Mexico Packing List: Essentials For Your Journey, From Taco To Taquilla

Are you ready for your trip ahead? Mexico undoubtedly is an exciting destination. There are many places and food for you to enjoy, and we have a feeling that you would want to come back to this country again.

That is the beauty of travel, isn’t it? If you miss something, there is always a second chance. But the same does not apply to packing. Without a Mexico packing list, you risk forgetting one or two essential items; and that can impact the overall experience.

Pack all you need to enjoy the best this tropical treasure trove has to offer now. Keep in mind that what we suggests here could be solid for a 5-7 day trip.

Why Mexico?

Mexico carries a unique appearance throughout its cities. Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

For the unfamiliar, we think it would be a good idea to introduce this land to them. Mexico is an enchanting holiday spot that caters to a wide range of interests, offering a multitude of activities and attractions.

From breathtaking coastlines along the Caribbean and Pacific shores to awe-inspiring archaeological sites, this country truly has something for everyone.

Its vibrant cities, charming colonial towns, lush forests, and tantalising cuisine create an irresistible allure. Mexico has been appealing to both adventure enthusiasts and those seeking a more laid-back escape.

Is this convincing enough? We hope it is. Now let’s dive into what your Mexico packing list looks like.

>> May be you also like: Best time to visit Mexico

The Essentials

Before you leave for Mexico, make sure you have all of your travel paperwork and financial arrangements in order. Having the proper documentation and understanding the visa requirements is critical for pleasant and trouble-free travel.

Let's look at the most important components of travel papers and money management while arranging a trip to Mexico.

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Money (local currency and/or credit/debit cards)
  • Multiple Migratory Form (FMM)
  • Driver’s Licence
  • Travel Insurance
  • Emergency contact list
  • Copies of your paperwork
  • A Backpack & a day bag.

1. Essential Paperwork

The most important notebook of your travels. Photo by Jeff Whyte  -

Make sure your passport is valid for the whole period of your trip to Mexico before leaving. Examine the expiration date and, if required, consider renewing it. Many countries, Mexico included, demand at least six months of validity left on the passport.

For people from the U.S., there is an extra step you need to take. You must register for a Multiple Migratory Form (Forma Migratoria Múltiple). The cost varies ($17-$55) depending on your stay duration as well as the application process. The longer you stay or, the faster you want the process to be, the more expensive the cost. 

In addition, your driver’s licence can also be used as a valid form of identification as well. In general, driver’s licenses from the U.S., Canada, or the European Union are accepted. If yours is not written in English, we recommend you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP)

2. Copies Of Your Travel Documents

It is highly recommended that you print copies of essential travel papers such as your passport, visa (if applicable), and any other identity documents you may carry.

These duplicates can be extremely useful if your original documents are lost, stolen, or destroyed. Keep these copies separate from the originals, preferably in a secure area such as your hotel safe or a different bag. You can also save some digital copies to be extra careful.

3. Travel insurance

Travel insurance is strongly advised when visiting Mexico (or anywhere else). It offers crucial coverage in unforeseen incidents or emergencies during your vacation.

Keep a copy of your travel insurance policy on hand, as well as the contact information, in case you need to file a claim or need assistance. If you want some pointers, here are our recommendations:

  • Allianz Global Assistance: With a wide range of insurance plans covering medical emergencies, trip cancellations, baggage losses, etc., they are famous among travellers. Plus, they have a 24/7 customer support service.
  • World Nomads: Besides diverse insurance options, they also provide different plans (Standard + Explorer). They have been in the business for over 20 years and have much experience. Now, the number of activities they cover has exceeded 200. 

4. Local currency: cash vs. credit cards

Mexico has numerous food stalls on the street. Photo by Kyle Petzer on Unsplash

To make educated judgments, become acquainted with the local currency, the Mexican Peso (MXN), and study exchange rates. The reason is that some vendors accept foreign currencies, such as USD or GBP, but with much lower rates. 

Consider several ways of carrying money while you are in Mexico. Bringing a mix of local cash and various payment options, such as credit or debit cards, is best.

While credit cards are generally accepted in large cities and tourist destinations, it's a good idea to bring extra cash with you in the case of smaller enterprises or isolated spots that don't accept cards.

