Packing for a trip to Mexico can feel like a daunting task. Will it be hot or cold? What kind of clothes do I need? What essentials could I easily forget? With so much to see and do in this incredible country, you want to make sure you’re prepared for every type of adventure.
This ultimate Mexico packing list takes the guesswork out of getting ready for an amazing trip. Whether you want to laze on the beach in Cancun, explore colonial cities like San Miguel de Allende, or hike ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum, this guide will ensure you pack everything you need.
From sun protection must-haves and versatile clothing essentials to handy accessories and tips for keeping organized, use this checklist to breeze through preparations with total peace of mind. Follow this tried and tested advice so you can spend your getaway soaking up Mexico’s vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine instead of worrying about what to wear or rummaging for lost items. Consider this guide from Asher and Lyric Fergusson for even more great packing advice tailored specifically to what to pack for Mexico.
The first step is getting your basic clothing essentials together. Mexico’s climate can vary quite a bit across different regions, so your exact wardrobe will depend on where and when you’re visiting. However, there are a few items everyone should bring.
Versatile, Lightweight Tops
Temperatures in Mexico often reach 80-90F during the day. You’ll want breathable, lightweight shirts and blouses that will keep you cool and comfortable in the heat. Choose versatile solid colors and natural fabrics like cotton or linen that you can dress up or down.
For cooler evenings, bring a lightweight sweater or cardigan. If visiting colonial highland towns like San Miguel de Allende, also pack some long-sleeved shirts and pants.
Whether lounging beachside or checking out cenotes, you’ll want your swimsuit on hand. Bring at least two so you always have a dry option. Ladies should bring a one-piece and a bikini for versatility.
Shorts and Skirts
Pack shorts in neutral colors like khaki, black, gray, or denim so they’ll match all your tops. Maxi skirts or casual sundresses are also perfect for Mexico’s laid-back vibes.
A sturdy pair of sandals with straps is a must for the beach. If planning lots of walking while sightseeing, bring supportive walking sandals too.
Hat and Sunglasses
A hat and sunglasses are absolute essentials for protecting your face from Mexico’s intense sun. Wide-brimmed sun hats prevent burning on both your face and neck.
Toiletries and Medications
Since certain toiletries and medications may be unavailable or expensive in Mexico, it’s wise to come prepared with your own.
Sunscreen and After Sun Products
With UV indexes frequently reaching “very high” to “extreme” levels in Mexico, sunscreen is 100% essential. Bring SPF 30 or higher and apply liberally and often. After-sun moisturizers and gels can provide relief if you do get burned.
While hotels provide basics like soap and shampoo, you may want to bring your own favored hair and skincare products. Mini travel sizes help save luggage space.
Bring enough of any prescriptions you normally take to last your whole trip. Pack medications in your carry-on bag in the original containers with pharmacy labels.
Over-the-counter meds and First Aid
Stock your travel medicine kit with pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness tablets, antacids, antibiotic ointment, bandages, etc. This way you’ll be prepared to treat minor scrapes, headaches, stomach issues, and other common ailments.
Mosquitos and some dangerous insects like fire ants are common in parts of Mexico. Pack insect repellent with DEET or picaridin and reapply as needed.
Travel Documents and Other Essentials
In addition to your basic clothing and toiletries, other important items are easy to forget. Use this checklist to ensure you don’t overlook any vital gear.
Valid Passport and Photocopies
Your passport is mandatory for entering Mexico. Make two photocopies of your passport’s ID page in case it gets lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home and pack the other separately from your actual passport.
Travel Insurance Documents
In case of emergencies, overseas medical bills can quickly pile up. Be prepared by purchasing a travel insurance policy and bringing all necessary documentation. Many credit cards also provide limited travel coverage.
Cash in Pesos and Debit/Credit Cards
While more tourist destinations now accept cards, cash is still king in Mexico. Withdraw some pesos from Mexican ATMs once you arrive. Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel dates to avoid blocking your accounts.
Power Adapters and Chargers
If visiting from North America you won’t need electrical converters, but you will need adapters to fit Mexico’s two-pronged outlets. Bring chargers for phones, cameras, e-readers, and other gadgets you use. Portable chargers are handy when outlets aren’t available.
Pack travel sizes of your must-have accessories like hair brushes, cosmetics, hair ties, nail files, skin lotion, etc. This helps you stay organized while leaving room for souvenirs.
What Not to Pack
Knowing what not to bring is also key for stress-free travels in Mexico. Leave valuables that could get damaged or lost behind.
Jewelry and Other Valuables
Only pack jewelry and watches appropriate for everyday wear, not your expensive or heirloom pieces. In tourist destinations like Cancún, petty theft of unattended valuables left on beaches does occur.
Tablets, laptops, hair dryers, and other electronics are extras that take up precious luggage room. Mexican resorts and hotels provide hair dryers, and internet cafes have computers if needed.
Heavy Jackets and Cold Weather Wear
Bulky sweaters, fleece, and winter coats are overkill for Mexico, even in the evenings or in highland regions. The only exception is when visiting desert areas like San Pedro de Atacama in winter.
Limit yourself to the sandals, walking shoes, and maybe one nicer pair of shoes or boots mentioned earlier. After a long day of sightseeing, you’ll be grateful for light luggage!
Packing Tips and Hacks
Use these savvy packing tips and hacks for organizing your Mexico suitcase like a pro:
Start with a Checklist
Print out this article to use as your master Mexico packing checklist. Cross items off as you pack them so nothing gets overlooked.
Use Packing Cubes
These zippered organizers help neatly separate clothing types, footwear, toiletries, and other gear in your suitcase. You can find affordable sets on Amazon.
Roll Don’t Fold
Rolling clothes maximizes space and causes fewer wrinkles than folding. Group lighter items like underwear and t-shirts in a single pouch.
Pack Outfits, Not Just Separates
Coordinate a few complete outfits with top, bottom, shoes, jewelry, etc. This ensures you have mix-and-match looks ready for varied occasions.
Put the Heaviest Items Below
Pack heavy shoes and toiletries along the bottom of your bag so it doesn’t get top-heavy and tip over. Lighter clothing up top gets compressed.
Always keep medications, bathing suits, change of clothes, chargers, passports, and other “must-haves” in your carry-on in case checked bags get misplaced.
Stay Organized and Prepared
With stunning beaches, fascinating history, incredible cuisine, and wonderful culture, Mexico offers amazing experiences for travelers. By using this comprehensive packing guide, you can ensure you have absolutely everything needed to fully soak up all the magic Mexico has to offer. From sun protection and must-have medications to handy travel accessories, this list helps you prepare for an awesome, stress-free adventure.