What to Pack for Mexico: A Complete Checklist | Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure / Marcus Millan

Mexico has a lot to offer — in fact, it’s kind of the perfect country to spend a vacation no matter what kind of traveler you are. Looking to immerse yourself in delicious street food and fine art? Head to Mexico City. In search of a high-end beach town to bum around on the beach and indulge in cocktails? Book a resort in Cabo San Lucas. Prefer to spend your time hiking and camping in the wilderness? Barranca del Cobre it is.

Mexico is massive and, as such, there’s tons to keep you occupied (or foster a sense of relaxation) in all corners of the country. If you are planning a multi-destination trip through Mexico, though, you’ll want to pack carefully. With so much to do, you’ll need to ensure you have a little of everything required to make it from city to resort town and everywhere in between.

Packing Checklist for Mexico

This guide will help make sure you’ve packed everything you’ll need for a trip to Mexico, factoring in all kinds of activities and climates. Read on to get a grasp on everything you might not know you need for a fruitful and fun trip.


Best Swimsuit for Men: Vuori Banks ShortBest Swimsuit for Women: Andie The Amalfi LTBest Dress: Quince Tencel Jersey Fit and Flare DressBest Collared Shirt for Men: Amazon Essentials Men’s Regular-fit Quick-dry Golf Polo ShirtBest Shorts for Men: Rhone Resort ShortsBest Shorts for Women: Everlane The Easy ShortBest Cover-up: Venus Tassel Jumpsuit Cover-up


Best Flip-flops for Men: Reef Men’s Voyage Le Flip-flopBest Flip-flops for Women: Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea Flip-flopBest Dressy Sandals: Steve Madden Women’s Irenee Heeled SandalBest Dress Shoes for Men: Cole Haan Men’s Original Grand Shortwing Oxford Shoe

Bags and Accessories

Best Beach Tote: L.L. Bean Boat and Tote BagBest Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer SunglassesBest Sun Hat: San Diego Hat Company Women’s Ribbon Braid HatBest Daypack: Osprey Daylite DaypackBest Wrap: Achillea Large Soft Silky Pashmina Shawl Wrap


Best Water Bottle: LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Water Filter SystemBest Bug Repellent: Sawyer Products Picaridin Insect RepellentBest Waterproof Phone Case: LifeProof Waterproof CaseBest Neck Wallet: Lewis N. Clark RFID Blocking Stash Neck Wallet

“Beach towns in Mexico are very casual and you will probably be spending the majority of your time in a swimsuit. In towns like Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum, it’s not uncommon to see visitors out and about wearing minimal clothing like shorts, tank tops, and crop tops,” explains Allison Sicking, founder of Viva La Travelista.

“You’ll want to pack for the heat and humidity by bringing light, breathable clothing and natural fabrics like cotton and linen. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester and nylon as they tend to absorb sweat and stick to your skin. Bring shorts, tops, skirts, and coverups that you can mix and match, as well as lightweight sundresses for day trips or dinner al fresco.”

When visiting beach towns, it’s also unlikely that you will need to bring jeans, as the temperatures are warm all year round, and may only occasionally drop during the winter months. Long pants can be worn in the evening as some resorts may have a dressier dinner dress code and require long pants for men. Keep in mind that you’ll want to pack items that can serve as both resort wear and city-appropriate attire if you’ll be traveling into Mexico City, too.

Best Swimsuit for Men

Vuori Banks Short



View On Vuoriclothing.com

If you’re planning on traveling light, a good pair of shorts that can double as swimwear should be on your radar. The Vuori Banks Short ticks off all the right boxes and then some when it comes to garments that work double duty; it’s casual but stylish enough to wear to museums in the city come daytime or even to dinner on a resort. That said the recycled plastic material is also designed to be worn into the ocean or pool as swim trunks. This pair is quick-drying so you don’t have to worry about dealing with a drippy or mildew-ladened swimwear hanging in your bathroom, and it also comes in a huge variety of colorways to best suit your style.

