Your Mexico Packing List - What to Pack for Mexico
I never think it's a bad idea to take a trip to Mexico. But I must admit that I second guess myself every time I start packing for that trip.
As much as I plan beforehand, I never seem to remember everything. So, the last time I vacationed in Mexico, I kept a list of all the things I was grateful I thought to bring—and those things I wish I had remembered.
Now it does not matter if you are a planner or the notorious last-minute packer, you can use this list to make it all much easier. It's only fair that I share this with you; we all deserve to be relieved of the stress of packing—because it's vacation!
- Cash in Pesos It is so much easier to tip and pay for many things with pesos. Plus, you'll get a better exchange rate. I just go to the first ATM I can find after crossing the border.
- SIM card for your phone (unless your carrier works in Mexico) I was a little intimidated by using a SIM. I thought it might be complicated. It is not and was much easier than trying to use an online service that gave me data.
- Google Maps (if you have a SIM or cell service, it works great!) I have used Google Maps a bunch while in Mexico. However, it is not available if you do not have cell service. You can use the maps.me app, and download the maps you need in advance, if you want to have access to maps when you do not have service.
- External USB charger (for your phone & other items) and the correct cords. There are so many times my phone starts to die that I do not have access to an electric or USB outlet. This charger has saved me more times than I can count.
- A Sarong! It is so versatile! I use it to cover up and protect myself from sun, wind, or cold, as a bathing suit cover-up, a towel, and even a sheet! I have seen men use them too (though less often)!
- Sunglasses — a no brainer, but easy to forget.
- Snorkel and mask. You do not want to rent the old, stretched out, blurry used ones available on your excursion, free or not. And, who wants to share a mouthpiece? These items do not take up much room and I had no regrets about bringing them.
- Sandals with ankle straps. Very handy if you want to get in the ocean and avoid anything that could hurt your feet (shells, glass, critters).
- Tennis Shoes. There are so many things to do in Mexico where having better shoes will make it easier/more comfortable. For instance, the streets of Puerto Vallarta are made of cobblestone, and I found them much easier to walk in tennis shoes. If I am doing a long walk, even shopping, I want my tennis over my flip flops.
- A hat. The perfect way to protect your head and look good after swimming, and while hanging out in the sun.
- Snacks & water from home for the road. When you start adding up those water bottles you buy at the Oxxo (convenience mart, sometimes gas station), they get expensive. I like to bring my favorite Trader Joe's treats and a gallon of water to take between destinations.
- Special needs foods. Forget about gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan in Mexico, in most places. It's best to bring the easiest items that will keep you fed, if not having them will cause you problems.
- Sunscreen, lotion, lip balm. You will find better products for better prices at home.
- Bug repellent. You will find better, less expensive options in the U.S.
- A Tote Bag. Use it for grocery or souvenir shopping, taking your stuff to the beach, carrying personal items on an excursion, and many other things. This has been one of the best items I now bring on trips.
- A jacket or sweater, sun shirt, light pants, t-shirt, tank top, shorts, bathing suit. No matter what time of the year I am in Mexico I always seem to get hot and cold. Everything I bring is "quick drying" because I am usually near the beach and something is going to get wet. Down jacket/rain jacket? Depending on the season (winter/hurricane), these items may come in handy. The last time I was in Mexico was right after a hurricane. I was grateful to have remembered my rain jacket.
- Hair supplies. After a day on a boat, or at the beach, I usually end up with a head full of tangles or sand. I highly recommend bringing your own hair supplies, whether you have long hair or short. Specifically, I think having shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, a good brush, and even a detangler is a good idea.
- Headlamp. Not only is a headlamp helpful when you are trying to find the things you want in your car at night, or when you arrive late and need to find your way to your room, it also helps when viewing the nightlife. Not just the clubs, but the wildlife. If you time it right, you can check out the tidal pools when the tide is out.
- A water filter straw or iodine tablets. Many hotels and resorts have good drinking water. If you are not positive about the water, there is no reason to spoil a perfectly good vacation to stay hydrated.
- A first aid kit is nice to have wherever you go. No reason not to have it when you're out of the country and have no idea where the nearest drug store is, or even how to ask for what you need.
The list could go on forever, but then you'd have to check luggage. As always, it's all about making your trip the best it can be. Enjoy!