A romantic, tropical vacation in Mexico with your loved one— what could be better on the other side of a year-long global pandemic? Erica and Scott, a travel-loving couple from Jacksonville, Florida, spent a week in Quintana Roo, Mexico, saving $1,200 and staying in a beautiful condo for almost nothing.

How they vacationed in Mexico for (almost!) free

How we saved $1,200 on our romantic Mexico vacation

Erica and Scott saved $1,200 on their Mexico vacation by using HomeExchange, a home swap website that offers unlimited free accommodations with membership. Scott and Erica and their three homeschooled children saved nearly $12,000 on accommodations in 2020, but this getaway was just for the two of them!

Travel with HomeExchange

A comparable Mexico vacation rental in February would cost $1,200 on Airbnb. But since Scott and Erica are HomeExchange members, their stay was included with the price of the yearly membership, so they stayed in a gorgeous home for free. On top of accommodation savings, they saved money on food and equipment, enjoying the comforts of home in a fully-stocked HomeExchange.

Living in real homes helped the couple save money on renting or buying beach gear, since the homes were already packed with all they needed. Many HomeExchanges include surfboards, kayaks, beach towels, toys, and umbrellas.

When they have stayed in Airbnb rentals, Erica said she struggles with how bare bones the homes are— "it's just a mattress and a couch," she said. HomeExchange has all the touches of home: spices, dishes, bikes, and the other amenities that make the vacation relaxing. For more about the difference between HomeExchange and Airbnb, check out Scott and Erica's YouTube video.

Where they stayed: Mexico vacation rental alternatives

Scott and Erica stayed in this newly renovated two-bedroom condo. The elegant space has a panoramic ocean view and easy access to dining, shopping, and snorkeling nearby.

They stayed in Akumal, Mexico, a village on the Riviera Maya with a laid-back atmosphere and community feel. The family-friendly village has lots to do, including beautiful beaches and snorkeling and local reefs and caves to explore. Scott and Erica had plenty to do during their stay— they dove with bull sharks, explored cenotes, had their fill of tacos and margaritas, and relaxed on the beach.

Traveling to Mexico while taking COVID-19 precautions

How we saved $1,200 on our romantic Mexico vacation

HomeExchange's COVID-19 guarantees, flexible cancellation policy, and private homes ensure it's a safer way to vacation during a global pandemic.

With HomeExchange, you can enjoy the comfort of a house or apartment just for you and your loved ones. There are no common areas to share, and no risk of meeting a stranger as soon as you leave your room like in a hotel. You'll spend your vacations in real, authentic and warm homes with fewer guests per month than other accommodation options.

Scott and Erica shared that they felt safe flying to Mexico and took all the necessary precautions, including being tested for COVID-19 before returning to the US. US travelers can still fly to Mexico, though the land border remains closed. No testing requirements are in place to enter Mexico, but you can expect temperature checks and other screenings upon arrival and you must have a negative COVID-19 test result to return to the US.

Why they love HomeExchange for budget-friendly travel

How we saved $1,200 on our romantic Mexico vacation

In their two years of HomeExchanging (read about their first year here) Scott and Erica have found that HomeExchange is the best way to travel the world on a budget.

HomeExchange has no competition, according to Erica, "There's nothing like HomeExchange as far as comfort and hospitality, and feeling like I'm leaving my house but I'm going to another place that feels like home," she said. "You can't replace that with Airbnb or a hotel."

Home swapping lets this self-proclaimed middle class family, living in an 1800-square-foot home, to see the world without breaking the bank. "We're not wealthy people, but we travel like we're wealthy," Scott said. "We're only able to do that because we can stay places for free."

How to get started with HomeExchange

The principle of home exchanging is simple: swap your home with someone else and enjoy the wonders of each other's city! For example, you can stay at Scott and Erica's home in Jacksonville and their family will come to your home for the week and explore your city.

HomeExchange also has a points exchange system, offering even more flexibility to members and facilitating non-reciprocal exchanges. For example, Scott and Erica give you GuestPoints to stay in your home, and you use those points to stay in Mexico for a week.

Signing up for HomeExchange is free, so you can start communicating with members as you organize your next vacation. You are only required to pay the annual membership fee of $220 when you're ready to finalize your first exchange. Once you pay this membership fee, you can enjoy unlimited exchanges for the entire year! You'll also be supported 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and covered in the event of unforeseen events with our guarantees.

The HomeExchange community has more than 100,000 members in 133 countries and is looking forward to welcoming you. Sign up and start organizing your next vacation with HomeExchange.

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