Be a Travel Ninja on your Puerto Vallarta vacation

Whether traveling to Puerto Vallarta, or anywhere in Mexico or the world, these are economic travel tips that will save you money and make traveling easier.

Everyone hates bank fees. We love to share how they can be avoided. First of all, you need make sure your bank is in the Global ATM Network. Just ask; many banks are. If yours isn’t, open a travel account at another bank. Bank of America in the Global AM Network, as are Scotiabank and Santander Serfin, of which you can open accounts locally in Puerto Vallarta. If you’re a US resident, we highly recommend opening a high-yield account with Charles Schwab. To qualify, you’ll need a high-yield checking account but the great thing is, there’s no minimum deposit or monthly service fees, and they reimburse all your ATM fees at the end of each month.  While you’re on this money-saving-mission, check to see what your credit cards charge; most are 3% overseas charges and that does include Mexico. Find a credit card that doesn’t charge these fees. We suggest Chase Sapphire Preferred, Starwood American Express, Barclay Arrival Plus, Capital One or City Premier.

When traveling, check in with the local tourism office. Locals work in these places and they can tell you about special events that are occurring, free and with cover; discounts around town; transportation. A smart traveler uses a resource like this and often learns about the area they’re visiting. We have a wonderful tourism office here in Puerto Vallarta.

Always, always, always make copies of your passport, visas, credit card numbers and numbers to call in case of theft. Email them to yourself and to friends and family who you can contact in case of an emergency. Add at least one emergency contact, too with this paperwork.

We’ve discussed this so many times: learn the language. This doesn’t mean take a crash course in Rosetta Stone overnight, but do make sure you can ask where the bathroom is; thank the person who guided you there; be able to greet people with hellos and goodbyes and say thank you. This includes those of you who live in Puerto Vallarta, who don’t speak the language but dine out and enjoy the sights.

Whether traveling or staying in Puerto Vallarta, here’s one of our favorite money saving tips: visit expensive restaurants at lunch time. Enjoy the local food and beverages but do it on a budget. Many high end eateries serve the same menu items at lunchtime, at half the cost, as they do for their dinner menu. Ask for wine pairings, too, as those are often happy hour prices. The middle of the day is the best time to eat when you’re traveling; you’ll sleep better if you don’t go to bed with a full stomach.

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