Happiness is Chips & Guacamole
Mexico might seem like a fairly easy country to pack for, but trust us, there are many packing mistakes we have seen travelers make time and time again. This is why making the right packing list for Mexico is so important. Before you get too carried away with the idea of cold beers on the beach with fresh chips & guac, take a little bit of time to make sure you are properly prepared.
We have spent the last year living and traveling in Mexico and we’ve discovered a few key tips along the way that we hope will help you to know exactly what to pack for Mexico.
Getting it right first time around is key! These are our essential items to add to your packing list for Mexico today.
Packing List for Mexico Essentials: Clothing
The key to a comfortable Mexican vacation is making sure you have the right types of clothes. Your Mexico packing list should have clothing that breathes, that is loose fitting, and that won’t be super stinky after only wearing it for a short time.
The main things to consider when planning what to pack for Mexico is:
- The Climate, not only what the temperature will be but the humidity as well.
- Mosquitos – you will need to have clothes that cover to keep these little pests away.
- Comfort – packing things that will keep you dry and comfortable all day long.
Cotton is 100% a great option for traveling in Mexico. Cotton breathes, which in turn allows the skin to breathe, this means less chances of nasty heat rashes appearing. Plus you’ll look suave as!
Moisture Wicking Clothing
If cotton isn’t really your thing and you like to keep things nice and casual on your vacation – you might want to consider adding moisture wicking clothing to your packing list for Mexico.
These are a must for your Mexico packing list so you stay dry all day long. How does it make a difference you say? Moisture wicking fabrics pull moisture from the body to the exteriors of the item of clothing, allowing it to evaporate more easily.
Stay Dry – Stay Comfortable – Stay Happy!
Underwear…..we all need it and no one wants to think of moisture wicking underwear. But unless you want what they call ‘jungle butt’ all day long, you need to make the right underwear choice when deciding what to pack for Mexico. Breathable is the keyword you’re looking for.
These socks are unisex so you can check out both Men’s & Women’s sock options HERE
Zip-Off Pants – you might not believe it but Mexico can get cold in the winter, very cold! Having pants that can function for both day and night wear is ideal. They might not be the most stylish thing you’ll ever own, but a good pair of zip-off pants always comes in handy!
Hats – Your outfit wouldn’t be complete without a hat to match. The sun can be unbearable and being properly covered is a must no matter what time of year you visit. If you want to fit in with the locals then grab yourself a stylish Panama hat. These hats vary in quality – you really get what you pay for when it comes to a Panama hat. So you have to decide do you want the real thing? Or you’re happy to settle for a cheap knockoff.
Swimsuits – Let’s be honest here. It’s doubtful that you are looking at a what to pack for Mexico article and not planning on visiting the beach or lazing by the pool…if not, are you crazy? Mexico has some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and you’ll want to look great while catching up on some much needed vitamin D.
I personally love Swimsuits For All as they offer a fantastic range to suit all female body types. They have swimsuits that range from a size 4 to a 34 and pledge that you can look beautiful in one of their swimsuits no matter your age, shape or size. Check out my full review HERE
Men usually aren’t too fussy about their boardshorts…I’m sure there’s some in your closet you can dust off. If you do need a new pair we love the Hurley One and Only as they look a little dressier which means you can wear them with a shirt and still be comfortable but classy at the same time.
Mexico is all about getting some sun…but not too much sun!
Rashguards – Please make sure you are sun smart when planning what to pack for Mexico! I’ve already seen too many lobsters getting around to last a lifetime. Wearing a rash guard will not only keep the sun off, it will also protect you from any little stingy things in the ocean as well.
Wetsuit – If you are planning on going scuba diving while in Mexico you may want to have your own wetsuit. I personally use my SirenSong wetsuit for scuba diving, snorkelling and just swimming around the cenotes as it keeps me warmer and I can stay in the water for longer. Men you can check out wetsuits here
For my full review and a sweet discount on SirenSong wetsuits CLICK HERE
Shoes – the shoes you choose when making your packing list for Mexico are vital. You can find yourself on the beach, exploring a cenote, climbing a Mayan ruin…even navigating the sidewalks can be risky business. Having the right footwear is a must. Another thing is the humidity. Unless you want sweaty, wet feet all day, you’re probably going to want to give inclosed shoes a miss. Durable sandals that go around your ankle and have a solid grip on the sole is the way to go!
Also adding a pair of water shoes on your Mexico packing list isn’t a bad idea either! If you plan to be getting involved in a few water sports while in Mexico, these are perfect for keeping your feet protected. Plus they dry super quick!
Packing List for Mexico Essentials: Toiletries
Mexico is cheap, but not all toiletries are cheap or easy to find. Also when most boxes at the store or pharmacy are entirely in Spanish, things can get a little difficult. If you are wondering what to pack for Mexico that is the most important? This is probably it!
Leave In Conditioner – water in Mexico is hard water. If you haven’t heard of that before (I know I hadn’t) it means that the water has a high mineral content, and this is NOT good for your hair. In Mexico, you can often find your hair becomes drier, tanglier and much more difficult to manage. That’ why a leave-in conditioner is perfect for your time in Mexico. Any preferred product of yours is absolutely fine, but I personally use John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-in Conditioner (cause it’s easily available in Mexico) which helps get the tangles out but you might want something more for silky soft hair. Feel free to check out Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner it has no artificial fragrances, coloring, sulfates, or any harmful ingredients. Also, it’s not tested on animals – which we are BIG fans of!
