Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheap Flights to Mexico

David and I are excited about our house-sitting vacation in Mexico for the month of June, but we were not so elated when we checked on the price of getting us there. Flights out of San Diego hovered near the $600 per person mark. Considering our accommodations would be free, that's a bargain-priced vacation, but, still, we hoped to find a less expensive way to get to Ajijic, the little village just south of Guadalajara.

Since we live in San Diego County, it is relatively easy and inexpensive for us to reach the Mexican border. We wondered if it wouldn't be less costly to fly from the Tijuana International Airport instead of from San Diego Airport. Checking with friends who'd recently flown from Tijuana to Puerto Vallarta and Baja, we learned that the process is indeed easy and considerably cheaper. Instead of costing $600, each flight will be around $250!

A friend has kindly offered to drive us to the border. We'll then walk a few hundred yards to cross the border, take one of the dozen taxis always waiting there (It will cost around $5 for the taxi ride.), and head to the nearby airport. On the way home, we'll probably use a shuttle service ($60 for two people), rather than ask a friend to wait indefinitely while we go through customs.

There are other ways to do this, too. We could take the Coaster, the light rail system, from our town to the city of San Diego and then ride the trolley to the border. Or, if we use Volaris Airlines, a low-cost provider who's giving the long-standing, much more expensive airlines, Aeromexico and Mexicana, competition in the price-cutting department, we could use their shuttle service from the Greyhound Bus Station in San Diego for $20 per person.

My Canadian friend, who will be doing the second part of the house-sitting job, is considering another scenario that is likely to save transportation costs. She may make the short drive to Bellingham, Washington, and fly on Allegiant Airlines, a low-cost provider, to San Diego. She and her friend, who's accompanying her the first week, will get a hotel room for the night and shuttle to the border the next day. Even adding the hotel room and shuttle to the airline costs, she and her friend will likely save hundreds of dollars.

Now that all of us house-sitters will definitely be saving money on our transportation costs, we are even more enthusiastic about our summer in Mexico!

Practicalities -

If you live near one of the other border cities—Mexicali and Cuidad Juarez come to mind—you may want to consider flying from their airports to your Mexican destination.

If you live in San Diego, The least expensive shuttle service we have found is Access Shuttle. Their toll free number is 1-800-690-9090.

Even if you do not live in San Diego, you can use Aeromexico's bus shuttle service from as far north as Fresno, California ($35 one way for adults) and as far east as Colton ($25 one way for adults).

Volaris is a relatively new, quite reliable and efficient airline serving Mexico. Although not as well known as Aeromexico and Mexicana, it is equivalent in service. Their shuttle leaves from 120 W Broadway in San Diego. Call 1-866-988-3527 for details.

Flying within Mexico itself used to be a costly proposition. No more. There are new airlines that are finally offering low prices, and, in order to compete, the major airlines have lowered some of their prices, too. See the Mexico Guru site for more information and contact details.

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