Are you on your way to a tropical paradise in Mexico? And wondering what to pack and wear? Well, you are at the right place. Mexico is not only a beautiful beach holiday destination, but it is also a country full of culture, history and adventure activities. In this ultimate packing list for Mexico guide, we will provide you with tips on what to pack for Mexico – items that you MUST carry, items that you must avoid, including what to wear at different times of the year and regions.
As you might already know, Mexico’s terrain consists of plateaus and mountains with a warm temperature mostly, while some other parts have a tropical climate. The summers are usually very hot and humid and the warm winds from the Caribbean causes rain in the Mexican coastal areas in the summer. May to October are rainy months and in the recent years, those regions have witnessed hurricanes as well. The Cancun and the Riviera Maya areas (which are popular tourist destinations) have not experienced any damages due to the hurricanes. These areas remain warm throughout the year and are dry, with little to no rains. The wettest areas are located in the lowland on the Caribbean.
Parts of central and southern parts of Mexico, could get very cold in the winters as they are located at an altitude. Mexico city- the capital, can reach freezing temperatures in the winter and you might also see some snow capped volcanoes at a higher elevation.
Ultimate Packing List for Mexico – What to pack for Mexico?
Travel Document Checklist for traveling to Mexico
As always first things first – pack your travel documents
- Check your passport (expiry dates)
- Carry your secondary photo ID
- Check and confirm your flight and resort/hotel reservations. Take a copy of the bookings
- Wallet – Pesos, Credit cards (credit cards were handy in Mexico rather then converting currency to Pesos). Many stores and restaurants will take USD but will return the change in Pesos. We recommend not carrying too much cash or converting money for purchases or bookings in Mexico. Try to book tours, hotels ahead of time and online. For souvenirs and restaurants, use credit cards. Some food stalls won’t have credit card machines, but most businesses will take USD
- Organize them and carry them in a passport cover wallet
- Use this backpack or a carry-on for taking your essentials to Mexico. Travel Light.
We recommend using HotelsCombined.com to find accommodation. It is our favorite hotels website for quickly comparing the prices of multiple hotel booking sites at once.
What to wear in Mexico – at the Beach
If you are traveling to Cancun or Riviera Maya, most likely you will be chilling at a beach or your resort pool. And if you are wondering what to pack for Cancun – here are your must haves for beach vacation. You can add 1-3 pieces for each, but if you are staying for longer, we recommend washing clothes rather then carrying tons of it.
- Swimsuits – Of course! Whether you are at a resort pool or a cenote in Yucatan or chilling at Tulum beach, you need swimsuits. Carry 1-3 swimwear
- Bright color
- Cover up – This is super essential, especially in the summertime. Cover-ups give you instant sun protection while on the beach. I had also styled it with my top and shorts while exploring the Mayan Ruins of Tulum – so versatile. You can check one out right here – this is a must have item. TRUST ME.
- Flip flops – If you want to enjoy the sandy white beaches, you need to be barefoot, feel the heat and the soft sand. Flip flops will rescue you after. You don’t want to wear wedges or heels after a stroll at the beach or a swim. Check out these flip flops from Old Navy – very affordable
- Hat – Hats make you beach ready. It gives you sun protection, style and looks great in pictures. Check out of this Instagram-worthy “hello sunshine” straw hats
- Beach Towel – If you are a cleanliness freak and prefer carrying your own towel, please add this to the list. But keep in mind, you can also rent and buy them in your resort. Here are some beachy towels for you to consider
- Beach Tote – A MUST item to carry all of your belongings. Extra clothes, electronics, hat, hair ties, towel, mat, Kindle, camera, selfie stick and more. Here is one of my favorite beach tote
What to wear in Mexico – Everyday
Here are additional list of clothing that you will need when you are out and about exploring Mexico or heading for dinner, tours, etc.
- Tops and T-shirts – Carry 2 to 3 T-shirts and flowy or cotton tops. Try to pair them with your bottoms, mix and match style. In my trip, I wore casual and flowy tops with shorts
- Shorts, Skirts, linen pants – Carry 1-2 bottoms max. Denim shorts can be paired with almost anything. Wear them at the beach or at the resort. Linen cotton/airy pants are a must when you are out and about exploring. Probably the best items if you are heading to the ruins (you can keep off mosquitoes and heat). Pants are also a good idea while traveling in the evenings or in colder cities like Mexico City. Here are some linen pants and cotton cargo pants that we recommend for ladies.
- Flowy Dresses (for her) – Flowy dresses look great in photos. So yes carry some that are light colored or pastel colors made with breathable fabric. Get one long dress like this and a short dress like this one.
- Wedges Shoe (for her) – If you are planning for a nice dinner or a get together or even a pool party, carry wedges heel to pair with your skirts and flowy dresses. They are comfortable to wear and they also look pretty. Browse wedge heels here.