5. Emergency contact information

Always keep emergency contact information on hand. Make a note of your country's embassy or consulate in Mexico's contact information and any emergency hotlines or helplines.

It's also a good idea to have the phone number of a trustworthy friend or family member back home who can aid you in an emergency. If possible, having the contact information of someone living in Mexico would be the best.

  • Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance): 911
  • Tourist Assistance and Information: 078
  • Consumer Protection: (011-5255) 5211-1723

6. Quality Backpack & Daybag


Almost the same colour as the Mexico flag

If you only want to carry one bag for all occasions, a backpack is the best option. It is a suitable option for both storing important documents when strolling through the Mexican streets or carrying hiking equipment.

Crossbody bag

Even though you can not carry as many items as with a backpack, you have better accessibility. A crossbody bag will be the perfect option if places you intend to visit are crowded; for example, a local market or a historical site. Keeping your bag on your side makes it easier to keep an eye on it compared to wearing it on your back.

Hip bag

If you are a minimal traveller looking for something compact but still useful, you need a hip pack. It’s ideal for carrying small items such as your phone, your passport, or a sunscreen tube. On top of this, not many bags can compare with the hip bag when it comes to style.

Clothing and Accessories

When preparing for your vacation to Mexico, choosing the proper apparel and accessories is critical to guaranteeing your comfort and happiness throughout the journey. Down here would be some of our suggestions.

  • T-shirts/Tank tops: 5-7
  • Bottom/skirts/pants: 4-5
  • Dresses: 2-3
  • Sunglasses: 1 pair
  • Hat or cap: 1 (one with a wide brim is recommended)
  • Flip-flops/Sandals: 1 pair
  • Swimsuits: 2 pairs
  • Comfortable Walking/Running Shoes: 2 pairs
  • Socks: 3-7 pairs
  • Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts: 2 pairs
  • Rain Jacket/Umbrella: 1 (May to October)
  • Backpack: 1
  • Crossbody bag/Hip bag: 1.

Note: This is a reference packing list for a 7-day trip to Mexico. Feel free to add or remove items as you see fit.

Before travelling to Mexico, it is essential to research and understand the temperature and weather conditions in the areas you intend to visit. Keep track of typical temperatures, humidity levels, and precipitation patterns during your journey. Mexico's climate varies from arid to tropical, from the North to the South.

For example, if you're visiting a hot and humid seaside location such as Yucatan, you can expect temperatures in the high 80s Fahrenheit (about 30 degrees Celsius). In that case, bring lightweight, breathable clothing to keep cool.

Light and breathable clothing for warm temperatures

Prepare yourself for Mexico’s sunny beaches. Photo by Alex Zakharchenko on Unsplash

The warm and tropical environment of Mexico, particularly along the shore, necessitates light and breathable clothes. Choose natural textiles such as cotton or linen, which allow for greater air circulation and help keep you cool.

Pack loose-fitting clothing, such as t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, skirts, and dresses. These sorts of clothes will keep you cool in the heat while also allowing your skin to breathe, reducing overheating and sweat.

Layering options for cooler evenings or higher altitudes

Temperatures in Mexico are typically mild. However, certain places, particularly at higher elevations or during specific seasons, such as Mexico City and Oaxaca, may have colder nights.

Pack a few adaptable layers that may be readily added or removed as needed to prepare for temperature swings. Lightweight sweaters, cardigans, or jackets made of breathable fabrics will be useful on chilly evenings or in mountainous places where temperatures might plummet.

Swimsuits, cover-ups, and beach accessories

Mexico's beautiful beaches and coastal attractions necessitate the use of proper swimwear and beach accessories.

Remember to bring your best swimwear or swim trunks to enjoy the sun, sand, and waves. If you want to keep stingy sea creatures away (ouchies!), packing a rashguard is a lifesaver. 

Include beach cover-ups, sarongs, or light shirts with your swimsuit to shield yourself from the sun's rays or for roaming around coastal regions.

To guarantee a great beach experience, essential beach accessories such as hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and beach towels should be included on your packing list.

