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On a family trip to Cabo San Lucas, we booked our flights departing from the Tijuana airport because it was way cheaper than flying out of Long Beach or LAX. I have also vowed never to travel through Los Angeles again… too much traffic, long check-in lines, and construction always make for a long wait. Instead, we flew out of TJ and used Cross Border Xpress to get from San Diego to the Tijuana airport.

Traveling through Tijuana has its own complications like safety, crossing the border, and not getting lost. Luckily, now there is a solution with the Cross Border Xpress or CBX. The familia and I used it and loved the experience and here’s why you will too.

Traveling with CBX from San Diego to Tijuana

photo credit: Pattie Cordova

What is Cross Border Xpress?

CBX is a bridge that connects the TIjuana airport with San Diego. You can only use its services if you are flying through the airport and must show proof of boarding pass. It helps avoid the long lines of crossing the border and is completely safe. 

How much does it cost?

You must purchase a ticket to use Cross Border Xpress. These can be purchased online or at the location. We were able to purchase ours directly through the airline website making it super easy. A single use ticket is $15 while round trip is $30 per person. We got the family packet which is four tickets for $105 round trip or $55 single use. The cost was offset from what we would have spent on our flights through LAX.

photo credit: Pattie Cordova

How does it work?

We arrived at Cross Border Xpress in San Diego with our boarding passes, CBX tickets, and passports. Once inside, we found the airline kiosk counters: Currently, Volaris, AeroMexico, VivaAerobs, and Califia all operate routes to and from Tijuana Airport. What made our check-in smooth were the very helpful workers who guided us along the way. After checking-in, we walked through security and into the duty-free shops. Then we crossed the sky bridge into Tijuana Airport. On the bridge, we snapped a photo of the border line and plaques marking the US-Mexico divide. The bridge took us right into the airport. The whole thing took us seriously less than 15 minutes. Once inside Tijuana Airport, we found our airline counter and checked our bags.

photo credit: Pattie Cordova

Returning to the United States

We bought our CBX tickets round trip which saved us time since we didn’t have to join lines to buy a new ticket. The CBX bridge entrance is right in the luggage pick-up area so the kids grabbed our bags. There’s tons of free carts for your luggage, making it easy for traveling with kids. Inside the CBX building you will find duty-free shops in case you forgot to buy a souvenir or tequila bottle. The bridge is straightforward so you can’t get lost. Once again we crossed the border line plaques and took another photo. Then we headed to US Immigration and Customs which is inside the CBX building. The wait in line depends greatly on when and what time you cross, so something to keep in mind, but it is nothing compared to crossing the regular San Ysidro or Otay Mesa border crossings by car.

photo credit: Pattie Cordova

Is it worth it?

¡Si! It is definitely worth every penny considering the flight savings and time savings at the border crossing. We saved about $100 round-trip per ticket and our CBX family packet was only $105 which totaled a savings of $295. In my books, that means more cash for vacation margaritas or a massage. Time wise, the border crossing is notorious for being a time killer. We have spent four hours on Sundays crossing back into the USA. The CBX bridge eliminates the waste of time since only airport travelers can use this service.

photo credit: Pattie Cordova

CBX is only six years old and I can’t see myself traveling through Tijuana without using it. The services it provides are just like any airport, including long-term parking at a discounted rate, car rentals on site, food vendors, duty free shops, and a Starbucks.

photo credit: Pattie Cordova

Very helpful workers who speak both English and Spanish will guide you along the way. At the end of our trip, using the Cross Border Xpress felt so worth it. I am already looking for cheap tickets through Tijuana for our next family trip. 

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