Price at time of publish: $68

Best Swimsuit for Men

Andie The Amalfi



View On Andieswim.com

The best swimsuit for your trip will depend upon a few things but if you’re planning on squeezing in both adventure travel and resort days, you might want to opt for a classic one-piece swimsuit like this one from Andie. The Amalfi LT is equipped with adjustable straps for comfortable support and a medium leg and bottom cut that won’t ride up while you’re paddleboarding or jet skiing. We love that this suit comes available in over 14 colorways and patterns to suit your style and we also appreciate that it’s available in sizes XXS to XXXL. You can choose between the classic length or “long torso” fit if you’re taller than average and find swimwear often too short for your body type.

Price at time of publish: $98

The 8 Best One-piece Swimsuits of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best Dress

Quince Tencel Jersey Fit & Flare Dress


View On Onequince.com

Traveling in Mexico tends to be synonymous with really good weather (excluding hurricane season and chilly CDMX winters, of course). You’ll want to ensure you have ample garments that’ll be comfortable to wear in the sun and heat. The Quince Tencel Jersey Fit and Flare Dress is a particularly good option for something that’ll work for both resort wear and city dressing but we also really like that it’s crafted from a soft and light Tencel cotton material that’s moisture-wicking and quick drying. Oh, and did we mention this dress also comes equipped with pockets? The gold standard of dresses.

Price at time of publish: $40

Best Collared Shirt for Men

Amazon Essentials Men’s Regular-fit Quick-dry Golf Polo Shirt


View On Amazon

The Amazon Essentials Men’s Regular-fit Quick-dry Golf Polo Shirt is technically designed for the golf course (which is great if you plan on golfing in Mexico!) but the fabrication and design make it an equally great option to have on hand for evening wear at the resort or for museum-hopping in the city. The lightweight material is moisture-wicking and quick-drying so you won’t have to worry about getting sweaty while on the go. This polo is also crafted with UPF 50 fabric that’ll keep you protected from the strong rays of sun, too. We also like that this option comes in nearly 50 different colorways and patterns to choose from.

Price at time of publish: $19

Best Shorts for Men

Rhone Resort Shorts


View On NordstromView On BloomingdalesView On Moosejaw.com

If you’re planning to stay at a five-star resort or you’re spending most of your time in the city come summertime, you’ll want to plan to pack a decent pair of shorts that don’t look as though you’ve just come in from a day on the beach. The Rhone Resort Shorts tick off the right boxes when it comes to put-together vacation dressing thanks to the slim fit and above-the-knee cut as well as the built-in belt loops. These shorts, although they look sophisticated and city-ready, are also quick-drying and breathable so you won’t get too hot or stuffy even under the sun.

Price at time of publish: $98

Best Shorts for Women

Everlane The Easy Short


View On Everlane.com

There’s a reason Everlane named this one the Easy Short. This classic neutral pair is designed to be dressed up or down thanks to the pared-down silhouette and comfortable (but not too short) length. The shorts are made with a cotton material that’s breathable and lightweight with just enough spandex to give them a little bit of wiggle room (that’ll probably be much appreciated after a day of indulging in resort cocktails or street food). The elastic waistband and pull-on style also makes this one a great no-fuss solution that won’t look out of place in the city or while lounging at a resort.

Price at time of publish: $58

Best Cover-up

Venus Tassel Jumpsuit Cover-up


View On Venus.com

The Venus Tassel Jumpsuit Cover-up is another one of those things that’ll serve multiple purposes throughout your trip to Mexico. Of course, it’s designed to serve as comfy resort wear and can easily be worn on the beach or into the hotel restaurant come lunchtime, but the stylish jumpsuit cut can just as easily be worn into the city as a full look. You can even pair it with a denim jacket and heels for a perfectly appropriate style for the city. It’s also worth noting that this jumpsuit is crafted from a super lightweight viscose material that won’t leave you feeling sweaty or stuffy even if you’re lazing in the sun on the beach or running around town in the heat.

