Mexico Travel Essentials

17 Mexico Travel Essentials You Need to Pack for Your Trip (2023)

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In search of Mexico travel essentials for your upcoming trip to Mexico? You’ve come to the right guide!

As a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, I’m here to give you the inside scoop on all the essential items you need to pack for your trip.

Whether you’re planning a beach getaway to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, or Los Cabos or a city escape to Mexico City, there are certain travel necessities for Mexico that every traveler should have.

And packing the right items will make your trip smoother and much more enjoyable!

In this post, I’m sharing my top recommendations for must-have Mexico travel essentials, most of which you can purchase on Amazon for less than $20.

Ready to discover the essential items you need to pack for your trip to Mexico? Let’s get started!

Mexico Travel Essentials

Aside from your passport and Mexico vacation clothes, here’s my go-to list of the essentials for traveling to Mexico that will ensure you’re well-prepared for your trip:

1. Biodegradable Sunscreen

A bottle of Sun Bum sunscreen sitting on the edge of a pool

Starting at the top of the list of Mexico trip essentials has to be biodegradable sunscreen!

Biodegradable or reef-safe sunscreen is an absolute must-have for anyone planning a beach vacation to Mexico.

Regular sunscreen is prohibited in most beach towns in Mexico as it can contain chemicals that are harmful to coral reefs.

So if you’re planning to do any snorkeling, swimming, or beach lounging during your trip to Mexico, make sure you’ve packed some biodegradable sunscreen.

Most tour operators won’t even let you use regular sunscreen.

I personally use and recommend Sun Bum sunscreen, as it is reef-safe, vegan, and cruelty-free. And it comes in both a cream and a spray so you can choose whatever option you like best.

Buy on Amazon here:

2. Water Shoes

A pair of pink water shoes, a Mexico travel essential

Another one of the must have items for a Mexico vacation is a pair of water shoes.

If you’re planning to explore some of Mexico’s beautiful cenotes, you’re definitely going to want to bring water shoes! Trust me, it will make your visit so much more enjoyable!

It’s also nice to have water shoes when swimming in the ocean, especially if you’re visiting a beach that is a little rockier.

Additionally, if you’re going to be visiting any of the incredible adventure parks in Mexico, such as Xcaret, Xplor, or Xel-Ha, a pair of water shoes is essential.

I recommend these lightweight and quick-drying DOUSSPRT Water Shoes–they come in both men’s and women’s sizes and a range of colors.

Buy on Amazon here:

3. Belt Bag

A girl wearing a belt bag in Mexico

When exploring cities in Mexico (or pretty much anywhere in the world), a belt bag is one of the essential items you should bring for added safety on the go.

Pickpocketing and other forms of theft are unfortunately common in Mexico, so it’s important to keep your most valuable items safely tucked away.

A belt bag is a great way to store your wallet, credit cards, phone, and valuables while you’re exploring the city or out and about.

I personally use and recommend the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag, but you can also get a look-a-like on Amazon here.

I have both and they are both great options!

Buy your belt bag here:

4. Compact Umbrella

A black compact travel umbrella

Another great item to add to your travel essentials list for Mexico is a compact umbrella.

While Mexico is known for its sunny and warm weather, storms can come on quickly especially during the rainy season.

I recommend carrying a compact and lightweight umbrella that’s easy to store in your bag when you’re not using it. This way you’re always prepared for rain!

And even if it doesn’t rain, it can double as a sun shade! Umbrellas are especially helpful to have when visiting ancient ruins in Mexico such as Chichen Itza, the Tulum Ruins, or Teotihuacan as the archeological sites often have little shade.

This compact umbrella on Amazon is lightweight and folds down to a small size so it can fit easily in your bag.

Buy on Amazon here:

5. Sun Hat

A floppy sun hat and sunglasses sitting on a beach in Mexico

If you’re planning to any outdoor activities in Mexico, a sun hat is an absolute must!

A good sun hat will protect your face and neck from the harsh Mexican sun and help you stay cool while lounging at the pool or beach.

Sun hats come in a lot of styles like straw hats, fedora hats, floppy hats, and bucket hats, depending on your preference.

BUY on Amazon HERE:

Travelista Tip: If you’re planning any boat tours, I would recommend getting a hat with a wind lanyard so that it won’t blow away in the wind.