Comfortable footwear for walking and exploring

A pair of sandals is perfect for walking on the sand. Photo by Joan MM on Unsplash

Mexico has a multitude of cultural and natural attractions, many of which require travelling and exploring on foot. Comfortable footwear that can survive long distances and different terrain is essential.

Bring a solid pair of walking shoes or trainers with strong arch support if you want to explore the Mayan ruins or sidewalks painlessly. Also, invest in a pair of waterproof sandals or water shoes if you want to visit coastal locations or participate in beach activities.

Toiletries and Medications

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  •  Dental floss
  • Shampoo and conditioner (water in Mexico is very high in minerals and can make your hair dry easily)
  • Body wash or soap
  • Face cleanser
  • Moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hair ties or clips
  • Sunscreen (with high SPF)
  • Prescription medications (in their original containers)
  • Basic first aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic ointment, adhesive tape)

In our experience, this is one of the most important categories that are usually forgotten by many people.

Not just for a trip to Mexico, having all of the amenities and prescriptions you need while travelling can provide a huge boost of comfort. Being sick while travelling is much worse than being sick at home.

1. Personal hygiene items

Although these items are widely accessible in most places, having your chosen brands and products on hand may create a feeling of familiarity and ease throughout your holiday.

2. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and after-sun care

A small tube can make a big impact. Photo by Dimitris Chapsoulas on Unsplash

The bright environment of Mexico necessitates sufficient sun protection. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from dangerous UV radiation. Insect repellent should also be included to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other biting insects.

If you want to spend time at the beach or participate in outdoor activities, carry after-sun care products such as aloe vera gel or soothing lotions to relieve sunburn discomfort.

3. Prescription medications and necessary medical supplies

As we mentioned earlier, this should be a crucial part of your Mexico packing list. If you take prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply to last throughout your trip.

We suggest you carry your medications in their original packaging with the prescription labels intact to facilitate customs and security checks.

If you have any specific medical conditions, allergies, or chronic illnesses, it's helpful to carry a medical information card or bracelet with pertinent details. 

Additionally, pack any necessary medical supplies, such as insulin, syringes, or EpiPens. If possible, try to carry more than you need for the planned itinerary to cover possible extensions. When travelling, having a basic first aid kit is usually a good idea. 

4. Travel-sized laundry detergent and travel accessories

Coin laundry is a great alternative. Photo by rtisanyb on Unsplash

Consider packing travel-sized laundry detergent or laundry sheets for washing smaller things in the sink or bathtub. This is particularly beneficial for longer journeys or when you need to change your clothes. 

Include travel items such as a travel pillow for comfortable rest, earplugs to block out noise, a sleep mask for improved sleep, and a lightweight day backpack for taking essentials on excursions.

5.  Reusable water bottle and a travel-grade filter

Mexico water isn’t safe to drink, we repeat, it’s not, even if it’s tap water (unless you boil the water - which is a hassle to be honest). You should stick to bottled water and purified water.

That said, an even easier option is to include a reusable water bottle and a travel-grade filter in your Mexico packing list. Staying hydrated is essential whenever you are.

For extra measures, don’t drink anything with ice, potentially made from the same unsafe water source. Simply say “sin hielo” [sin je-lo] - no ice - when ordering your drinks.

Electronics and Miscellaneous

This might be the part that you already put a lot of effort into, but it’s no harm in having a list to check.

  • Smartphone
  • Sim Cards
  • VPN
  • Camera or video camera
  • Travel adapter (to charge your electronics)
  • Portable charger/power bank
  • Earphones or headphones
  • Laptop or tablet (if needed)
  • Charging cables for your devices
  • Memory cards or external storage for your camera
  • Waterproof phone case (optional, for water activities)
  • Travel umbrella or rain poncho (depending on the season).

1. Universal power adapter

Ensure your adapter is suitable for the Mexican voltage (usually 127 volts). If you are from the USA or Canada, the good news is you are sorted as Mexico use the North America plug (type A and type B). For those from the rest of the world, pack a universal or North America travel adaptor to keep all your devices juiced up on the road. 

2. Smartphone, Chargers, SIM card and VPN

For obvious reasons, don’t forget to leave your smartphone or iPad. You should pack a USB to USB-C/lightning cable or two along with your phone chargers. 