Price at time of publish: $49


When it comes to shoes, be sure to bring sandals and flip-flops, comfortable walking shoes, and a pair of water shoes for excursions. “High heels can be worn around the resort but can be more difficult to walk in if you plan to go out in the town centers, which can have uneven terrain or cobblestone streets. It’s typically best to stick to dressy sandals, wedges, or platform shoes,” explains Sicking.

Best Flip-flops for Men

Reef Men’s Voyage Le Flip Flop



View On AmazonView On ZapposView On Reef.com

You could probably get away with your old pair of rubber flip-flops if you’re planning on sticking by the resort pool for most of your vacation — but if you’re heading into the city or planning to stay at a more upscale resort, it might be worth investing in a more polished pair of sandals. The Reef Men’s Voyage Le Flip-Flop is an ideal combination of comfort and cool without weighing you down or resulting in clammy feet throughout the day. We also really like that this option is waterproof and durable so you don’t have to baby them while on the beach or by the pool.

Price at time of publish: $70

The 14 Best Flip-flops for Men and Women of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best Flip-flops for Women

Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea Flip Flop



View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Beallsflorida.com

It doesn’t matter if you love them or hate them, there’s no denying the casual convenience of a good pair of flip-flops while traveling to warm weather destinations. The Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea Flip-Flop is a slightly more elevated take on the classic rubber sandal; it features a lightweight sole that won’t strain your feet as well as a slight heel and rubber cushioning to give a little bit more arch support than the average flip-flop does. The EVA footbed also helps absorb shock — which can be particularly helpful when putting in steps on hard city sidewalks or marble museum floors.

Price at time of publish: $55

Best Dressy Sandals

Steve Madden Women’s Irenee Heeled Sandal

Steve Madden

View On AmazonView On ZapposView On Macy’s

Sure, flip-flops are comfortable and you can totally get away with wearing them for daytime activities but if you’re planning on spending any amount of time in five-star restaurants or hanging out in the city, it might be smart to pack a pair of dressy sandals that can work both on and off the resort as well as in more upscale spots across Mexico. The Steve Madden Women’s Irenee Heeled Sandal is a great option for wearing in warm-weather destinations where you don’t want to look underdressed but also don’t want to worry about packing your stilettos. The dressy sandal is made from 100 percent leather for a sophisticated aesthetic but the bottom is crafted entirely from an anti-slip rubber which is not just comfortable but also ideal if you’re going to be walking on slippery surfaces like the pool deck.

Price at time of publish: $80

Best Dress Shoes for Men

Cole Haan Men’s Original Grand Shortwing Oxford Shoe


View On Amazon

Dress shoes might not be the most comfortable on a hot summer day but the Cole Haan Men’s Original Grand Shortwing Oxford Shoes are still going to be your best bet if you’re planning on spending time at a luxe resort or trekking the city streets. The wing-tipped oxford is formal without being too stuffy so you can easily get away with wearing it during the day or into the evening. It also features an EVA midsole that is designed to be shock-absorbing while also providing enough support for a full day’s wear. This option is also water-resistant so you won’t have to worry about sudden showers or avoiding the pool deck.

Price at time of publish: $77

Bags and Accessories

“Unfortunately petty theft is not uncommon in Mexico so it’s important to always keep your valuables close to you at all times,” says Sicking. “A belt bag or neck wallet is the perfect way to store items like money, credit cards, and your phone while you are out and about.”

“What most people don’t realize is that Mexico is a large country with many different climates so it’s important to research the specific area you will be visiting to better understand the weather conditions and know what items to pack,” adds Sicking. This may mean packing polarized sunglasses and a sun hat everyday, or it could be packing a foldable wrap in your backpack for cooler evenings.

