There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclosure and privacy policies to be fully informed.
Your vacation to Mexico is getting close and you can’t wait to land in paradise and enjoy your time in Mexico.
But you are not sure what to include in your packing list for Mexico, what to wear in Cancun or what you will need in your All inclusive hotel or, on your road trip.
I hear you. I have been traveling for so long and I always brought with me the entire wardrobe, but forgot the essential stuff. After many mistakes I have learned something and I thought I should write this post to help you figure out what to bring to Mexico for your trip in this spectacular country.
Of course what to bring to Cancun it will be different from what to pack for Mexico city.
I will tell you E.V.E.R.Y.T.I.H.I.N.G. you need to know about packing for a beach destination be it Cancun or Puerto Vallarta or any other beach destination, including the most useful beach accessories and fancy beachwear
You just have to read through this amazing Mexico packing list that I have thought out for you and follow the lines and then you can print this simplified version of your checklist that you can use in real time while packing.
It doesn’t apply for colder areas, such as Mexico city in winter for example. I will write a separate post for that.
So sit back, buckle up and read on.
TRAVEL ESSENTIAL CHECK LIST
Let’s start from the practical stuff which is also the most essential and we tend to forget.
Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date you travel. They have these rules because the maximum time you are allowed to stay in Mexico is 6 months.
Make a photocopy to take with you when you explore around while leaving your original in your safety box, just in case.
Even if you are not intentioned to rent a car, I would suggest you bring your driving license. You never know, you might get inspired and change your mind. 🙂
If you are staying in an all-inclusive with everything already paid for you won’t need so much cash, but it’s always advisable to take some with you for markets or souvenir or even if it was just water and snacks or taxi.
In case you are up for an adventure and you are planning to travel around Mexico, and you want to bring more cash I would suggest you should invest a few bucks and grab this money belt so that you can safely keep your money around your waste.
You can still withdraw almost anywhere in Mexico. However, just consider that if you withdraw USD it’s going to cost you a fortune in commissions. So just get what you need in Mexican Pesos and pay by card when you can.
This is to me adamant! You never know what can happen, no matter how healthy you eat or cautious you are. And Private Hospitals in Mexico are outrageously expensive. I use World Nomad because I was suggested so and I used once. I was happy and feel safe. Remember that they have a deductible of 100 USD and you need to include your plane or bus ticket to the destination to make a claim.
CHECK THE LUGGAGE POLICY OF THE AIRLINE YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH
Don’t make my mistakes. Once, a long time ago, before becoming smarter, I booked an extremely cheap flight without checking the airline policy and I didn’t see that the price was for carry-on only. Once at the airport I had to pay an outrageous amount just to check the bag in.
So, make sure you browse through your airline site and check the baggage policy. Also, make sure to check also the handbags accepted weight and size and that your bags match.
Here are some lovely options if you are in need to purchase a new carry-on
And a very useful and cheap weight scale for bags will help you to make sure your bags are not overweight as airlines are getting more strict nowadays.
If you want to use your normal scale, you will need to weight yourself (Oh well…I wouldn’t 🙂 ) and then do it again while holding your bag.
Then it’s just simple math.
BRING YOUR OWN MEDICINE AND THE PRESCRIPTION ITSELF
This is just for those who are under prescription drugs, it’s safer to take them with you, and considering some extra ones in case your return flight gets delayed. It’s important to bring the prescription itself along, in case of explanation requests at custom.
IF YOU WEAR PRESCRIPTION GLASSES…
Oh, this one is too important, I broke my favorite glasses just like that and if I didn’t have an extra pair I would have had to stay blind for a long time. It doesn’t take a day to make a new pair.
BE READY FOR TSA Check
The TSA is very strict. So, it is less of a hassle to be prepared and know what you can carry and what no through security.
Instead, in the official TSA page for you to read and make sure you have everything in order.
Always advisable to lock your suitcase but make sure it’s TSA approved, for the above reasons.
