Daydreaming about a Mexican beach vacation is almost a national pastime, especially as the weather turns from gorgeous summer days to chilly fall temperatures--not to mention in the depths of winter. But once you've booked your time in the sun, daydreaming needs to take a backseat to planning for a while. That way, you can make sure your trip lives up to your expectations, and that all of the logistics go smoothly.
One aspect of logistics you'll need to handle ahead of your trip is financial: specifically, you'll want to ensure you have Mexican pesos on hand as soon as you land in your destination, and for the duration of your trip. Carrying the local currency comes with many benefits, so you'll need to plan ahead to have it with you.
The benefits of having Mexican Peso on hand!
From the minute you land at the airport, you'll be happy to have pesos on hand. It streamlines many transactions in Mexico, but the very first ones you're likely to experience are paying for a taxi, or tipping service providers like your bus driver to the resort. Both of those exchanges will be much easier with pesos on hand.
Throughout your trip, you'll find other transactions will also be easier with pesos, from purchasing food from local vendors, tipping hotel staff, and shopping in local markets. Many local craftspeople, who depend on tourist customers, only accept cash, and their goods can make for some of the best and most meaningful souvenirs.
While the US dollar is also widely accepted in Mexico, even by many small vendors, it's to your advantage to carry pesos. Given the exchange rate on September 17, 2017, $1 USD to $16.94 pesos, you'll be forced to round up or down if you're paying in US dollars. The peso gives you much more specificity on prices and tipping.
Now that exchanging your currency into pesos is on your to-do list, your next priority is to find a favourable exchange rate to maximize your vacation spending money. While the bank seems like a convenient option, you'll invariably find more favourable rates at a currency exchange business like VBCE--and you will most certainly be able to exchange a higher volume of currency at once. Additionally, your local bank branch may or may not have pesos on hand, or not in the volume that you need.
It's also important to plan well ahead for two reasons. One, currency exchange rates fluctuate over time in response to a number of market factors. If you start to watch the currency now, and sign up for the VBCE newsletter, you'll be able to identify optimal times to make your currency exchange. On top of that, planning ahead will help you avoid relying on the currency exchange businesses at the airport, which consistently have the least favourable rates.
Paying attention to exchange rates
The peso is priced on a much different scale than the dollar, so the prices can seem completely disconnected from reality, especially when you're already on vacation. Currently September 17,2017, $1 CAD is worth $13.56 pesos, which can greatly skew how much an experience or purchase costs in your mind. For example, a lunch that would cost $20 in Canada would cost you $271 pesos at current exchange rates.
To prepare yourself, make a rough budget based on what you want to spend in Canadian dollars on different meals, experiences, and items, and know how much that equates to in pesos ahead of time. You'll be much more prepared to handle the differences in pricing that way.
Returning peso when you get back
Unlike currencies like the US dollar and the euro, the peso is not widely accepted outside of Mexico, so you'll need a plan to exchange your money back into Canadian dollars if you end up with currency left over at the end of your trip.
When you're spending on vacation, make sure to focus on spending any coins you have, because most currency exchanges will only accept bills upon your return. Additionally, just like you avoided airport currency exchanges on your way down to Mexico, you'll want to avoid them on the way back as well. A dedicated currency exchange business will be able to give you the most favourable rate when you exchange your currency back into Canadian dollars as well, saving you money at the end of the trip as well.