Best Beach Tote

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag


L.L. Bean

View On ZapposView On L.L.Bean

A durable beach bag is always going to be a good investment — and the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag really takes the cake in terms of durability to price ratio. The large tote is crafted from a durable canvas that has been reinforced at the base and the seams to ensure you won’t have to deal with any part of the bag giving out while you’re on the go. We also really like that this one is made entirely in the USA using earth-friendly material that is built to last for decades. It’s available in a classic tan with either red, blue, or black straps.

Price at time of publish: $40 for large

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Best Sunglasses

Ray-Ban RB2140 Original Wayfarer Classic Sunglasses


View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Asos

You can never go wrong with the Ray-ban Original Wayfarer Sunglasses; this classic style is timeless and can easily transcend pretty much any occasion or sartorial choice. We really like that these sunglasses are crafted from a lightweight plastic frame that won’t feel heavy on the face. They also don’t have rubber nose pieces that could cause irritation around your nose if you’re wearing your sunglasses in the heat all day long. The only thing to keep in mind about this option is that it’s non-polarized so if you’re planning on wearing your sunglasses in the water or on a boat, you might want to opt for the polarized lens instead.

Price at time of publish: $163

Best Sun Hat

San Diego Hat Company Women’s Ribbon Braid Hat


View On Amazon

Have you ever gotten a sunburn on the top of your head? (Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds.) That’s why we’re huge advocates for a decent sun hat like this one from San Diego Hat Company. It features UPF 50+ protection which blocks approximately 98 percent of the sun’s rays. The brim is also exceptionally wide which adds a dose of Old Hollywood style but also effectively keeps the sun out of your eyes without having to reach for your sunglasses. We like that this option is super lightweight and provides adequate ventilation so you won’t have to worry about your hair getting sweaty or getting too hot under your hat.

Price at time of publish: $30

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Best Daypack

Osprey Daylite Daypack


View On AmazonView On REIView On Backcountry.com

A daypack is going to be one of the best things to have in your arsenal while traveling through Mexico, or really anywhere that requires you to have things like sunscreen and bug spray with you. The Osprey Daylite Daypack is designed to be compact enough that you can easily sling it over your shoulder without adding bulk like a regular backpack but roomy enough to fit all your gear and essentials you’ll need for the day. We also really like that the back and the straps are made from a breathable mesh so you won’t have to deal with any potential back sweat situations.

Price at time of publish: $65

Best Wrap

Achillea Large Soft Silky Pashmina Shawl Wrap


View On Amazon

Traveling with a shawl or wrap is one of those life hacks that you won’t go back from. Most wraps are very light and pack down extremely small so they won’t take up any space in your suitcase or handbag but they come in handy in more ways than one while on the go. The temperatures can drop in Mexico at night which means a wrap like this one from Achillea might be necessary to keep your shoulders warm during lingering late-night margaritas on the patio. The pashmina material and minimal design will allow you to pair it with your casual beachwear but also with the more formal attire you might wear on fancier nights out.

Price at time of publish: $25


There’s a fair bit of gear to consider depending on where you’ll be heading in Mexico. We strongly recommend packing OTC medicines if you’re prone to getting an upset stomach as well as a filtered water bottle (as it’s not recommended to drink tap water in most areas of the country). You’ll also want to consider things like bug spray and environmentally-friendly sunscreen, especially if you’re spending any time on the beach or by the pool.

Best Water Bottle

Lifestraw Peak Series Collapsible Water Filter System


View On AmazonView On REIView On Cabelas.com

In most cases, tap water in Mexico isn’t safe to drink and should be avoided. That’s why we strongly recommend investing in a LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Water Filter System to bring with you on your journey. This super convenient water bottle filters 99.999999 percent of bacteria and parasites from water sources so you don’t have to worry about accidentally getting an upset stomach while on vacation. We also like the soft-sided design of this option which is easy to squish into smaller-sized backpacks and daypacks. The durable material won’t melt or rip even with heavy use and the screw-top cap prevents any leakage from occurring as well.