Get your lock on Amazon.com
I didn’t know about infinity scarves until I found a very useful article and I realize that they are the perfect solution for the airport outrageously low temperatures. So here you go. 🙂
DAY CARE SUPPLIES AND PRACTICAL ACCESSORIES
Let’s get more into the items you will need once you arrive at the destination. Here is a list of my must have day care supplies and other important stuff.
Life straw bottle
Anywhere in Mexico and mostly all over South America water is not drinkable, and even where they say it is, it’s still not recommendable for foreigners who are not accustomed to local bacterias.
I know by experience. There are many water purifier bottles around. Life straw is not the most complete like you cannot drink water from the lakes after having been filtered with life straw. But it will do with tap water.
Purchase yours on Amazon.com
Always with you to make sure you have your phone always charged, especially with iPhone. I switched to Huawei because I was so tired to have my iPhone battery dead after a few hours, and I love it.
Besides it last more than one day.
But of course, the iPhone is always the iPhone, unbeatable style, no question about that. So you will need a battery charger, if it’s a lipstick-size, even better.
Purchase yours on Amazon.com
Deet-free Mosquito repellent bracelets
In general, protecting you from mosquito bites is always a good move.
Female urination device
I have just found out about this tool, and I still have to try it myself, but I believe that in many of the situations where I have been, it would have been super handy for sure. Especially if you travel around and don’t stay put in your own fancy hotel, this is really a lifesaver. Of course if you are in your fancy 5 stars hotel in Cancun you won’t need that.
Purchase yours on Amazon.com
Travel first aid kit
Well, you never know, even a simple cut can catch you unprepared. Not if you have your first aid kit.
Purchase your Travel first aid kit on Amazon.com
Small backpack or day bag
I am sure, and I hope, you won’t stay all the time in your beautiful hotel, if you are going to take day trips, a nice small day bag is what you need, even better if it’s foldable.
This is similar to the one I have purchased on Amazon, just a little more stylish.
Purchase yours on Amazon.com
Contact lens case and solution
If you are wearing contact lenses, a portable case and solution would really be a nice comfortable gadget to bring with you.
I found this cute one on Amazon.com
Well, that depends where you are staying and if hearing noises that are different from your own would annoy you.
If that’s the case you can purchase yours on Amazon.com
Either on the plane or in your hotel you want to make sure you can find the right ambiance to sleep comfortably, or at least trying to.
Here is a very cute, fancy and very girly one I have found on Amazon.com
Kindle & Kindle Cover
I don’t go anywhere without my kindle. I know what you are thinking, I love books and I prefer to read a “real” book a thousand times more.
But when I travel I just can’t bring my library with me.
Therefore the Kindle is my perfect option.
Besides, I love the fact that I can highlight parts of the book and then have them sent to my email altogether. And that I can read at night without the need to turn the light on. See? there are some perks from using the Kindle as well. Oh, I was forgetting, the new version is even waterproof.
Purchase yours on Amazon.com
Purchase your Kindle Cover as well on Amazon.com
I realize how much I love to write a journal, in the morning or evening, maybe not every day, but it’s a great way to organize your thoughts. And even if I have been writing all day at my computer, handwriting my own stream of thoughts is just liberating and relaxing. It doesn’t necessarily apply to travel, but it’s probably easier to start when you are traveling as you are already more relax and you have more time to start a routine that will stick with you when you are home.
I have started writing on a little notebook that a friend of mine gave me when my journey across South America begun. However, I love the Moleskine, although you can really just grab any book note and start scribbling. That’s what matters.
Grab your Moleskine on Amazon.com
Well, if you love to hear your own music or podcast on the beach or on the plane or anywhere you want, it’s nice not to bother your neighbors, who might not be interested. 😉
Grab your headphones on Amazon.com
Your favorite toothbrush, better if made of bamboo, needs to be protected from external agents, during transport.
Get your toothbrush cover on Amazon.com
Hair and skin care: my secret
Ok now I am going to reveal my beauty secret. As you know I love to go as much natural as possible and I try to avoid chemicals when I know I have a natural substitute.
