What about Pesos?
I’m assuming we all know that the currency in Mexico is the peso,
Well hold on, sure most everyplace will take your dollars, (dollars, NO U.S. coins) but are you getting the best bang for your buck? In most cases, you are not.
Recently a friend who has never been to Mexico went on a vacation to Riviera Maya, she was traveling with others who have been there before, so I tried not to get to “know-it-all” and figured the seasoned travelers would help her. It appears they didn’t help, or she didn’t listen. Came home complaining about prices, but didn’t exchange her dollars for pesos! One restaurant they went to gave them a 10:1 exchange, so 600 pesos was $60.00us! Yikes, if they had exchanged at today’s rate for instance, that 600 pesos would have been $31.45 U.S.
Tip #1 If you are going to use dollars ask what exchange the place of business is giving, some stay in line with the actual rate, or close to it, and others may give a really bad rate. You may end up paying almost double! “no bueno” (not good) 🙂
Tip#2 Do not complain about prices and the bad exchange rate if you did not exchange your money.
Tip #3 Exchange your dollars! This may seem odd getting used to this strange money, but it will save you $ and it’s always good to use the local currency.
Tip#4 Sometimes it’s easier if you have a calculator or use an app on your phone so you really know what you’re spending. I use one called Dollar to Peso, you can put the amount in pesos in and it will calculate how much it is in dollars, and vice versa. This app stays pretty close to the daily rate most of the time.
You’re asking me now, “how and where do I exchange my money?”
There are several ways, one is to exchange your money before you travel, there are banks in the U.S. who will exchange, ask your bank, if they don’t do it, they can usually recommend a bank nearby for you. Many people I know order pesos online through Travelex. You can also wait until you get to Mexico and exchange at a casa de cambio, just know you may not get the best exchange rate and they do charge a fee. Most larger hotels will also exchange money for you. We typically use the ATM in Mexico to get our pesos. Lately there have been some problems with cloning of debit cards. This has made many people not comfortable using the ATM. If you take precautions you can still do this safely. First, use bank affiliated ATMs. Second cover your hand when entering your pin, third and very good tip, if you have the ability to change your pin number online, change it after each withdrawal. (I normally change my pin as soon as I get home) I also have a debit card that is just for travel, ask your bank if you can open an account like this, then just put the amount you want to spend on vacation in the account, and it won’t be tied to your entire bank account. I do this, I actually transfer money into the travel account as needed. Another new way to get your pesos is to use an online service called Xoom, this company is owned by Paypal. You can send money to yourself in Mexico from your bank account or paypal account and pick up your pesos when you arrive in Mexico! You do have to pay a $4.99 fee per transfer to use Xoom. This is a pretty darn slick way of sending yourself money. They also have an app for your phone so you can send yourself more cash if you need it!
I hope this answers your questions on exchanging to pesos, if not send me an email and I’ll try to help!