Sunscreen – did you know that the sunscreen you choose can affect the ecosystem you’re swimming in? Reefs and wildlife don’t handle regular sunscreen so well and it’s best to get something that is not only great for the environment – but great for your skin as well. Make sure you choose something with a high SPF and something that is ideal for your particular skin type. We have so many lobsters getting around Mexico it’s ridiculous. The sun is vicious here – ALWAYS wear sunscreen and remember to reapply throughout the day.
“If only mosquitos sucked fat instead of blood!!!”
We have lived here for over a year and every time we think “this must be the end of mosquito season” we are proved wrong by the little suckers. Mosquito season seems to run 12 months a year in Mexico and not being covered can lead to a very uncomfortable vacation…or worse. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you use products containing one of three active ingredients — synthetic chemicals, such as DEET; Picaridin; or plant-derived chemicals, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus. These provide the longest-lasting protection” – Live Science
Imodium – We all know it. Mexican food has a reputation. Make sure you spend your Mexican vacation doing the things you came to do, not hanging out in the baño. Medications from resorts can often come at ridiculously inflated prices so it’s best to be prepared and bring some Imodium in case you start feeling a bit….off.
Motion Sickness Relief – if you plan to spend any time out on the water at all it’s best to be prepared for some bumpy times. I used to work on cruise ships and the ferry from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel did me in…and I’ve seen others suffer the effects of motion sickness too. It’s Never Nice. There are numerous ways in which you can prepare but if you a looking for a nice organic option, check out Medowlark Botanicals Organic Nausea Balm w. Mint + Ginger
Packing List for Mexico Essentials: Electronics
Bluetooth speaker: Hanging out by the pool, or on the beach with some hot Latino tunes blasting is the way it’s done here in Mexico. Having a Bluetooth speaker that you can take anywhere with you allows you to easily have access to music anytime anywhere. We personally use the EasyAcc Mini Portable Bluetooth speaker and just put it in a ziplock bag to keep the sand out. Works a treat!
Waterproof Camera – it’s all about wet and wild fun in Mexico and having a good waterproof camera is a must when planning what to pack for Mexico. Get amazing underwater shots of the wildlife, of the beautiful cenotes and also get around knowing that your camera is dust and shockproof as well, so if you drop it while climbing a Mayan Ruin – no harm done (we hope). We personally use the Fujifilm FinePix which has lasted well and takes decent pics. Many people, however, love their GoPro’s for their underwater shots. If you are wanting a good point and shoot camera to take scuba diving (i.e. deeper than 15m or 50ft) then check out the Olympus TG-5 with an underwater casing. This should easily take you to a depth of 45 meters or 147 feet. For cenotes like The Pit, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to get some great shots – it’s truly magical down there!
Dome – Ever wonder how photographers get those cool half underwater/half above water shots? It’s with a dome. Attach it to your action camera and start getting your own kickass vacation shots and make all your friends jealous!
Drone – more and more people are loving the shots and video they can get by using a drone. I’ve seen some pretty epic footage of Mexico, and you can recreate these amazing shots with your very own drone. Hint: Most people I know have crashed and destroyed at least one drone while learning to fly – get yourself something cheaper that you can practice on first and then feel free to move up to a sexy new DJI Mavic.
Bluetooth headphones – Ok they don’t have to be Bluetooth, I just happen to love mine as they are completely wireless and I like not being tied to a device. The important part is getting noise canceling headphones. Mexico is not the quietest of places, and sometimes you might want to drown out the noise with some music or a podcast. Noise canceling headphones are the key to blocking out the world and going into your own happy little travel bubble!
Packing List for Mexico Essentials: Other items that will come in handy – trust us!
There’s always a few things that travelers to Mexico just don’t think of packing – we’ve got you covered. We’ve been traveling around here for a year and we know the essential items that people need….that always get forgotten.
Compact Umbrella – this is mostly for the sun rather than rain, to be honest. I call it my sunbrella, and I use mine all the time! An umbrella is a great way to stay out of the harsh Mexican sun without having to mess up your hair wearing a hat. Plus this one will have you right in Mexico Vacation mode with the sugar skulls pattern.
Water Purifier – the water in Mexico is not drinkable. If you are looking for a way to still get plenty of water without leaving a ton of plastic bottles in your wake then we suggest getting a water bottle with a built-in purifier. The LifeStraw is reusable and removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites without chemicals, iodine or batteries.
Day Pack – You will want to leave the poolside and go out exploring at some point. Having a reliable and comfortable daypack is a must have. We never leave home without ours!
Money Belt – In The city of Merida (where we’ve been staying for the past year), we haven’t had any issue with pickpockets, but in more touristy areas this could be an issue. Most crime is opportunistic so make sure you keep your belongings safe at all times. Use a money belt to store away excess cash or perhaps consider pickpocket proof pants. Tomo has had his for years and so far we haven’t had anything taken.
Some might think it’s easy to decide what to pack for Mexico, but there are plenty of things people forget to pack every single time. We’ve seen it all before! Get prepared, think carefully about your packing list for Mexico. And get it right first time around, so you have the Mexican vacation of a lifetime!
Love This Post? Why Not Pin It On Your Favorite Travel Pinterest Board?
* DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. They generate commissions for us if you make a purchase after clicking – the final price you pay is not increased due to this, some of our links even offer discounts. This helps fund our blog and allows us the time and freedom to create guides like this one to give you a better vacation. Please support us by using our links.