My secret ingredient here is nothing less than COCONUT OIL. When I found out about it, I never go away without my bottle or vase. What do I use it for?
- hair – especially if you have crispy hair coconut oil is your best friend. Right after washing your hair, when it’s still wet, just put some oil on your hands and rub your hands for a second then put it gently on your hair especially on the tips. Mind if you put it too close to the skin your hair will appear a little oily when dry. So try to stay closer to the tips. You will see the amazing shiny look and it will smell so good as well.
- face skin – apply coconut oil during on the skin and massage a few seconds. Leave the oil for at least 10 minutes and pull it off with cotton and warm water. You will see right away how soft the skin gets, but if you do it for at least 2 weeks, you will see the skin brightening up and becoming cleaner and cleaner.
- body skin – right after showering, rinse your body with hot water so as to facilitate the pores opening up, then just apply coconut oil all over your body, rub as much as you can and then rinse it, better with cold water this time. Dry as usual. You will immediately notice how soft your skin it gets and you won’t need to apply any other creams afterward. I just love it
Grab your coconut oil here on Amazon.com, but make sure it’s raw, not refined.
WATERPROOF PHONE CASE
Always useful either if you don’t have a go pro and you like to take pictures under the water or just to protect your phone from water sprinkles during a boat tour of from the sand.
Purchase yours on Amazon.com
I always travel with one or two pareos or sarong, I find it super practical and multifunctional. I can use it as a cover-up on the beach, or if I am chilly at a restaurant or on the plane, and more. I would really suggest you should get one or two as well that combine with your swimsuit or your general outfit. I mean, choose the patterns or colors that resonate with you the most.
Here some shopping ideas on Amazon.com
Guys, I cannot stress enough how important is to use sunscreen, pick your favorite brand and put it on your face, shoulder, and body. You will be in the Caribbean or, if you are heading to the Pacific coast, it’s the still in the tropics and THE SUN BURNS! and it ain’t funny when your skin is so red that it hurts, trust me I know.
So here I found on Amazon a product that is 70% organic, they say. I have never heard about this brand and I cannot guarantee, but I am just suggesting. Otherwise, pick your favorite but bring one with you. Even if you are not on the beach, but you are exploring, the sun is still there. Oh, even when it’s cloudy, that’s the best way to get burned.
Wear a hat. I love hats they can give you such a fancy look and at the same time, they will protect you from the sun.
I know I have suggested you in the first chapter to get a foldable backpack for the beach or a day tour. However if you wish to get fancy, and keep a girly look when you hit the beach, I love to use straw beach bags. They have such a rustic boho chic feeling.
Important! I have always loved the classic Ray Ban with colored shades like this one, but they are not very protective for your eyes, I reckon. So here you can find more options on South Moon Under website
SNORKEL AND MASK
You will always find mask and snorkel for rent but I have to be honest I am a little picky on this. You never know if they have been washed properly after use. When I can I would rather use my own.
You can certainly buy one in one of the closest diving shops. However, if you wish to go prepared, here is one of my favorite brands, Cressi. It’s a little expensive but you are sure you have good quality.
If you are not into snorkeling and you don’t want to splurge, I have found this cheaper version that includes also a Carry bag, very convenient.
MICROFIBER BEACH TOWEL
If you are staying in a fancy hotel probably they provide you with a top quality beach towel that you can carry with you on a tour, or if you visit a nearby beach. However, it’s not very convenient to carry around a 3 kilos towel, no matter how fancy it is. I find these microfiber beach towels very convenient, cute and super light. And you can use them in many different occasions.
BEACH GEAR: SWIMSUITS
This is the part of the post that I loved writing the most. Looking for my favorite pieces of beach wear made me feel like I am shopping for my own vacation right now. Instead I am getting ready for a hiking trip. The irony! Right?
I am really jealous about your trip to Cancun anywhere on the beautiful Mexican coasts.
