Flying vs. RVing to Mexico

A helpful comparison of the pros & cons of vacationing south of the border with or without your RV.

Scott & Jaime Sichler Scott & Jaime Sichler  |  12.12.2018

We’ve been fortunate to take two trips to Mexico in the last 12 months. The first was a trip by plane to meet up with family in Cabo San Lucas and the second was an extended RV trip around Northern Baja in our Winnebago. The trips, although not identical, emphasized what we love about RV travel.

Come Fly Away

For our first trip, we put the Bago in storage, left our dog Crosby with Jaime’s Mom, and did something we don’t do very often now – we caught a flight. Air travel is definitely faster than driving, but comes with the price of tickets, the hassle of navigating airports, long TSA security lines, the anxiety inducing secondary screening red light/green light at the Cabo airport and strip searches when returning to the U.S. (kidding … that last one did not happen).

flying vs. rving to mexico

But when traveling by RV, getting there is so much more enjoyable – as it is not so much about the destination, but also the journey and getting to explore places as you go. Plus, the added bonus was that Crosby also got to enjoy Mexico on the RV trip.

flying vs. rving to mexico

Home is Where You Park it

In Cabo, we stayed at a very nice four-star resort with our own suite. The suite came with a big king-size bed with a feather topper and down comforter, but we actually missed our own bed and pillows. There’s also the kind of ick factor of hotels no matter how clean they seem, knowing many people have used the bed, bedding, and room.

flying vs. rving to mexico

Cooking

Eating out all the time can be a real budget killer – especially if dining at the resort property. Our Cabo suite had a full-size kitchen and we did hit up Walmart and a market to stock up on groceries and beer to save money. But, we missed our knives, spices, and appliances like the Instant Pot. Our double-sided refrigerator/freezer in The Bago also allowed us to bring a good supply of meat to Baja. While produce in Mexico is excellent and inexpensive, meat is more expensive, and cuts can be a little strange to us.

flying vs. rving to mexico

Beachfront on the Cheap

Cabo is definitely one of the most expensive places with beachfront accommodations in Mexico and choosing a different area or staying inland might have saved us some money. However, having an RV allowed us to find a beautiful and secluded spot – like the one we stayed at with a palapa on Gonzaga Bay for less than $15 per night.

flying vs. rving to mexico

Bringing the Toys

Flying really limits the number of fun toys you can bring. But when we went to Northern Baja in the motorhome, we had our Jeep to explore off-road areas, our SUP boards to enjoy the Sea of Cortez, and all of my video/photo gear to record the adventure. Sure, you can rent some of those, but it’s expensive and not always the nicest equipment.

flying vs. rving to mexico

On our fly-in trip, our resort was about eight kilometers from Cabo’s marina district. After a few days, we felt a little trapped and limited by the cost of shuttles to town, so we found the least expensive rental car we could – a tiny sub-compacto for $70 a day with insurance. We drove it to a beautiful remote beach down a dirt road and only bottomed out a few times, but definitely missed our four-wheel drive and the freedom to come and go as we pleased.

flying vs. rving to mexico

While we had a great vacation in Cabo and enjoyed the high-end experience, at the end of the day, Baja in the Bago is the way to go for us. We’re looking forward to our next trip!

What do you think – vacation by RV or plane?


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5 Comments

  1. SDPeg Posted on 01.07.2019

    We prefer RV trips too….big time. But the biggest deterrent to Baja travel is the cost of insurance. Our US company covers us only within 50 miles of the border.. ..and Mexican insurance is prohibitive for a vehicle valued above $70k or so. Road and height restrictions can be problematic too, so unless you own an older, smaller camper, the RV trips ate probably best saved for the US side of the border.

  2. Michael A Nervik Posted on 12.17.2018

    LOVE rv trips in Baja…typically stay about 100 yards North of the palapa you chose. Love fishing in the bay and outside the island. Been going since 2007…ZERO hassles, locals are GREAT…missed the Fall trip due to Hurricane ROsa road damage, but headed back in the Spring!

  3. Evan Posted on 12.16.2018

    Did you feel safe every where you went?

    Can you share more about your experience crossing the boarder both times?

    Thanks!
    Evan

    1. Scott & Jaime Sichler Posted on 12.17.2018

      Hi Evan – Yes, we feel safe in Baja. We crossed the border into Mexico at Mexicali East and it’s pretty easy. The Discover Baja Travel Club has some good information on their website about the process.

  4. Tom Posted on 12.15.2018

    What about the availability of low sulfer diesel fuel for newer vehicles?