LET’S START PACKING!
Packing for an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean is not a whole lot different than packing for any other resort in the Caribbean minus a few small details. You’ll be able to benefit from this packing list no matter where you plan to stay in Mexico. I brought a carry-on suitcase for clothing and accessories and a large leather laptop tote as my personal item for the use of electronics and small items. This entire list fit into my carry-on and personal tote alone. The Caribbean weather can sometimes be unpredictable, so I recommend every single item (or a variation of it) on the packing list.
Feel free to click on the images in the list to check out what I personally purchased from Amazon for our trip.
- (2) SANDALS: One for the pool or beach that you don’t mind getting scratched or dirty and one for dinner, or a night out.
- WALKING SHOES: Definitely needed for a day out walking or a trip to Tulum or Chichen Itza. Wear these on the plane.
- WATER SHOES!: We own water shoes, but forgot to bring ours so we ended up buying a pair there. If you plan on visiting any of the water parks, cents, or plan on walking around on any tide pools, you’ll want a pair! We ended up paying $30 USD each, when the ones we found at home cost about $7 USD a pair.
- (3) DRESSES: I brought two maxis (1 dressy & 1 casual) and 1 short summer dress.
- (2) SHORTS: I brought one denim, and one dressy.
- (3) TANK TOPS
- (1-2) COTTON TEES
- (1) JEANS: A lightweight or stretchy pair. Wear these on the plane.
- (1-2) CARDIGANS: or a light weight button up or pull over. Wear one on the plane.
- UNDERGARMENTS: Any undergarments you’ll need, such as socks, bras, PJs, undies, undershirts etc for the amount of days you’ll stay. Just keep in mind that you’ll be wearing a bathing suit primarily and you’ll only need your socks and walking shoes a few days at most.
- (2) BEACH COVER UPS: Not a single restaurant or bar will let you in with a bathing suit alone so you’ll need something to wear over your bathing suit from the pool or beach. I brought two basic cover-ups that looked like oversized tee shirts and used only one at the pool for one day. I ended up feeling more comfortable in my short summer dress eating around strangers than a see-through teeshirt so I wish I had left the cover ups at home and brought another short dress in place of it. The cover up is entirely up to your preference whether you choose basic bathing suit coverups or bring an extra summer dress or two, you’ll just need something basic to cover up in.
- (2) BATHING SUITS: I brought two and did ok because we spaced out our beach and pool days with days of activities in between. That being said, if you plan on being at the pool or beach pretty much everyday I would bring 3 so you have a dry one to alternate with.
- SCARF: This is optional but I found that it was nice to have at the beach to cover up my hips while we walked, or to wear over my face or hair while laying out.
TOILETRIES & EXTRAS
- BUG REPELLENT: I cannot emphasize enough that this will be one of the very most important items not to forget! The mosquitos and other little bugs are vicious and you’re going to need it no matter what time of year you are there. We brought a 4 pack of repellent bracelets that worked great for the first few days but ended up not being enough. I would recommend bringing an environment friendly bug repellent oil along with a few bracelets. Mexican natives are really big on keeping the sea and rivers clean so make sure whatever you are putting on and dipping into the water is bio-degradable.
- SUNSCREEN: Just as important as the repellent, don’t forget the sunscreen! The caribbean sun is harsh no matter how tan you already are. I’ve seen some really tan women and men in pure agony because they forgot to put sunscreen on. I didn’t think you could burn over a tan, but it is possible! We brought six 2oz containers of spf 30-50 for the both of us and used almost all of it. One tip to think about; Having to lather on cream in humidity is a pain in the rear! I would advise bringing a spray-on biodegradable spf.
Each of these items (repellent, and sunscreen) can be purchased in most hotels and gift shops throughout the city but it will cost you! 5oz bottles cost anywhere between $13 and $30 USD.
- (2) HATS: Definitely a helpful thing to pack if you are fair skinned or have thin hair. There is nothing worse than a flaking and burned scalp. I am fair with freckles so I brought two. I had a cute little fedora for walking around in and a nice big floppy hat for the beach and pool. I wore the fedora on the plane and packed my floppy within the clothes in my bag. The trick to packing a floppy hat is to fold a few pieces of clothing then lay your hat down like you would place it on your head then build more folded or rolled clothes around it and this will keep it from losing its shape.
- (2) SUNGLASSES: I recommend a couple cheap pairs because you’re bound to lose to break a pair, and I’m sure you’d hate for that pair to be your lovely Michael Kors. I brought two cheap swap-meet pairs and I did end up breaking one so I was glad they were cheap and that I had a back up. The vendors do sell glasses and hats all over, so if you break or lose a pair it isn’t the end of the world. You can find a cheap replacement for about $6-15 USD.
