¡Hola! y feliz “hump”. Didja catch that? 😉 One thing they don’t tell you is how stinking hard it is to transition back to normalcy after a “workweek” in Cancun. (Missed the trip recap? See what we did, where we stayed, and why the heck we were in Mexico in the first place in this post here!)
The first time I visited Mexico (which was also the first time in a long time and the second time ever that I was out of the USA), I was feeling a little lost as to what to pack. I had the beach basics down, but Mexico…that’s not just a beach. There’s a literal JUNGLE, and there’s a lot to consider when staying at a luxurious all-inclusive resort that’s a lot different than a week with the fam at the Jersey shore. #BeenThereDoneThat. I’m definitely that girl who always forgets soooomething; on the honeymoon I was stealing my hubby’s hoody to lounge around in, and on this trip I was stealing Sarah’s everything, from her ridiculously cute floppy hat to her bobby pins and key card to Secrets. What are interns for, amiright?! 😉
SO, I whipped together a few lists here for ya: What to pack for Mexico (or insert-tropical-resort-destination-of-your-choice), what NOT to pack, and what you’ll probably FORGET to pack but really shouldn’t.
What to pack:
- SUNSCREEN!!!!! Or else you’ll burn. Badly.
- Multiple swimsuits. Mexico is HUMID. Simply hanging a suit over the balcony to try overnight won’t do the trick. Suck it up and stock up on swimsuits before jetting down south.
- Cash. Cash is *essential* for negotiating prices of anything off-resort!
- Bug spray. Did I mention Mexico has a lotta jungle?! Not everything is jungle, obvi, but if you plan to do any cool excursions off-resort (which you so totally should!), chances are you might be in an area where the mosquitoes are a-buzzin’. Don’t risk getting bit by some exotic bug. Not worth it.
- Hand sanitizer. *Especially* since water off-resort isn’t guaranteed to be clean if it’s not pre-bottled.
- Sneakers. Think excursions! Mayan ruins are not to be trekked in flip flops.
- Nice “resortwear.” Lotsa resorts – including Secrets, where Sar and I just stayed – have restaurants on site that are already included with your stay. #Bless. They also have dress codes…that they enforce. A guy on our trip was actually denied entrance to a restaurant because he was wearing a short-sleeve henley top instead of something with a collar! Dress it up, and don your resortwear for the occasion. And what the heck constitutes “resortwear,” Erica?!
- For the girls: Longer maxi dresses, wedges, dresses or skirts that end right above your knee or below – no skintight bodycons here!
- For the guys: Collared shirts (they can be short sleeve – heck, they should be!), pants/shorts that come below the knee
- Tylenol/Motrin. When in Mexico…margaritas are a-flowin’. Headaches don’t have to be. 😉
- After-sun moisturizer. Sunburn ain’t cute, yo.
- Lip balm. Neither are chapped lips.
- Sunglasses. If you go to the sunny shores of Cancun, Mexico without sunglasses, I should be allowed to take your place. HA.
- Passport. Make sure you get yo’ passport in advance! Sarah had to get hers ahead of time since this was her first time outta the USA. Call your office to make sure you’re taking processing time into account – it’s important!
What you’ll most likely forget to pack (but really shouldn’t!):
- Sock bun donut. Y’all. Mexico is humid as HECK. There is absolutely *zero* reason and/or need to do anything to your hair other than throw it up somehow cute, because whether you’re curling, straightening, beach-waving…it’s just gonna turn into a big ball o’ frizz the second you leave your bathroom anyways. This time around, being the middle of January, it was WIIIIIIINDY and rainy two days in a row. I tried a cute curled side ponytail one night and had some hair out…nope. Nope nope nope. Just blew all over my fave and everywhere else and required a tight pullback shortly thereafter. Stick with the sock bun.
- Sweater/cardigan for dinners. Restaurants might have AC, but you also just might need something on your shoulders if it gets cooler at night. Largely depends on the time of year you’re visiting! For us in mid-January, it was in the 70’s during the day some days and down to the 60’s at night, where something covering arms was v. necessary.
- Sweats for your room. Yup, Mexico is hot. But resort rooms are typically SO DANG COLD. I was perpetually freezing in ours and needing to play with the thermostat!