For swim suite online shopping I am partnering with South Moon Under as I love their pastel color beach wear, so boho, so romantic.
Here I have picked some of my favorite swim suites for you but there are many more and you can browse them here.
You can also click on the image and go straight to the shopping page. Enjoy! 🙂
BEACH WEAR FOR WOMEN AND SUMMER OUTFIT
Traveling to a beach destination you will spend most of your time on the beach or exploring cenotes, if you go to the Riviera Maya or Cancun I found a couple of websites that match with my boho chic taste: romantic long tunic, or pastel color dresses, or natural linen cover-ups. I am including here a few of my pick but you can browse their shop: South Moon Under, Naked Zebra, Nordstrom.com
You can also find some lovely shoes and flip-flops on South Moon Under shoes page.
Click on the image to see more picture and information on the item.
ADVENTURE CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
But Mexico is not only beautiful beaches, sun, and cocktails by the pool, it’s also adventure, a lot of it. You should make time for at least a couple of visits to the refreshing cenotes and the overwhelming Mayan sites.
Here I am recommending a few adventure clothing items that you will need for the occasion.
Keen – Women’s EVOFIT ONE Water Sandal for Outdoor Adventures
This is my favorite item, if you walk in river or swim in Cenotes and caves where you can’t see the bottom.
Buy yours on Amazon.com
Fulton Cuffed end Denim Short on South Moon Under
Ladies it’s freaking hot there, summer and winter alike, and shorts like this keep you comfortable and fresh. Remember mosquito repellent and sunscreen as well, though.
Get your gym shoes at Nordstrom.com
If you are a sport person you have your own gym shoes which will work perfect with your shorts on a day out exploring the country. In case you need to buy one, I have found a great selection on Nordstorm.com a site that I like for the variety of options you can find. Here is the Athletic shoes page of the shop for you to browse and find your own style.
Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack Water Resistant Hiking
A small back pack for your water and valuables is always a convenient item to have. I found this cheap and neat one on Amazon.com, similar to the one I bought, but a little fancier 😉 . I love it because you can fold it when you are not using it and it saves lots of space.
Buy yours on Amazon.com
Columbia Women’s Adjustable Waterproof Rain Jacket
Even if you are not traveling in the rainy season, it can still rain. So if you are going out exploring on a day trip it’s always advisable to take one of this rain jackets with you. I have chosen this one for you, practical, light, waterproof and you can chose your favorite color.
Buy yours on Amazon.com
WHAT NOT TO TAKE TO MEXICO
LOTS OF CASH
As I mentioned before, it is advisable to bring some cash with you, even if you have booked an all-inclusive and you intend to buy your excursion and pay by credit card.
However, do not carry too much cash. it’s not worth taking the risk. Many shops and restaurants accept credit cards and if in need you can still withdraw some money.
It’s always advisable in this case to get local cash instead of USD because those USD machines will charge you up to 50USD.
In case you are planning to trip around and need more cash, you can grab this awesome money belt for just 11USD
You are beautiful as you are and don’t need all these precious jewelry to call for attention. It won’t be the right kind of attention anyway. Trust me on this. Even if almost every hotel has a safe box in the room, still, it is not advisable to show off your wealth.
Yes I know, I love to read real books, much more than on a kindle. But it’s so convenient when you travel that I couldn’t do without it and now it’s my faithful friend.
Although I am carrying a couple of books with me, they are very small and light. Trust me on this. Now the Kindle is even waterproof.
OMG, I can wait to get the newest version myself.
You will need just one warm piece of clothing, for the air conditioning and airplanes where its always freezing. Or you can get away with a warm shawl that can be used on multiple occasions. And a raincoat, because the rain comes always unexpected, even in the dry season. You don’t need anything heavier than that.
FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Ok, my friend! I believe I have covered it all. If you think I forgot anything or you have any question please feel free to let me know in the comments below.
If you are concerned about Safety in Mexico , you can read my comprehensive post “Is it safe to travel to Mexico?” where I cover many different topics, including health and other practical tips.