Is Mexico on your mind?
After spending 6 months in Mexico in Playa del Carmen, San Cristobal de las Casas and Merida, people ask us ‘what to pack for Mexico?”. So we decided to compile this list of 24 essential items you need to add to your Mexico packing list.
Other than the physical ‘stuff’ you need to pack for Mexico, make sure you have an open mind and a respectful attitude when visiting foreign countries!
Here’s the ultimate Mexico packing list to ensure you have the best trip!
The Only Mexico Packing List You’ll Need
Obviously, you can’t travel without your passport. Whenever we travel, it’s the last thing I check before we leave the house and it always gives me peace of mind while on our way to the airport.
Mexico usually gives most visitors a 180 days visa on arrival for most countries.
2. Fanny Pack
Trust me when I tell you this has been a game-changer for my airport travels. Matthew was against me getting a fanny pack but alas I wore him out. He now sees the benefits of me owning a fanny pack.
In my fanny pack, you’ll find:
- Passports (both mine and Matthew’s)
- Boarding passes
- Lip balm
- USB drive with important documents in case
YES – all of that! I wear it across my chest along with my backpack to go through the airport and every single thing is EASILY accessible. No fussing around with my backpack ever again!
3. Nordace Sienna Backpack
My favorite digital nomad backpack is the Nordace Sienna Backpack. I personally use this and only this backpack because the color is so cute, the pockets are plenty and it’s just a thoughtful design for every traveler.
There is a secret pocket for passports, emergency money or anything important. You can slip it onto a carry-on suitcase which makes traveling easier. There’s no reason NOT to get this backpack.
4. MOFT Portable Laptop Stand
If you’re a digital nomad, remote worker or maybe just a workaholic and need to bring your laptop with you to Mexico – the MOFT invisible laptop stand is the best. PERIOD.
Matthew and I are loyal MOFT fans because we love all their products and innovations. I’ve got their MOFT carry case, phone stand and laptop stand.
5. Turkish Beach Towel / Microfiber Towel
Both the Turkish towel and the microfiber towel work really well as a lightweight alternative to your normal towels. This makes it a must-have item!
The towel won’t take up much space in your beach bag and it’ll do the job of drying you up and shaking off sand just as well if not better.
6. GoPro Hero 9
Making memories is one thing. Capturing those memories is another. It’s very important to me that we can look back one day when we’re old and see those photos or videos from our travels.
Our camera of choice is the GoPro Hero 9.
It’s the most versatile camera for ALL activities. Especially water activities like swimming in cenotes, snorkeling around Cozumel or just capturing the small moments like eating your first Mexican taco (in Mexico).
If you’re like us – you’ll want to add a GoPro Hero 9 to your Mexico packing list too.
7. Memory Card
The worst thing that can happen when you’re capturing those memories is when the text pops up that your memory disk is FULL. Ahhh! Then you’re left with memories from only the start of the trip. This has happened to us and it’s not great.
Usually, tech stuff costs more overseas than in the US so it’s good to buy before you leave for Mexico. It’s also just hard to find and who wants to do that while you’re tripping around Mexico, right?
We use this Samsung MicroSD card and we recommend getting at least 128 GB if you want to also film videos of the trip. We chose this because of the value for money at less than $20 for 128gb – it’s a steal. This gives you enough memory to not worry about your storage at all plus it’s lightweight enough for you to easily add to your Mexico packing list.
8. Hard Drive
Want to create content on your Mexico trip?
Your safest bet is to bring a hard drive with you. This way you can easily transfer and safely store all those precious videos and photos.
We recently bought this Samsung 2T Hard Drive and we are shocked at how lightweight it was. As digital nomads or full-time travelers, weight always plays a big role for us. The other popular hard drive that you see is the one with an orange frame. Either one will do the job!
9. Day Pack
You might ask…what’s a day pack?
A day pack is usually a foldable, lightweight pack designed for day trips or activities. Some people use tote bags, I’d say this is a safer, more comfortable alternative.
10. Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Are you hitting the cenotes or lagoons as part of your Mexico itinerary?
Most of these places have already banned normal sunscreen because they are trying to protect their reefs. So what do you do to protect yourself from the sun?
Reef-safe sunscreen! Yes, it’s a thing. I just discovered this and I’m so happy that there’s a way to protect our skin from the sun and not damage the reefs wherever we go. A must-have on your Mexico packing list.
Are you really going to Mexico if you don’t add sunglasses to your Mexico packing list?! Everyone needs a good pair of sunglasses that look great but more importantly protect your eyes.
Matthew recently got me these RayBans for my birthday which I’ve been eyeing for a while. While Matthew gets a pretty simple pair as long as they have good UV protection.
Another great protector from the sun and a must-have on your Mexico packing list is a hat. Any hat of your choice that makes you feel comfortable – for me that’s a bucket hat. I know I know. Matt hates it.
You can choose your hats depending on the coverage you’d like or solely based on the style you’re after.
13. Packing Cubes
Strong, durable packing cubes are a game-changer for any kind of travel – vacation, digital nomad, or longer time-off/sabbatical. We can’t imagine traveling without them now!
We’ve had these G4Free 6pc Packing Cubes since 2019 and they are still holding up so well! If I were to buy again, I’d only buy these ones because you get 6-in-1 cubes, very durable and the zippers work well (important if you want it to last).
If you like to keep your things organized, neat and compact – then you need to add packing cubes to the Mexico packing list now. We even use the packing cubes to store our clothes in the closet – things don’t get out of place and they stay organized throughout the entire trip.
14. Mosquito Repellent Wristbands
Mosquitoes are aplenty in Mexico. These mosquito repellant wristbands will keep the mozzies away and they are great (less annoying) alternatives for a mosquito repellent.
If you have kids – this is a great option because you can just put it on them and not have to worry about reapplying it again.
15. Kindle Paperwhite
Looking to do some sun-bed lounging on a beach? A kindle could become your next best friend and an essential add to your Mexico packing list if you love to read. Matthew recently got this for his birthday and he loves it!
We recommend the Kindle Paperwhite 8GB (ad-supported) so there isn’t too much glare on your screen while reading. Bringing a kindle rather than multiple books can save you a lot of weight in your carry-on or checked bag.
16. Aluminum Water Bottle (Hydroflask or Yeti/LifeStraw)
Here’s the truth:
Mexico is hot. Especially in the Riviera Maya area (Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun). If being able to drink cold water is important to you (like it is to me) – you will want to get a Hydroflask or a YETI water bottle. They will leave your drink cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for even longer.
You might be wondering…
Is the water safe to drink in Mexico? No – not from the tap. A LifeStraw could be the perfect solution for you if you don’t want to be bothered about buying water all the time.
17. Water Shoes
Look, I get it. These water shoes look absolutely ridiculous!
I’m not disagreeing with that at all. But did I wish I had them while swimming in cenotes?
They might not look the best but they certainly protect your feet from super hot sand, coarse reefs, and rough limestones from cenotes. Get these semi-cute water shoes here.
18. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
If you’re traveling to Mexico (or anywhere really) and connecting to so many different wifi networks – you’re putting yourself and your data at risk. And you might think ‘Oh that happens only at dodgy places’ but it happens all the time at restaurants, cafes, hotels, airports or Airbnbs.
We had this happen to us in Europe and we have never traveled without a VPN again. Matthew loves this stuff so he researched for a few weeks to see which one we should get.
19. Beach Bag
The perfect beach accessory is a cute beach bag where you can store all you need for a relaxing or fun-filled day by the ocean.
I tend to use a bigger bag for beach days because you can hold your towel, sunscreen, book/Kindle or any other item that would make it a successful beach day.
20. Printouts of Important Documents
This might just be me but I like to have photocopies of important documents wherever we go. If you lose your passport, your ID card or any important documents – at least you have a photocopy for proof. I find this is always better than nothing!
