, Bacalar, Playa Del Carmen, and Cancun.

We took one major road (highway 307) that started at the Cancun airport and stretched down coastal Mexico to the naturally pristine town of Bacalar.

The total driving time was 9.5 hours round-trip, but this is broken up over the course of 16 days.


How I Got a Deeply Discounted Trip to Quintana Roo, Mexico



Last year I was waiting to board at the Austin airport when an attendant called me to the counter. She pulled me aside and informed me that there was a shortage of seats on the aircraft and wanted to know if I'd be willing to take a later flight that arrived at my destination that evening.

Once I agreed, she arranged for me to catch an alternate flight and provided me with an $800 credit voucher for a future flight for my troubles.

Score!

Fast forward a couple of months. I'm sitting down with my partner to price-checking destinations that our $800 credit can cover. We quickly find out that if we want to travel internationally, we need to pick a popular nearby destination to keep costs under the value of our voucher.

We decided that a 16-day trip to Cancun was the best bet. It was close to our home in Austin, beautiful, affordable, and warm. There was just one small problem: while Cancun was the most affordable and quick destination, we didn't want to spend the vacation sitting on a single beach with other tourists.

How could we explore this terrain in a way that felt intentional and interwoven with the authentic Mexican communities of the Yucatan Peninsula? And how could we do it at a fraction of the price?

Well, instead of spending an average of $4,500 to hang and drink on a resort beach for two weeks, I decided to plan everything myself. To my delight, planning the trip myself resulted in over 80% in savings.

For two weeks of lodging I budgeted $500, there is a budget for a car rental and gas of $475, an activity budget of $300, and a grocery budget of $200. This totals the trip at $1,475, which breaks down to $105.35 a day.

These costs split between me and my partner meant that my individual cost was $737.50.


Not so bad when you consider that this is an all-inclusive experience that includes all of your activities, transportation, food, and lodging within that price. This is merely a third of the cost of your average resort, and they don’t include several of the perks we will be getting within this itinerary.


How to Save Up to 80% on Your Trip to Mexico



How did I keep costs down? here were our top tactics for saving money and maximizing our experiences:


1. Rent a Car

The first way we were able to drive prices down was by renting a car. This saved us money on the commute to and from the airport. It also made it much cheaper to enjoy local experiences without the high cost of tours.

We found it easy to drive in Mexico since we were on the right side of the road and the streets were in pretty good condition. There are very few highways through the jungle, so you'll find yourself heading on a single road for most of the trip.


This makes it hard to get lost! You'll also want to do a bit of research to be able to identify the street signs correctly beforehand if you don't know Spanish.


2. Stick to Happy Hours

Just like in the states, happy hours are our favorite way to experience high-quality food and drinks without breaking the bank.

We made sure to hit up happy hour menus whenever we were feeling peckish or needed a refreshing beverage to cool down from the heat. Not only did this save us money, but it also allowed us to try a bunch of different restaurants that we may not have otherwise visited.


3. Rent Spaces with Kitchens

Whenever we travel, we make it a priority to find lodging with a kitchen so that we can cook some of our meals. Hostels are a good option, but since we are a couple and appreciate some privacy, we opted for Airbnb rentals that were priced below $50 a night.

By splitting these costs with my partner, each night was between $10 to $25 dollars per person. This saved us a lot of money on food costs and also included a few amenities such as coffee and purified water for deeper savings.


4. Take Advantage Of Off Hours and Days

This tip will save time in addition to money, and give you a more intimate experience.

We found that by avoiding the midday heat and going out in the morning or evening, we could explore ancient ruins without the crowds. We also had the entire beach to ourselves when everyone else was taking their siesta indoors.

The same goes for days of the week—if you want to experience a popular site without all the people, aim to visit mid-week instead of on the weekends. Keep an eye out for free admission days as well!


5. Volunteer for Airline Credit

If you have the time and flexibility, consider volunteering to be bumped from your flight in exchange for a voucher. We were able to get $800 in vouchers this way, which more than covered our airfare costs.

Of course, this isn't an option for everyone but it's worth considering if you're looking for ways to reduce your travel expenses. You can often negotiate the amount of compensation you receive, so if you want to make it worth your time, aim for a voucher that will cover your entire trip!