Hawaii vs. Mexico: Where to trade in your winter blues for ocean views

Published December 2021


According to our recent survey, 63% of Americans plan to travel in 2022. And the #1 travel plan for next year? A vacation getaway, with 33% specifically seeking warmer-weather locales as their destination of choice.

When it comes to popular sunny spots, Hawaii and Mexico continue to trend for American travelers, and interest in them only spikes as the temperature drops. In a typical year (a.k.a. pre-pandemic), views of Vacasa’s Mexico landing page jumped more than 25% in November vs. July, and views of the Hawaii landing page surged nearly 75%.

If you’re struggling to choose between these two beautiful beachfront travel destinations for your next vacation (our favorite kind of dilemma), here’s our take on what to factor in when deciding between Hawaii and Mexico for a vacation this winter.

The pros


What makes a Hawaiian vacation so special is the opportunity to transport yourself to a world filled with dramatic landscapes, delicious cuisine, and flawless weather––no passport required. Whether you want to take in the rugged scenery of Kauai, catch a wave in Oahu, or bum it on the beaches of Maui, you can choose your own adventure among the islands. A bonus? Hawaii is home to two of the 15 best beaches in the world, according to U.S. News & World Report.


Mexico mirrors Hawaii in many ways as another culturally rich destination with beaches for days, but you can’t beat the country’s affordability—even luxury options are easier on the wallet than most counterparts in the U.S. If you’re looking for easy-to-access budget travel with no shortage of cultural encounters, a Mexico vacation is where you’ll find it all. As a country that shares its borders with the United States, Mexico gets major points for proximity. Depending on where you depart from, you could land on foreign soil full of geographic diversity, exciting culinary history, and ancient culture in as little as two hours. 

The considerations


Because of Hawaii’s privileged position surrounded by water, nearly everything in the archipelago is imported, leading to steeper costs that can trickle down to tourists. Though these islands are definitely worth the splurge, they aren’t always easy to reach from the mainland, which also contributes to the price tag. From the West Coast, you can catch a nonstop flight that will get you there in six hours, but East Coasters are looking at 11+ hours in the air. Despite the long, potentially pricey journey, the destination makes up for it as soon you land on those lush isles. 


Something to consider when traveling to Mexico without a doubt: the weather. In the summer, temperatures can easily climb above 90 degrees, and from late summer to late fall, the coastal regions of the country can face the uncertainty of hurricane season. As with all international destinations, it’s helpful to brush up on key phrases in the local language, though you’ll find many people speak English in the resort areas.

A few more considerations: remember to exchange U.S. dollars for pesos, notify your bank or credit card companies of your travel plans, and make sure your passport is valid, to help avoid financial or logistical issues during your vacation. 

The hardest part of your vacation planning will be having to decide where to stay, since there are an abundance of stunning vacation rentals awaiting in either locale. To make it easier, we looked at the top amenities that guests search for in Hawaii and Mexico and picked a few of our favorite beachfront beauties, poolside private homes, and WiFi-connected condos available to book in both places.

Top vacation rentals in Hawaii and Mexico

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