21. Portable Charger
I can’t stress enough how important it is to add a portable charger to your Mexico packing list. Heck – any packing list really! This is another way we ensure we stay safe in whatever country we are in.
You don’t want your battery to die if you’re stuck in a random spot in Mexico right? That would be my worst nightmare.
Matthew and I searched the Amazon world for the best portable charger out there. After many tabs opened and listings read – we found one!
We chose the Anker PowerCore 20000 Portable Charger because it can fully charge 2 phones and 1 iPad with a single charge. We rarely worry about our battery percentage and it’s saved us on multiple occasions already.
22. Bathing Suit
Going to Mexico and not having a bathing suit on your Mexico packing list? I don’t believe it!
With such clear waters and pristine beaches – you never know when you’re going to want to have a dip in the water.
Always pack a bathing suit even if you don’t plan on swimming because you never know what adventures you’ll have! These swimsuits are lightweight anyway.
23. Waterproof Dry Bags + Phone Case
Dry bags are really handy if you want to do some water activities. For example, a sailing trip, a snorkeling excursion and especially a scuba-dive.
There are tons of options available, but this Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag also comes with a waterproof phone case already. A great addition because you can still safely bring your phone and take photos without worrying about it getting wet.
Either way – add a waterproof dry pack and phone case to your Mexico packing list if you plan to do a lot of water activities and keep your electronics safe.
24. Airpod Pros
I don’t go anywhere without my Airpods Pros. I love listening to music whenever I’m traveling and Airpods give you that WITHOUT the annoying wires getting wrapped up everywhere.
If there’s anything you don’t want to deal with while trying to get important documents together, transiting here and there or simply a not-so-ideal seatmate – Airpods could be a lifesaver for you.
What NOT To Add To Your Mexico Packing List
- Don’t take large amounts of cash. We usually pay by card (which is available in most towns around Mexico) until we can ensure we get money out safely from an ATM. Even then – we only withdraw what we REALLY need. An ATM we trust that can be found everywhere in Mexico is BBVA.
- Don’t take heavy books. I’m telling you – the Kindle is a lifesaver! You don’t want to pack your bag full of books and not have any space for souvenirs right?
- Don’t bring expensive jewelry. I left my real wedding rings at home because I just don’t want to tempt or worry about my jewelry. If you cannot easily replace it on travel insurance – don’t take it.
Mexico Packing List – Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to go to Mexico?
The majority of tourist destinations in Mexico are safe like Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Puerto Vallarta. We spent 6 months in Mexico and we felt very safe.
Of course – everyone has different experiences, this was ours. We were very aware of our surroundings and took all the necessary precautions to avoid any bad situations.
Should I get travel insurance?
For us – the answer is always yes. We use SafetyWing because it’s built for digital nomads and very affordable at only $40 per month.
When’s the best time to visit Mexico?
We love visiting Mexico during the shoulder months (mid-April – May; August – September) because you get good deals and the weather isn’t so bad (with a few days of rain).
The popular tourist months are December, January and February which doubles the price of accommodation. Read this if you want to see when the best time to visit Mexico is for yourself.
Can I use US dollars in Mexico?
It depends. While we were traveling the Riviera Maya, some places accepted US dollars and some didn’t. If you pay in US dollars – you always get a horrible exchange rate so we never did this. However, it’s definitely a convenient option.
How long is the tourist visa in Mexico?
A lot of countries can simply enter with the FMM card which usually gets you 180 days. This all depends on the officer you get – he/she ultimately decides how many days.
A quick list of things to add to your Mexico packing list:
- Fanny Pack
- Nordace Backpack
- Turkish Towel
- GoPro 9
- Micro SD Card
- Hard Drive
- Day Pack
- Reef-safe Sunscreen
- Packing Cubes
- Mosquito Repellent Bands
- Aluminum Water Bottle
- Water Shoes
- Beach Bag
- Photocopy of Documents
- Portable Charger
- Waterproof dry bag + phone case