Your Complete Packing List for Mexico – 2020

January 16, 2020

Last Updated on January 16, 2020 by Candy Wafford

You’ve booked your dream vacation to Mexico! Here is your packing list for Mexico. This list includes not only items you must bring but things you should leave at home. This list will work when packing for Mexico beaches and all-inclusive vacations.

With its beautiful beaches, rich culture and history, delicious food, and gorgeous weather, Mexico is a perennial favorite with tourists. Its proximity to the US, Canada, and western Europe and reasonable prices make a vacation to Mexico a great choice. Many visitors, myself included, often choose an all-inclusive resort in Mexico as a wonderful way to soak up the sun and relax.

Psst – Have you checked out my 12 Tips to Have an Amazing All-Inclusive Vacation in Mexico?

Weather in Mexico

Mexico is a large country but most of it the temperatures will be high (above 70F) and with high humidity. If you are going to one of Mexico’s many beautiful beaches, you are pretty much guaranteed nice weather for most, if not all, of your trip. As with any tropical destination you may encounter intermittent rain or storms.

What to Pack for Mexico Vacation – Clothing

Lightweight and breathable is the name of the game when putting together your packing list for Mexico. Moisture-wicking clothing is not only great for workouts but also for sightseeing as it will help keep you cool and dry quickly. One of my favorite items to pack for hot destinations like Mexico is a pair of linen pants. They will keep you cool but still looking stylish.

Woman at New Year's Eve party at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.

Review the dress code for your resort and pack appropriately. Buffet restaurants will be casual, but other restaurants on the property may have a dress code. Don’t worry, it won’t be anything to fancy! Men should be able to get by with a dressier pair of shorts and a shirt with sleeves or some casual slacks. Women will find a sundress and a cardigan for chilly restaurants perfect for dining.


I’m a big believer in packing light but recommend taking two swimsuits with you to Mexico. The humidity there makes it difficult for a swimsuit to dry out overnight and there is nothing worse than putting on a damp swimsuit!


Woman holding a drink on the beach in Mexico.  A hat should be on your Mexico packing list.

A hat is a must for any trip to the beach or any outdoor activities. Not only will it provide some protection from the sun (and rain), but it will also help keep you cooler. My packing list for Mexico includes two hats; one floppy hat for the beach and a fedora to wear for sightseeing. I recommend you purchase hats that can be folded easily into your suitcase but will retain their shape.


I recommend not taking too many shoes on any trip. This is especially true for a Cancun packing list or any other destination in Mexico. Shoes are heavy and take up a lot of space in your luggage. Take some flip-flops, a pair of comfortable shoes for sightseeing, and another pair you can wear to dinner. Here are some of my favorite shoes for travel. Leave the rest in your closet!

Couple standing in front of the ocean at the Tulum ruins in Mexico.

You may want to bring a pair of water shoes as well, especially if you plan on swimming in any cenotes (which I highly recommend you do!) as there may be rocks.

Theft-Proof Bag/Wallet

Traveling with a theft-proof purse, backpack, or wallet is a good idea when traveling anywhere. I love my Arden Cove bag that provides many anti-theft features including RFID blocking, slash-resistant straps and locking zippers.

I’ve also used this passport wallet for storing passports, cash, and other documents. It’s a steal at under $15.00 and comes in a rainbow of fun colors. Another great item to add to your Mexico packing list.

What to Pack for the Beach

Swimsuit Coverup

For guys, wear a t-shirt to the beach that you can throw on when it’s time to get a bit to eat. Ladies, a coverup that actually covers you is suggested. The buffet restaurants that you’ll probably visit at lunch will be no shirt no shoes, no service.

Beach Bag or Backpack

A beach vacation is about spending time at the beach, right? So you’ll want a bag that you can easily transport your beach necessities while keeping them protected from water and sand.

I usually bring a large canvas tote that I can fold easily in my suitcase. But I just bought a foldable tote bag and a foldable backpack for my daughter. Both fold up to a small, lightweight square making them perfect for packing. They are also a sturdy nylon fabric that is water-resistant. Both also have small pockets which I love for storing my phone and other small items.