- TUMBLER CUPS: All inclusive resorts do provide drinks all day everyday but the cups are thin plastic and really small. If you want to have an iced drink like a pina colada, iced tea, or even beer that puppy is going to melt in 15 seconds flat outdoors.Not to mention with their size you’ll be hoofing it back and forth from the bar all day. We brought our own 24oz tumblers and SO glad we did. Not only did it keep our drinks cold, but we only had to refill once while on the beach for the day. The staff absolutely does not mind filling up your cups from home so don’t worry about bringing your own cup up to the bar.
- BEACH BAG: You’ll need one that is big enough and sturdy enough to carry a couple beach towels, books and magazines, sunscreen and sunglasses, etc. without letting any sand in.
- MEDICINE: I highly advise these medicines from home even if you don’t think that you’ll need them. The comforted feeling of having your own medicines that you know by name and not having to shell out $20 at the stores will give you peace of mind, especially if Montezuma’s Revenge creeps up on you!
-Tums or Pepto Bismal
-Aloe Vera Gel
-Benadryl or allergy medication.
-Tylenol or IBProfin
-Multi Vitamin or something with Vitamin C in case of diarrhea.
- COSMETICS: Ladies, don’t bring your entire make up kit. I know you want to look your best, but save the room. I am a makeup buff myself and love my smash box but with the heat and humidity and that newly acquired tan you’re not going to need or want all of it. Here is what I brought:
-Mascara & Eyeliner
-Brow tint and brush
-Tinted lip balm
-Nail Polish & Remover (touch ups after the beach and fun to do at the pool)
- BATHROOM ITEMS: Bring your normal hygiene items with these recommendations in mind:
-Don’t overload on shampoo because the resorts have it.
-Don’t forget your razor if you’re there more than a few days.
-Hair spray and sea salt spray will be your best friend.
-You can find a few nice travel sets at a Dollar Tree or 99 cent store that are perfect for beauty items.
-Use a travel squeeze bottle or empty hand sanitizer to fill up with toothpaste instead of bringing an entire tube.
INSIDE MY TOTE
- FIRST AID KIT: Simple small box with items like bandaids, burn cream, antibiotic cream, and gauze.
- POWER BANK: My main source for taking pictures was on my iPhone so having this for the day trips to Chichen Itza or Tulum was helpful to power up our devices so I could keep taking pictures. The power bank I purchased (picture below) will charge your iPhone fully 4 times before needing to re-charge.
- CELL, CHARGER, & WATER COVER: The water cover is necessary if you’re going to take pictures with your cell phone at the beach or water parks. Its essentially a zip lock pouch that keeps the water out of your cell phone so you can romp around and not worry about water damage. There are vendors ALL over selling these pouches for $20-30 USD a pop, but I found this one online for $10 bucks and it works so well!
- GO PRO HERO: (or action camera) We brought this mainly for Xcaret to take under water pictures but we used our iPhones for the rest of the trip.
- TRAVEL PILLOW & SLEEPING MASK
- READING MATERIAL: I brought a book, a few magazines and an adult coloring book. These items are nice to have for the flight but also fun for the lazy pools days.
- PASSPORT: Don’t forget your passport! You’ll also probably want to have a nice cover for it so it doesn’t get ruined. I bought this nice wallet before the trip that is so slim it fits just about anywhere. I actually use it as a regular wallet now!
OTHER PACKING TIPS:
- Purchase a couple packing cubes to consolidate your clothing. This will help tremendously with fitting everything into your carry on luggage.
- Purchase a few of those electronic reusable twist ties to help control your electronic cords inside your bags. They are way more sturdy than garbage bag twist ties and you can keep using them again and again.
- If you want to take home any liquid items such as tequila or hot sauce as souvenirs from Mexico be prepared to bring an extra bag with you to “check” on the plane ride back.
ITEMS TO LEAVE BEHIND!
- Laptop (Use your smart phone or tablet, wifi sucks in the hotels anyway)
- Umbrellas (The resorts have them)
- Apple Watches or Smart Watches (It won’t work away from the hotel and you wouldn’t want to lose it. Bring a cheap water proof watch if you need a one)
- Expensive Jewelry or Sunglasses (I even left my wedding ring at home, it would be devastating to lose something in the water.)
- Entire Make-Up kits
- Suits or Overly dressy attire
- Dressy Shoes or Heels (Everyone is wearing sandals, even in the night clubs.)
- Beach Towels. (The hotels will provide free fresh towels to you all day long so you aren’t going to need to waste space in your case.)