Price at time of publish: $44

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Best Bug Repellent

Sawyer Products Picaridin Insect Repellent


View On WalmartView On Basspro.comView On Dick’s

The Sawyer Products Picaridin Insect Repellent reigns supreme in our books when it comes to travel-friendly bug protection. It’s safe enough to use on little kids but also protects efficiently against ticks, mosquitos, stable flies, and sand flies among others. The DEET-free formula isn’t as offensive as stronger repellents — in fact, it’s totally fragrance-free — and won’t damage your clothes or gear. The only downside is that this container won’t pass through security in your carry-on so, if you aren’t checking a bag, you might want to consider siphoning your spray into a reusable (and TSA-approved) bottle.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best Waterproof Phone Case

LifeProof FRĒ SERIES Waterproof Case for iPhone 13


View On Amazon

The LifeProof Waterproof Case is going to be a major game changer for anyone who likes to take their phone out on the boat or paddle board. It’s slightly more expensive than the average waterproof phone case or water bag but it’s going to be fully functional while in use. This means you can easily text or snap photos while on the water without the struggle of trying to get your phone to work in the confines of thick plastic. It’s available in three different colorways to best suit your style and we also really like that it’s made with 65 percent recycled material.

Price at time of publish: $100

Best Neck Wallet

Lewis N. Clark RFID Blocking Neck Stash Wallet


View On Amazon

Unfortunately, like many other tourist hot spots around the world, you’ll want to watch out for pickpockets and thieves while exploring crowded places around Mexico. We recommend the Lewis N. Clark RFID Blocking Stash Neck Wallet which is discreet and easy to tuck into your shirt but large enough to comfortably store everything you’ll need for the day. It has a ton of pockets and zippered compartments to store your gear and make it even more challenging for thieves to get in and grab your goods. This pick also features RFID-blocking material if you’re extra concerned about your credit card or passport getting compromised in a crowd.

Price at time of publish: $20

Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the weather like in Mexico?

The weather in Mexico is diverse and really depends on where you are, and the time of year. It’s worth noting that the southern part of the country is relatively close to the Equator, for example, so you’ll want to ensure you have adequate sun protection available. Certain parts of the country — particularly on the coasts — also experience a rain and hurricane season from around May through November.

What should I wear in Mexico?

Mexico is no more conservative than the U.S. or Canada so you can pretty much plan to wear the gear and clothing you would at home. Keep in mind that the sun in certain parts of Mexico can be quite a bit more intense than in the states so bring along things like sun hats and UPF clothing to help keep you safe from too much exposure. You’ll also want to consider bringing multi-purpose items of clothing if you plan to spend time both on and off the resort; things like collared shirts and dresses are easy to dress up and down as needed.

What safety precautions should I take in Mexico?

There are a few safety precautions you’ll want to keep in mind while traveling to Mexico. The first thing to keep in mind is to pack adequate sunscreen and bug protection. The sun is stronger in Mexico than it is in the U.S. and even if you think you’re used to the sun, you might burn. It’s also vital to plan for potential stomach issues due to the bacteria in a lot of the water. While many major resorts offer filtered water, we still suggest bringing OTC medication as a precaution while also ensuring you have some sort of water filtration system (like the LifeStraw) while on the go. Finally, like with any major tourist hotspot, you’ll want to make sure you keep your money tucked away in busy areas. It might also be worth leaving expensive items like fine jewelry or designer handbags at home.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Kaitlyn McInnis used her experience as a full-time travel writer to curate the best options to suit most needs. She also consulted Allison Sicking, Mexico travel expert and founder of Viva La Travelista.

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Edited byMorgan Ashley Parker Morgan Ashley ParkerMorgan Ashley Parker is a Senior Commerce Editor at Travel + Leisure where she scopes out the best travel bags and accessories, plus works on product recommendations, reviews, and roundups. She has been writing and editing lifestyle content since 2007, traveling since birth, and shopping since she earned her first allowance.learn more

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