I recently headed to Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico for my bachelorette party. I have several blog posts that talk about all the activities we did, where we stayed etc, but this post is primarily going to be focused on what we all packed, what we forgot to pack but still needed, and what stuff you can just pick up while there. For a short trip, it is important to keep yourself from overpacking; we were only there for 5 days so, like usual, I tried to fit everything into a carry-on and this packing list will assume you are too!
How to Approach Packing
Located on the tip of the Yucutan Peninsula, Cancún is a popular travel destination! This tropical oasis has something for everyone, whether you’re a beach bum, a casual vacationer, a luxury traveler, or spring breakers. Because of it’s location, it’s generally both hot and humid year-round. Throughout our whole trip it was never below 82°, granted we went in June but on average it rarely goes below 70s, especially during the summer. Despite having lived in Texas and Oklahoma, my years in the Pacific Northwest has dulled my tolerance for humidity so it took a few days to adjust to the smothering feeling of just existing outside. Thankfully, having access to a pool and a nearby beach made it easy to stay cool!
Consider what time of year you’re looking to go and what activities you’re planning on doing before packing.
WET SEASON: From May-October the weather in Cancún tends to actually be hotter and more humid than during the dry season. Hurricane season in the Yucatan takes up a portion of that, running from June-November, meaning that there’s a higher likelihood of storms (tropical depressions, cyclones, & hurricanes) during those months. This is also when ‘sargassum season’ or ‘seaweed season’ is (March-June) for Cancún so expect to see the beaches covered in it.
DRY SEASON: From December-April, vacationers will find cooler temperatures with lower humidity levels.
- Passport/Travel Documents – this obviously goes without saying, but bring all the necessary papers and forms for international travel. I also always make a photo copy and take a picture of my passport in case it gets lost or stolen while on the trip.
- Travel Insurance – things can always go wrong on a trip so it’s better to be prepared! I just barely missed a tropical cyclone on my trip, there were dozens of cancelled flights and issues with upgrades etc, so I’m very glad I purchased travel insurance!
- Cash – there’s a lot of potential for scams when using cards abroad, I personally got overcharged taking a taxi from the airport to the airbnb but didn’t realize it until we took a ride back to the airport and it cost half as much. While a lot of places accept cards, with wifi being spotty some vendors prefer pesos for purchases so I’d recommend always keeping 1000+ on hand if possible (for reference 1000 pesos = $50 USD)
- Credit Card(s) – when choosing between a debit and credit card while traveling, always opt for credit. Not only is it easier to process, but if you are scammed or double charged your company can work with you to get it back a lot easier than the bank will (not saying it’s impossible, but personally I’ve just found it easier). Also, ApplePay is hit or miss, one of my friends forgot his wallet at home and we had consistent problems with ApplePay disconnecting or erroring out mid-transaction, so a physical card is better.
- Filtered Water Bottle – I’m sure you’ve heard that tap water in Mexico isn’t the safest to drink. Sure, you can buy bottled water at hotels or mercados (markets/shops) but in case you’re out and about or don’t have easy access, having something like this on hand can be helpful! You can also look into Water Purification Tablets too!
- Sunscreen – The sun in Mexico is INTENSE! You shouldn’t be putting on anything less than SPF 50 and always remember to reapply. Since the skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive than your body, I normally recommend using two different kinds. Some of my favorites are:
- Bug Spray – If you follow me on Instagram then you know how much mosquitoes love me, well in Mexico insects are everywhere! I would recommend seeking an eco-friendly bug spray if you can, but if the bugs find you no matter what then get the hard stuff (DEET lol)
- Pens – This may seem like a random one, but when we were entering Mexico and had to fill out our customs paperwork, people were fighting over pens because the flight crew didn’t have enough! I always keep 2-3 pens and a pencil or two in my bag when I travel.
- First Aid Kit – I know I’m weird, but I never travel without a basic first aid / medical kit. This one is a favorite and comes with a lot of essentials, plus it fits easily in most bags/backpacks.
For the most part you’ll likely be keeping things casual from a fashion standpoint. Most people in Cancún are rocking shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops. Personally I brought a few sun dresses that were a little dressier for when we went out to each dinner at nicer restaurants. Also, unless you’re planning on living next to the pool or on the sand the entire time, be sure to bring a solid pair of sneakers in case you decide to go explore some of the Mayan Ruins or want to walk about town.
Some things you should bring:
- Bathing Suits
- Swimsuit coverup
- Sunglasses (more than 1 pair in case a rogue ocean wave takes them as payment for use of it haha)
- A cute sun hat
- Sneakers / Walking shoes
I’ve linked some of my favorites below!
Here are some of the extras / accessories that are a great idea to pack but not necessary for your trip. I normally pack some variation of these for each of my trip, both for plane travel and for use on the ground!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. This is at no extra cost to you and all products linked are ones I use personally and/or paid for myself
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