Heading to Mexico for a vacation is an exciting adventure that is sure to create lifelong memories. This country has a lot to offer: beautiful beaches, historic sites, and cultural landmarks.
However, like any other travel destination, it's essential to pack all the necessary items in advance to ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable trip. A packing list is not only helpful in keeping track of what you need but also helpful in avoiding any last-minute stress. Of course if you do forget anything, just about anything can be purchased here in Mexico that you might need.
When you don't have a packing list, there's always the risk of overpacking or under-packing. Overpacking can lead to numerous issues such as heavy luggage costs or difficulties carrying your bags.
I used to be an overpacker. However, now I'm a firm believer that just about any trip can be made in a medium sized suitcase which (like having a packing list) ensures that you only pack essential items for your trip.
Another benefit of having a packing list is that it helps you stay organized throughout your trip. By organizing items into groups such as clothing and accessories or electronics and documents, you will have an easier time finding what you need when you need it.
Be Prepared for All Situations
Mexico has various weather conditions ranging from hot and humid to rainy and windy days depending on the season. That's why it's nice to bring different options that can allow you to layer if needed. Having a well-planned packing list will make sure that your Mexican adventure goes smoothly with everything needed at hand while minimizing stress levels before leaving home.
I'll be honest, when I made my first trip to Mexico I only packed summer clothes. That was a terrible idea, I admit. It was rainy and cold and nights in Guadalajara, even during the summer.
Want to learn more about Mexico? Check out our comprehensive Mexico country guide for all the insider information!
Clothing and Accessories
When packing for a trip to Mexico, it's important to keep in mind the climate and cultural norms of the country. The weather in Mexico can be hot and humid, so it's important to pack light, breathable clothing that will keep you comfortable throughout your trip.
Lightweight, breathable clothing for hot weather
For daytime activities such as exploring cities or visiting archaeological sites, opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. T-shirts, shorts, skirts, and sundresses are perfect choices for this type of weather.
Comfortable walking shoes
Mexico is known for its beautiful architecture and vibrant culture that can only be explored on foot. Therefore packing a pair of comfortable walking shoes should be a top priority. Closed-toe sneakers or hiking shoes are great options to consider since they provide support while walking on uneven terrain.
Sun hat and sunglasses
The sun in Mexico can be intense, so make sure you pack some protective gear like a sun hat or cap along with sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Swimsuit and cover-up
If you're planning on spending some time at the beach or the hotel pool during your trip then don't forget to pack your swimsuit! Also having a cover-up is essential when heading out from the beach as many restaurants require proper attire.
Rain jacket or poncho
Rainy season in Mexico starts from May until October so having either a lightweight rain jacket or poncho will come handy when caught up in sudden showers.
Sweater or Jacket
If you are traveling to higher altitudes or during the fall or winter you will definitely want to bring a jacket. The temperature will drop in the dry climates even during the hot spring. While temperatures will normally average above 31 Celsius (88 F) during the day, during the night they can drop significantly to below 68 Celsius.
Toiletries and Medications
Protect Yourself from the Sun with High SPF Sunscreen
Mexico is a sunny destination, and you’ll need to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. A high SPF sunscreen should be at the top of your list. Make sure you choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
We recommend an SPF of at least 30 to ensure adequate protection. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Battle Mosquitoes with Insect Repellent
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance in many parts of Mexico, so make sure you pack insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus for maximum protection. Apply it to exposed skin as directed by the product label.
Stay Clean with Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is always handy when traveling abroad. Use it to clean your hands when soap and water are not available or convenient. Choose a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol for optimal germ-killing power.
Be Prepared with Basic First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit can come in handy if you experience minor injuries while on vacation in Mexico. Pack band-aids, pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, antihistamine tablets for allergies and insect bites, motion sickness medication if needed, adhesive tape, gauze pads, scissors etc.
Don’t Forget Prescription Medications
If you take prescription medications regularly remember to pack enough doses for your trip duration plus extra days' supply in case of delays. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your prescriptions with you in case you need to refill them while traveling. Take note that some medications are not available over-the-counter in Mexico and may require a prescription.
Electronics and Documents
When it comes to traveling to Mexico, having the right electronics and documents can make all the difference. Here are a few items to consider:
Passport and Travel Documents
The first thing you'll want to pack is your passport or other travel documents. Without these, you won't be able to enter Mexico and enjoy all that it has to offer. Be sure to double-check the expiration date on your passport before leaving home, as some countries require at least six months' validity. This isn't explicitly written in the Mexican entry requirements, but don't give them any reasons to deny you entry.
Camera or Go Pro for Photos
Mexico is a beautiful country with plenty of opportunities for stunning photos. Whether you prefer a traditional camera or opt for your go pro camera, be sure to pack one of these devices so you can capture all of your travels. Don't forget extra batteries and memory cards.
Portable Charger for Electronics
In today's world where everything is digitalized, it's essential that we carry our gadgets with us everywhere we go. However, finding an electrical outlet at every place we visit can be challenging sometimes. To avoid running out of battery life while on the go, consider packing a portable charger that will keep your phone charged throughout the day.
Adapters for Electrical Outlets in Mexico
I always pack an adapter plug just in case. While Mexico does use the same voltage as the USA, not all sockets have ground plug-ins (aka 3 prong). This is where the travel adapter can come in handy and allow me to charge my larger electronics in an outlet I normally couldn't use. Also, I make sure to bring a dc-plug as well for charging with car rentals.
Cash or Credit Cards (with Notification to Bank)
Aside from packing clothes and toiletries, it's important to bring some form of payment when traveling. While credit cards are widely accepted in Mexico, it's always a good idea to bring some cash with you as well.
Inform your bank or credit card company about your travel plans ahead of time to avoid any issues with using your card while abroad. Keep your cash and cards tucked away in a secure place like a money belt or hidden pocket.
Spanish Phrasebook or Translation App
Knowing at least some basic Spanish phrases can make your trip much more enjoyable and stress-free. Even if you don't speak fluent Spanish, being able to communicate basic needs like ordering food, asking for directions, and greeting locals can go a long way. Consider bringing a physical phrasebook or downloading a translation app on your phone to help you out.
Travel-Sized Stain Remover
I would say something severely under-rated in the the travel aisle is shout wipes. These things are life and clothes savers! I always make sure to pack a couple along for each trip because I know I'm going to stain something.
Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is essential when traveling, especially in hot climates like Mexico. Instead of buying bottled water every time you're thirsty, consider bringing a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day. Not only is it better for the environment, but it will save you money in the long run as well. Read more about the drinking water in Mexico here.
Overall, these miscellaneous items may seem small and insignificant compared to other things on your packing list but they can make all the difference during your travels in Mexico. Don't overlook them!
After reading through this packing list, you now have a better idea of what to bring on your trip to Mexico! From lightweight clothing to necessary toiletries and documents, there are a variety of items that will help make your stay more comfortable.
By packing smartly, you'll be prepared for any situation that may arise during your travels. Remember that the climate in Mexico can vary depending on where you're headed.
Now that you know what to pack, you may be interested in reading up on 25 reasons to visit Mexico here.
I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!