This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Tijuana may be best known for its “anything goes” mentality and cheap prescription drugs (that don’t require a prescription), but to many San Diegans, a trip south of the border also means cheaper flights, and many more nonstop destinations. Locals crossing the border for a visit to Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) are now in for a much more pleasant experience.

San Diegans have long taken advantage of TIJ’s close proximity for travel to other destinations in Mexico, as it offers flights to more Mexican cities than any airport in Southern California (Aeroméxico also has flights to Shanghai-PVG out of TIJ). But with more than 2 million passengers a year crossing via Tijuana specifically to use the airport, there are unpredictable border wait times and often lengthy delays.

That’s because since August of 2015, Mexicans going into Tijuana have been waved through, while everyone else has to show a passport, fill out paperwork and pay a 330-peso ($20) fee if they intend to stay in Mexico for more than a week.

Cross Border Xpress
TIJ’s new Cross Border Xpress facility.

If you’re traveling into Mexico by car, this will still be the case. But if you’re going into Mexico just to use the airport, the Cross Border Xpress, scheduled to open December 9, will streamline the border crossing process for ticketed airline passengers. The facility includes a 390-foot enclosed pedestrian skybridge that spans the US/Mexico border between TIJ and a new structure on the US side. From there, passengers can use the new short- and long-term parking facility, hop on a shuttle bus to SAN, or take a taxi or Uber to their final destination in the US.

There will still be a fee to pay, by way of a toll; if you buy the ticket online via the Cross Border Xpress site (available starting December 1; the site is still under construction), it’s $15. At the border it’s $18. For passengers ages 2-12 and 65+ there is a 20 percent discount, and there is no charge for kids under the age of two.

As for convenience, there are plenty of reasons to head south of the border before traveling farther into Mexico. Let’s take a look at Aeroméxico fares for one-way travel from SAN and TIJ to Mexico City (MEX):

SAN-MEX Aeroméxico

And here is a similar flight from Tijuana:

TIJ-MEX Aeroméxico

Not only is flying out of TIJ cheaper, but it’s a nonstop flight – much better than the layover at LAX when flying out of San Diego.

We know there are plenty of San Diegans out there, so let us know in the comments – will you be taking advantage of the new border crossing?

H/T: TPG Reader David H.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.