6. Rash Guard

A girl wearing a rash guard on a beach in Mexico

If you’re planning to visit a cenote during your trip to Mexico, a rash guard or long-sleeved swim shirt might be one of the essential items you want to pack.

Sunscreen is prohibited when visiting cenotes (even biodegradable) so if you’re someone that tends to burn easily, a rash guard is really the only option for sun protection.

It also provides an extra layer of warmth as cenote waters are usually pretty frigid all year round.

Rash guards are also good to have for snorkeling tours as some tour operators (like at Sian Ka’an and Akumal Bay) prohibit any kind of sunscreen.

So it’s a good idea to pick up an inexpensive rash guard on Amazon to have on hand for cenote trips or snorkeling tours.

Buy on Amazon here:

7. Microfiber Beach Towel

A green microfiber beach towel laying on the sand in Mexico

A microfiber beach towel is another one of the best things to take to Mexico for all kinds of activities whether you’re lounging on the beach, visiting cenotes, or visiting adventure parks.

Microfiber towels are lightweight, quick-drying, and take up much less space in your bag than a traditional cotton beach towel.

That means you can easily through them into your beach bag or travel backpack without having to worry about lugging around heavy and bulky cotton towels.

I recommend these Rainleaf Microfiber Beach Towels on Amazon. They come in a many different sizes and colors and they even come with a compact carrying case.

Buy on Amazon here:

8. Collapsible Water Bottle

A person holding a collapsible water bottle, an essential Mexico travel item

Another good thing to bring is a collapsible water bottle, which is a handy plastic water bottle that squishes down and fits easily into your bag when you’re not using it.

Since the tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico, it can be a lot more difficult to stay hydrated during your trip.

Having a reusable water bottle with you is a great way to ensure that you’re drinking enough water, while cutting down on bottled water waste.

You can just fill it up with the purified water at your hotel and take it with you when you’re out during the day.

I recommend this Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle, which is BPA-free, leakproof, and has a hand strap for easy transportation.

Buy on Amazon here:

9. Mosquito Repellent

A person spraying mosquito repellent on their arm

Mosquito repellent is another Mexico must-have item, especially if you’re traveling to the tropical coastal areas.

Mosquitos can be especially pesky during the summer months so you’ll want to bring along some mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites.

You can buy bug spray or you can also pick up some mosquito repellent bracelets for added protection.

Buy on Amazon here:

10. Beach Bag

A beach bag on beach in Mexico

A good beach bag is another one of the best things to pack for a trip to Mexico!

You’ll want to bring a beach bag to store your towel, sunscreen, and valuables while you’re lounging at the pool or beach.

I recommend packing one with a zipper or drawstring closure so that your things stay secure and sand-free.

You’ll also want to make sure it’s lightweight and can easily fit in your suitcase when not in use. Or bring it along as your personal item on the plane!

Buy now on Amazon:

11. Aloe Vera Gel

A jar of green aloe vera gel

Travel-sized aloe vera gel is another practical thing to add to your essentials for a trip to Mexico list.

The sun can be quite intense in Mexico, so having a bottle of aloe vera gel on hand is essential for after-sun care.

It’s also great to have if you accidentally get too much sun and end up with a nasty sunburn. Aloe vera gel is known to have healing and soothing properties, so it’s a great product to use for sunburn relief.

I recommend bringing along some travel-sized aloe vera gel just in case you get a sunburn. It will be a welcome relief!

Buy on Amazon here:

12. Waterproof Phone Pouch

A waterproof phone case sitting on top of a pool float

If you’re planning any water activities like boat trips or adventure park visits, you’re definitely going to want to take pictures of your experience.

If you don’t want to splurge on a GoPro (or the less expensive Akaso Brave), then I would recommend getting a waterproof phone pouch to keep your phone safe.

This waterproof phone case from JOTO is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, boating, and other water activities.

It can keep your phone dry up to 100 ft and comes with an adjustable lanyard so you don’t have to worry about losing it in the water.

Buy on Amazon here:

13. Sunglasses

A pair of Ray Ban sunglasses sitting on a beach in Mexico

No Mexico travel essentials list would be complete without sunglasses! The sun can get intense in Mexico, so you’ll definitely want to protect your eyes with a good pair of shades.

I personally love my Ray-Ban Erika sunglasses for the beach as they provide 100% UV protection. They also have a classic style that can be dressed up or down.

But no matter what style you choose, make sure they have good UV protection so you don’t damage your eyes.

