One of the things worth noting right off is the great exchange rate we got. Last year when we visited Mexico, the U.S. dollar was worth just over 14 pesos. This year, it was up to over 19 pesos to the dollar, so we got a lot more for our money. When we charged expenses on our travel card, we got the full 19+ pesos exchange rate. To save ATM fees (which are 3% of the amount withdrawn at Bank of America), we brought cash in USD and changed it for pesos at currency exchange booths at the airport and in the towns we visited. The exchange rates we got there ranged from 17.63 to 18.2 pesos to the dollar, still good, and a lot better than 14+ pesos to the dollar.
Healthcare: We both came down with bad head colds by the time we got to Oaxaca. There was an Farmacia Ahorro about two blocks from our hotel so we asked them what they recommended. They sent us next door to the doctor who works there six days a week. He examined Paul, whose cold was about two days ahead of mine. The doctor wrote prescriptions which we filled right next door at the pharmacy. The charge for the doctor: $0. One of the medications we asked for was a vitamin injection of B-complex (they didn’t offer vitamin C injections, which we would have preferred). The schedule was one injection each day for five days. Two days later, when I went to see him, I also got a five-day vitamin kit. So, every day for a total of seven days (Sunday excluded) we stopped by for our injections. Total cost for the doctor: $0. In total, we spent $56.36 for the vitamin injections, cough medicine, and an antihistamine for each of us, plus a bottle of vitamin C tablets.
Laundry Services: When traveling for a month, we only bring enough clothes for 7-10 days. Public laundries are readily available and they are inexpensive. They charge by weight and the clothes come back clean and neatly folded. We had our laundry done six times in all for a total cost of $24.41.
Shoe Shines: Paul loves to have his leather shoes shined when we are in Mexico because they do such a good job and it’s so inexpensive. He had it done twice, once in Puebla and once in Oaxaca. Total cost: $2.22
Phone: When we arrived at the Mexico City airport, we bought a Telcel chip for one of our phones. It included enough minutes to last almost our entire trip. Total cost: $10.89.
Hair and Nails: Paul got a haircut at a barbershop near our hotel in Oaxaca for 50 pesos ($2.76) and I got a pedicure at a hair salon for 230 pesos ($12.71).
Purchases for ourselves and for friends: A trip to Mexico always means bringing back wonderful things for ourselves and to give as gifts. For a total of $229.22, we bought:
- 2 pairs of shoes and 3 pairs of socks
- a leather belt
- a sunhat
- 2 UDLAP caps and 1 shirt from Paul’s university
- 2 woven blouses from Oaxaca
- a DVD of the Ballet Folklórico de México
- a CD of over 1,000 photos taken during Paul’s four-day University reunion
- 8 woven wool coasters purchased from the weavers on our enVia tour
- 3 containers of mole negro
- 3 tin Christmas ornaments
- 4 pairs of earrings
- 3 refrigerator magnets
- a hummingbird alebrije (brightly colored Mexican folk art sculpture)
- an incense burner and two kinds of copal incense
- a decorative map of Mexico City
We packed a lot into our 30 days in Mexico. We had a great time, and we ate so much wonderful food. This newsletter barely scratchs the surface in describing it. We hope you enjoyed the pictures and videos of our trip and that you saw how we “travel the retire for less way.” Thanks for coming along!
- Our June 2015 Costa Rica (& Mexico) Cost of Living Expenses
- Retire for Less Went to Mexico!
- Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica: Vacation the Retire for Less Way!