Waterproof Phone Case

A few years ago I went for a run on the beach and dropped my phone in shallow water. It took a couple of days in a bag of rice to dry it out but I learned my lesson that day. No phone near the water unless it’s in a waterproof case!

Man taking a picture of the sunrise on a beach in Mexico.  Packing list for Mexico.

One of the best Mexico travel accessories you can purchase is a dry bag/waterproof case. You will see vendors selling these on the beach in Mexico but they are easy to find online and in stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. Definitely a worthwhile investment for a little peace of mind!


Any list of things to bring to Mexico must include sunscreen. The sun is hot there and the risk of sunburn is high. You can always buy sunscreen once you arrive, but it will cost more than what you would pay at home. If you typically pack with only a carry-on, you can buy trial size bottles of sunscreen that meet TSA regulations for liquids or decant product from a full-size bottle into a smaller container. Stick-type sunscreens are a good option as well and they don’t have to be TSA-compliant which means you can pack them in your carry-on.

Many sunscreens contain oxybenzone and/or octinoxate which have may be harmful to aquatic life. If you are planning on doing any snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming in cenotes, or any other water activities it’s recommended to use a reef-safe sunscreen, preferably one that doesn’t contain oxybenzone.

Reusable Water Bottle

When traveling to Mexico, it is advised that you don’t drink any water unless it’s bottled. Some resorts provide bottled water to guests but many, including the one that I stayed at recently, have a purified water dispenser in your room and in other areas around the property. I used these dispensers to keep my reusable water bottle filled. Carrying a refillable water bottle will significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic you’ll use. If you prefer to drink from a straw, bring a reusable one as many resorts are also doing away with them as a means of being more eco-friendly.

Poolside at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.

Wellness Items

I’ve started carrying a basic wellness kit on all of my travels. But in Mexico, where you may encounter water or food that doesn’t agree with you, the sun is strong, and there are lots of insects, it’s even more important to have some basic items readily available.

I carry Advil/Tylenol, Immodium, band-aids, first aid ointment, and antacids. I also recommend bringing sunscreen at an SPF higher than you may normally use as well as an insect repellent for any outdoor activities you may participate in. Bringing along a small bottle of aloe vera gel for any sunburns is also a good idea and will provide relief without having to pay the high prices that may be charged at resorts or stores catering to tourists.

I picked up some of this supplement that assists with the prevention of travelers’ diarrhea. The digestive aid can be taken as a preventive measure or once you begin experiencing symptoms. I had some digestive distress on the last morning of our recent trip to Mexico and took this product and it definitely stopped the symptoms which made the flight home much more comfortable!

What Not to Bring to Mexico

There are several items you can leave at home when you pack for an all-inclusive resort. This means more room for souvenirs!

  • Towels – Your resort will provide you with beach towels.
  • Jewelry – Leave any expensive jewelry at home. You won’t have any issues with safety at your resort, but there isn’t any reason to risk losing something valuable or sentimental.
  • Hairstyling tools – I’m a curly-haired girl and I foolishly took my travel blowdryer with me thinking I might blow out my hair. Ha! Between the water and the wind, it would have been a waste of time.
  • Expensive electronics – If you do bring a GoPro, a drone, or some other expensive electronics, make sure you keep on eye on them and don’t use them near water.
  • Lots of Cash – I definitely recommend bringing some small bills for tips, but it’s not necessary to have lots of cash. If you’re at an all-inclusive resort you should only need cash when you leave the property. I suggest visiting guest services and exchanging some cash for peso which will make small purchases a lot easier.

Additional Packing Resources

Check out my list of things to do before taking a trip to Mexico or other international destinations.

More about Candy Wafford

Candy Wafford is a US-based travel blogger and while she travels frequently for her job, she is happiest when traveling for pleasure. Preferably strolling along a cobblestoned street with an ice cream cone in her hand.


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