Buy on Amazon here:

14. Snorkel Set

An aqua mask and snorkel on the sand

If you’re planning to go snorkeling or visit any cenotes during your Mexico trip, it’s worth investing in a good quality snorkel set.

You may be able to rent one from a tour operator, but the quality of the equipment can vary greatly and you won’t know until you get there.

I recommend getting your own set in advance so you can be sure that the equipment is reliable, comfortable, and fits you right.

This snorkel set from PRODIVE includes an anti-fog mask and snorkel, and comes with a waterproof dry bag for easy storage.

Buy on Amazon here:

15. Wet Brush

A pink Wet Brush hair brush

A wet brush is a great addition to your essentials to pack for Mexico list, especially if you plan on swimming in any of the beaches or cenotes.

The wet brush is designed with thin bristles that are gentle on hair and won’t pull or snag like regular brushes. It’s perfect for detangling wet hair without damaging it.

Whenever I go in the ocean, my hair ends up being an absolute knotty mess afterwards. The wet brush has been a lifesaver for me and I always make sure to throw it in my beach bag!

I recommend this Mini Wet Brush from Amazon, which comes in a variety of colors and it’s travel-sized.

Buy on Amazon here:

16. Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

A Kindle E-Reader and sun hat sitting next to a pool

If you’re someone that likes to read, then I highly recommend packing a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

Not only will it save space in your suitcase, but you can also store hundreds of books on the device!

The Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon is waterproof and one of the only E-readers that can be read in full sunlight–perfect for the pool or beach!

I have had my Kindle Paperwhite for years and I never go to the beach without it!

Buy on Amazon here:

17. Pepto Bismol

A jar of pink Pepto Bismol pills

Stomach issues can happen to the best of us, so it’s always a good idea to pack some stomach relief medication.

Pepto Bismol is what to take to Mexico for stomach relief, as it’s great for relieving nausea, heartburn, indigestion, and other digestive issues that may arise on your Mexico trip.

It’s a good idea to pack some tablets to have on hand if you’re feeling a bit off after eating something questionable.

Buy on Amazon here:

Mexico Travel Essentials: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the packing essentials for Mexico trips:

What should I bring when I go to Mexico?

Aside from your passport, swimsuit, clothes, and shoes, a few essential items to bring on your Mexico trip include biodegradable sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sun hat.

What do I need to do to prepare to go to Mexico?

A valid passport with at least 6 months validity is required to enter Mexico so you’ll need to make sure you have a valid passport.

You’ll also want to stock up on some of these essentials for Mexico vacations. It’s also a good idea to purchase travel insurance and book your airport transportation before arrival.

How much cash should I bring to Mexico?

Use my Mexico cash calculator to get an estimate of how much cash you’ll need to bring to Mexico.

In general, I’d recommend bringing around $40 USD/day for things that can’t be paid for with a credit card like taxis, tips, and smaller purchases.

What should I wear at a Mexico all inclusive resort?

You’re probably going to be spending the majority of your time at the pool or beach so when deciding what to pack for Mexico, be sure to bring a bathing suit, a beach cover-up, and flip flops or sandals.

For dinner at the restaurants at all inclusive resorts, it’s best to wear nicer resort wear like a dress or slacks or a skirt with a nice top. For men, you’ll want to wear dress pants and a collared shirt.

Should I buy travel insurance when I go to Mexico?

Yes, I always recommend buying travel insurance for your Mexico trip. It’s a small price to pay considering the peace of mind it can give you in case of an emergency.

Travel insurance can also cover medical expenses, flight cancellations, lost or stolen luggage and more.

Final Thoughts: Mexico Vacation Essentials

So are you feeling ready to jet off on your Mexican adventure?

I hope that this guide on the essential things to bring on vacation to Mexico has helped you figure out what to take to Mexico on vacation and how to prepare for your trip.

Aside from your passport and other essentials like clothes and shoes, make sure that you have all the items mentioned here depending on your travel plans so you can enjoy a worry-free Mexico vacation!

If you’re planning to visit the beach, one of the most important things to bring is biodegradable sunscreen, as regular sunscreen is prohibited in most beach destinations in Mexico.

You can also read my full Mexico vacation packing list post for more tips on what to wear and things to pack for Mexico.

And you can grab my free Mexico packing list PDF by clicking here!

Good luck checking these items off your essential Mexico travel checklist!