Something I’ve always mentally debated is what the difference in price would be for me to take a one week all inclusive vacation to Mexico compared to doing the same trip on a tight backer budget. I recently spent a week on Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, and while my trip wasn’t all that cheap, I do know that you can get all inclusive deals out of Toronto for around $700 including flights so let’s look at the numbers.
I spent $1100 on a package with a group of friends and that included everything, all the food and booze we could eat and drink. Also the hotel we stayed at was absolutely amazing. The rooms were basically small apartments with views over pool area and the ocean and our resort also had a private beach. The private beach had its own bar and live music so all we had to do we chill out and let the waiter bring us drink after drink while we kicked back on the beach under the stars. So as you can probably imagine for this example we did spend more than you would if you were on a budget.
There were a few nights where we ventured into the town and we found a hostel that also had a bar outside and an outdoor nightclub so I found out what the cost of a dorm would be and of course I found out the cost of a 500ml bottle of Corona also. This gave me some ammo to play with so let’s look at some numbers:
Just a note that dates I looked at are in peak season – Feb 5th-Feb 12th 2014
Flights from Toronto to Cancun (return): $558
Transfer to island (return): $20
Accommodation for 7 nights in dorm: $13×7= $91
Average food cost: $10 per day x 7 = $70
Average alcohol cost: $10 per day x $70
So the rough cost I came up with is around $800 for a week of eating and drinking in Mexico as a budget backpacker. Now my figures may be a little off here, but I’ve done a bit of backpacking over the years so my initial thoughts were that once you get to a place you can always save money by living in squalor. You know what I mean…. eating cheap, staying in cheap hostels etc…. However, in the case of Canada to Mexico, the main expense is the flight and unless you spend hours on a bus or train there is no way out of this cost.
My conclusion from this is that if you have a full time job it is much more worthwhile to take advantage of an all inclusive package if you’re traveling short term. You don’t have to spend all your time at the resort, and we spent a heap of time exploring the island and surround areas on scooters and boats, but it makes no sense to me to spend a week in a budget hostel when you can stay in an amazing resort. Based on my numbers, we spent an extra $300 and we got a complete luxury experience so unless you’re traveling for months at a time I think going for an all inclusive is the best short term travel option.Read More