- Cash – particularly singles! I don’t remember the last time I intentionally got cash…I just try to rock plastic as often as possible. HA. But like I mentioned earlier, you NEED cash if you’re wanting to get best deals anywhere off resort! The second someone spots plastic, they’re going to automatically upcharge you a higher price because they *know* you’ve got more. Whereas if you pull out a bill and it’s all you have, you’ve got more negotiating power when you’re perusing little street vendors and shops.
- Small umbrella. Again, bless up for Sarah. This godsend of an intern remembered an umbrella. We didn’t actually use it, but it did rain two days in a row! We just chose to lounge around ordering room service cheese plates and tacos all day instead. #TheLife
- Pepto Bismol. #RealTalk…you might need it. Besides the fact that you *might* have an issue if you drink any less-than-clean water, you might also have an issue eating any fruits or veggies washed by said water, and/or just from food being prepared a different way than what you’re typically used to.
- A small backpack. Use as your carry-on or personal item on the plane, if necessary! Super helpful, especially for any excursions off-resort which may be more active (tours of the ruins, ziplining, etc)
- Turn on roaming data for your phone. I totally forgot this, which meant no service for extended periods of time whenever off-resort. I personally welcomed the change since it forced me to NOT be plugged in, but when you’re BFFs with your mama and forget to text her that you landed safe and sound in Mexico…#whoops
- A more modest swimsuit coverup. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about a good see-through sarong. But when it comes to all-inclusives, oftentimes any sort of on-resort eatery has a dress code. If you get hungry midday and wanna just hop out of the pool and hop right over to the grill a few feet away, they won’t let you in without appropriate coverage. We spontaneously grabbed margaritas and nachos at the poolside grill and ended up hanging out for a few hours and being serenaded by a mariachi band.
- A few Band-aids. While there, we watched a drunk guy completely faceplant when he mistakenly misstepped in the infiniti pool. Womp. Hilarious to see, but not hilarious for the poor guy whose knee was all beat up afterwards. To avoid having the whole Mexican on-site paramedic team called in, have a few on hand just in case!
- A few Zip-loc baggies. Good anytime you have something wet that needs transporting.
- Water shoes. Whether for in the water or on excursions, you never knew you needed water shoes until traveling to Mexico. On our honeymoon I wished I had them during an excursion in the famous cenotes – underwater caves that you can raft and swim in, that have natural rocks jutting out everywhere.
- A waterproof phone case. Granted, mine I first bought AT an excursion so that I was able to Snapchat ziplining through waterfalls – #priorities. Really tho, I’m ALL for putting down the phone and just being in the moment as often as possible, but I am actually SO glad that I video taped that experience, because I can go back and instantly mentally transport to our honeymoon in a second now! The cases they sold were *phenomenal* and I could’ve full-on snorkeled with my iPhone if I wanted to without losing touch-screen capabilities. Technology amiright?!
DON’T bother bringing:
- Hair styling tools. Sorry chicas, but leave the curling wands and flat irons and blow dryers at home and save space for duty-free tequila instead. 😉 With the humidity, I curled my entire head of hair and it lost curl almost INSTANTANEOUSLY upon stepping outside.
- Too many shoes. Stick with your flip-flops/pool shoes, a pair of sneaks, and a pair of wedges/heels. You’ll likely be barefoot by the pool or on the sand from sunup to sundown anyways!
- A lot of jewelry. Don’t wear anything out into the gulf, and just leave the expensive bling at home! Chances are you’ll spend as *much* time as possible soaking up sun before heading inside to get ready for dinner, and you’ll want to lean more minimalistic.
- Beach towels, linens, etc. Resorts always have fresh errrrrrthang out for you. Secrets actually had fresh beach towels rolled up ready to go on each and every chair at the pool and on the beach! #bless
- Food, snacks, drinks. Unless you have a sort of allergy or food requirements that absolutely require you to BYO, take advantage of the whole all-inclusive spiel!
- Travel guides/books. The concierges are SO GOOD at helping you plan your trips as soon as you get there – they know the real deal! Secrets has a whole team to help out, and the resort that J and I stayed at for our honeymoon had the same. Save the luggage space!
Have you ever been to Mexico, or any all-inclusive resort for that matter?
Would you agree/disagree with my lists above? What would you add to any of ’em? If you’re a seasoned vacationer, first off, take me with ya next time, mkay? Second, drop yo’ travel wisdom in a comment below…we’re all dreaming of a tropical vacay!
Lastly, here are few of my travel favorites, for anyone else with a bit of sunshine wanderlust right about now. 😉