- Bamboo Bag – There are bamboo bags that look great in beachy background (and pictures). Here is one bamboo bag, which is also one of my favourites
- Shoes/Sneakers – For exploring Mexico City or the Mayan ruins (all of the Ruins Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba or Merida), keep in mind you will be walking a lot, especially at the ruins. Don’t wear heels or flip flops, wear runner or comfortable shoes. For this trip, I paired up my outfits with a white Adidas shoes and Salil wore Black Nike runners. I have the same Nike in black too and they are comfortable. Check them out below
- Sunglasses – Carry sun protection for your eyes. We love our RayBans. Here we what we wore in Mexico
- Socks – Carry Moisture or sweat licking socks like these ones. Mexico’s coastal areas are hot and humid and these socks will help you feel and stay refreshed all day long.
- Cotton Scarf – I always like to add a scarf, as it can dress up and refresh an outfit instantly. Carry some bright colored cotton scarves. Here is my favorite. Scarves are also handy in-flight.
- Light sweater or Cardigan – This is a MUST have for in-flight when the AC is blowing or even inside the resort and restaurants. If you are like me, you will always be cold (wherever you go and I am Canadian, btw). You will also need woollies if visiting Mexico City in the winter months, so carry one.
- Rain Jacket – If you are visiting Mexico during the rainy months or exploring mountains, carry a water proof (rain) jacket. It will not only keep you dry, but you can also use this as a layering piece if the temperature drops down. Carry a pack-able rain jacket like this one
- Underwear – Of course!
Packing for In-flight – Mexico Packing List
You can refer to our list of carry-on essentials for in-flights for the full list. But here are the ESSENTIALS
- Neck pillow
- Compression Socks
- Headphones – Noise cancelling headphones
- Medication for jet lags
- Get our ultimate carry-on packing tips for long flights
Cosmetics/Medications packing for Mexico
Here is your essential list of items, in terms of cosmetics and medications. This is a general list, feel free to add additional medications or cosmetics if you desire.
Essentials – Cosmetics/Toiletries
- Bug spray – Carry this with you and apply it, especially when you are visiting the Mayan ruins. Get yours here
- Mosquito Repellent – All natural mosquito repellent, same reasons as above
- Sunscreen – SPF 45, dry touch and water resistant sunscreen
- Hair Shampoo/ Conditioner
- Hair spray for beach curly locks
Essentials – Medications
- Motion sickness
- Stomach Aches
- Other required medications
Electronics – What to pack for a trip to Mexico
- Kindle – For reading at the beach or in-flight. Get your Kindle here
- Camera – Sony Alpha series is our favorite and we use mirrorless camera – light weight and easy to carry. Get the Sony mirror-less camera here
- Cell phone – Get a waterproof cover for your cellphone. Here is one we recommend
- Go Pro – Get your Go Pro here, to capture all the underwater fun
- Selfie Stick for photos on the go
- Headphones – Noise cancelling headphones
- Charging Cables – Carry a multi cable for charging different electronic items.
- Battery Back up – To charge your phone or electronics on the go. Buy it here
- Adaptor – Travelers from North America (US & Canada) won’t require adaptors for getting their electronics to charge. If you are traveling from Europe, India or Australia, you will need one. Here is an adaptor recommendation
Essential Apps for Mexico Vacation Checklist
Here are some mobile apps that you should consider downloading before your trip to Mexico
- Duolingo – Download Duolingo to learn Spanish on the go
- Weather Apps – Weather Network App is what we use
- Flights Alerts – Flight Aware to track flights
- Off line Maps – Maps.me (offline maps)
- XE.com – XE.com is a must have whether you use cash or credit cards. Quickly calculate how much you are paying (in your own currency or Pesos)
Other Items – Mexico Packing List
What not to carry to Mexico? Packing List for Mexico
- Don’t carry a LOT of cash.
- Avoid flashy, pretty items especially leather goods. It will be too hot and humid to even enjoy them
- Don’t carry jewelry or formal attires
How to dress up in Mexico?
It is hard to not look like a tourist in Mexico. Chances are you will. But it not a bad thing. If you are exploring the Yucatan Region and staying in an all inclusive resort, you will be treated like royalty. Food and drinks, pool parties and entertainment come with your resort stay, so enjoy the SUN and FUN.
Wear your swimwear and relax at the pool. Ensure you have your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses on.
If you are exploring the ruins and want some amazing pictures- head there early (when gates open), wear long, flowy dress (or linen pants for boys) to capture some great shots. Long dresses and long pants will keep mosquitoes at bay. There are kind of common in the Yucatan region.
Apply mosquito repellent and sunscreen when exploring. Don’t forget your comfortable shoes and sweat licking socks while walking. Carry an umbrella or a hat if you like.
For casual evenings, pair your dress with wedges or match your skirt with a nice top.
Mexico is dry and hot. Carry your water bottle. Don’t drink tap water in Mexico, it’s not safe. If you are not used to spicy food or jalapenos – limit its consumption. Carry stomach medications. Most of all, enjoy your time and have fun.
We hope you found this list useful in preparing for your trip to Mexico. Don’t forget to book some tours to enjoy the history and cultural side of Mexico.
Additional Resources for Mexico
Last Update: March 07 2019
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