Consider purchasing an international roaming package with your service provider or getting a local SIM card in Mexico. This might come in handy when searching for the next locations or making phone calls.

On that note, don’t leave yourself exposed and vulnerable on the web. You never know if the hotel or restaurant's Wi-Fi network is safe. A VPN like NordVPN or ExpressVPN can prevent your personal or credit card information from being stolen.

3. Camera and memory cards

Beauty is at every corner of Mexico, and you don’t want to miss a chance to capture it. Photo by Daniel Lerman on Unsplash

The magnificent scenery, historical landmarks, and lively culture of Mexico are all worth photographing. Remember to bring your camera and additional memory cards to take advantage of the numerous photo possibilities.

Make sure you have enough storage capacity to capture all of the great moments. Be aware you might need a lot! Consider bringing a portable camera bag or protective case to keep your camera secure and conveniently accessible.

4. Portable battery pack

Exploring Mexico frequently entails lengthy days jam-packed with activities that might deplete the battery of your electrical gadgets.

Carrying a portable battery pack allows you to recharge your phone, camera, or other gadgets while on the road, especially when no electrical outlet is within sight.

The most popular power bank capacity is 10,000 mAh, which can fully charge a smartphone 2-3 times. And we think this is the sweet spot for mobile devices. Unless you want to use your iPad, in which case we recommend going for 20,000 mAh (but not over that, as you won’t be able to bring it on a plane).

Safety and Security

Unlike the previous categories, it is never too much to talk about this one. Here is a closer look at some crucial aspects:

  • Travel locks
  • Money belt or hidden pouch 
  • Copy of important documents (Copies if you want to be extra careful)
  • Portable flashlight or headlamp
  • Vigilance (Not an item but the most important thing).

>> Read more: Is it safe to travel to Cancun

1. Travel locks and security measures for luggage

To protect your baggage, use strong and dependable travel locks. Spend some extra effort and look for TSA-approved locks that can be opened by airport security without being damaged. This is especially critical if you'll be flying.

Consider utilising baggage straps or cables in addition to locks to offer an extra degree of security. These straps assist in preventing illegal access to your baggage as well as theft while in transit.

CabinZero tips: Learn some basic Spanish such as “Where is the bathroom”, “Hello”, “Thank you”, “I am lost”, etc. A basic grasp of the language may save you in a pinch when you interact with the locals (plus, they’ll love it, showing how you care about them and their culture).

2. Money belt or hidden pouch for valuables

To keep your belongings safe, invest in a high-quality money belt or concealed bag. These inconspicuous accessories are intended to be worn beneath your clothing, making it harder for pickpockets to gain access to your things. Cash, passports, credit cards, and critical papers should be kept in the money belt or concealed pouch.

Maintain their (close) proximity to your body and avoid flaunting your belongings in public. Furthermore, try to blend in and walk and behave confidently. Scammers are less likely to bother with those who don’t look like “easy prey”.

3. Knowledge of local customs and regulations

Familiarising yourself might help enhance the experience. Photo by R.M. Nunes -

Mexico is a rich-culture country. That’s why it is a good idea to take some time before coming to learn about the local customs, traditions, and rules.

Familiarise yourself with cultural norms and customs, such as suitable clothes, demeanour, and social etiquette. For example, the "Dia de los Muertos," or Day of the Dead, is a popular Mexican celebration that takes place on November 1st and 2nd.

Be wary of potential scams or tourist-targeted activities and learn how to spot and prevent them. You can navigate your journey more confidently and enjoy a smoother travel experience this way.

Furthermore, research carefully beforehand (the number one must-do for any traveller or any trip). Look up your country's travel advisory, such as travel state gov or UK gov Foreign travel advice. There are many resources you can explore, such as Reddit, youtube, travel blogs, etc.

Final words 

This would be the end of our Mexico packing list. We hope that it can well cover your needs and help you prepare for your next trip to Mexico.

Of course, your needs and preferences might vary from ours. We are curious about what the differences are, so let us know down below in the comment section.

Now, with your packing list all checked, you are halfway to Mexico. It’s time to prepare your mind to fully experience this. Safe travel, and have a fun holiday!

Bui Hoang Hai

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