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Costs, Money And Banks in Mexico: Costs

The developed tourist resorts and big cities are invariably more expensive than more remote towns, and certain other areas also have noticeably higher prices - among them the industrialized north, especially along the border, Baja, and all the newly wealthy oil regions. Prices can also be affected by season and many hotels raise their prices during busy times of the year. Summer, Christmas and Easter are the peak times for Mexican tourists and areas like Acapulco and Canc?n, which attract large numbers of overseas visitors, put their prices up during the high season from November to May. Special events are also likely to be marked by price hikes. Nonetheless, wherever you go you can probably get by on US$225/?150 a week (you could reduce that if you hardly travel around, stay only on campsites or in hostels, live on the most basic food and don't buy any souvenirs, but it hardly makes for an enjoyable trip), while on US$500/?330 you'd be living very well.

Accommodation prices range from only a couple of dollars for a beach caba?a to upwards of US$60/?40 for five-star luxury. A room in a cheap hotel costs US$9-15/?6-10 per person and a room in the mid-range US$20-50/?13-33. Food prices can also vary wildly, but you should always be able to get a substantial meal in a basic Mexican restaurant for around US$4/?3. Most restaurant bills come with fifteen percent IVA (Impuesto de Valor A?adido, or VAT sales tax) added; this may not always be included in prices quoted on the menu. If you intend to travel around a lot, transport could be another major expense because distances are so huge. On a per-kilometre basis, however, prices are very reasonable: Mexico City to Acapulco, for example, a journey of over 400km, costs less than US$22/?15 by first-class bus, while a 24-hour journey such as Mexico City to Canc?n (1800km) works out at around US$80/?53.

As always, if you're travelling alone you'll end up spending more - sharing rooms and food saves a substantial amount. In the larger resorts, you can get apartments for up to six people for even greater savings. If you have an international Student or Youth Card, you might find the occasional reduction on a museum admission price, but don't go out of your way to obtain one, since most concessions are, at least in theory, only for Mexican students. Cards available include the ISIC card for full-time students and the Go-25 youth card for under-26s, both of which carry health and emergency insurance benefits for Americans, and are available from youth travel firms such as STA. Even a college photo ID card might work in some places.

Service is hardly ever added to bills, and the amount you tip is entirely up to you - in cheap places, it's just the loose change, while expensive venues tend to expect a full fifteen percent. It's not standard practice to tip taxi drivers .

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