Travel Essentials: The Ultimate Cancun Packing List

Cancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a South Moon Under L*Space Bubblegum Pink Ribbed Beach Wave Bikini Top, South Moon Under L*Space Frenchi Bubblegum Pink Ribbed Bikini Bottom, Nordstrom Joanna Straw Hat BRIXTON, and Revolve Number One Karen Walker brand: Karen Walker.

Next week, I’m headed to one of my favorite all-inclusive resorts in Cancun for a much-needed vacation. I know, I know — you’re probably wondering, don’t you go on vacation all the time as a travel blogger?

Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love my job, but travel blogging isn’t exactly relaxing. Behind the scenes, I’m usually working with a jam-packed itinerary, sleeping 4-5 hours a night, and getting up at the crack of dawn to start creating content when I’m on press trips. Plus, you always have to be “on” when interviewing the locals and taking notes for future articles. Again, it’s fun work, but it is work.

For this trip to Cancun, I paid for it out of my own pocket, and there’s not much on the schedule except for eating, drinking, and lounging at the beach. T and I scheduled one day trip, but other than that, our main objective for this trip is to get some R&R!

This is our second visit to our favorite all-inclusive resort in Cancun, and I made a couple of packing errors on our first trip. Learn from my mistakes: here are some packing essentials for your next trip to Cancun!

Cancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a South Moon Under L*Space Bubblegum Pink Ribbed Beach Wave Bikini Top, South Moon Under L*Space Frenchi Bubblegum Pink Ribbed Bikini Bottom, Nordstrom Joanna Straw Hat BRIXTON, and Revolve Number One Karen Walker brand: Karen Walker.

Cancun Packing Essential: Swimsuits

A bit obvious, but I’m assuming you’re visiting Cancun for the beaches or the pools. You’ll want to pack some swimsuits! One tip: at least in my hotel, I found that my swimsuits never thoroughly dried overnight due to the humidity, so the more swimsuits you can pack, the better. The sun is also strong in Cancun, so stick to a classic swimsuit if weird tan lines bother you.

Shop my 2022 Swimsuit Picks:

 
Cancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a white cover up and Revolve Number One Karen Walker brand: Karen Walker.

Cancun Packing Essential: Cover-Ups

Another obvious pick: coverups. If you’re going to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, the restaurants on-site will likely have a dress code. At the all-inclusive we visited, during the day, you were permitted to grab breakfast and lunch in a swimsuit and a coverup. This time around, I’m packing 3-4 coverups for our 7-day stay for a bit more variety.

Shop the Best Coverups for Cancun: 

 

Cancun Packing Essential: Daytime Outfits

One thing we packed too much of for our visit? Daytime outfits. I really thought I’d head to the pool in the morning, shower, get changed, and explore the resort in the afternoon, but that only happened on the very last day of our trip. Instead of exploring the resort in the afternoon, I opted for a nap — being out in the sun all day will zap your energy. And, the margaritas will probably drain you as well.

Depending on what excursions you’ve booked, 1-2 daytime outfits for a week in Cancun is perfectly fine. Denim shorts and a top are my go-to for a casual vacation look, but I also love a good romper or maxi dress for comfort.

Shop my Cancun Daytime Outfits:

 
Excellence Playa Mujeres, ancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman sitting by a lazy river and wearing a pink swim suit and straw hat

Cancun Packing Essential: Hats & Sun Protection Gear

If you’re new here, you know that I love a good hat. One, because it elevates any outfit, and two, it provides some much-needed protection from the sun. Consider packing a straw hat for your pool and beach days in Cancun!

Second: sun protection is essential for everyone. I’ve never had a sunburn in my life, and I plan to keep it that way! If you need extra incentive, wearing sunscreen also prevents signs of aging. Planning on snorkeling or swimming in the ocean? Please opt for a reef-friendly sunscreen. My go-to sunscreen brand is Supergoop: it’s brown-girl friendly, clean, and doesn’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate.

Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day!

Shop my Top Sun Hats for Cancun:

 

Shop my Reef-Friendly Sunscreen Picks:

 
Cancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a Free People Shailee Slip, ShopBop Gorjana Faye Layer Set Necklace, and Moda Operandi Cult Gaia Max Woven Raffia Tote.

Cancun Packing Essential: Dinner Outfits

If you’re headed to Cancun, be aware that resorts have a dress code for dinner. Each resort varies, but for the most part, you’ll want to avoid wearing denim shorts or jeans for dinner and opt for dresses, skirts, or dress pants/shorts. For shoes, you can wear dress sandals, but avoid flip-flops. Leave your hats in the hotel room!

Shop my Top Resort Dress Picks:

 
Cancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing Revolve Number One Karen Walker brand: Karen Walker sunglasses, ShopBop Free People Little Of Your Love Jumpsuit, and Nordstrom Joanna Straw Hat BRIXTON.

Cancun Packing Essential: MISC All-Inclusive Picks

Some other items we found helpful for our Cancun trip were:

Cancun Packing List by popular international travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a Free People Lets Be Friends Midi Dress, Nordstrom Joanna Straw Hat BRIXTON, Revolve Number One Karen Walker brand: Karen Walker, and ShopBop Gorjana Faye Layer Set Necklace.

The Ultimate Cancun Packing List

Carry-On:

  • Passport
  • Bikini and coverup (if you’re getting to the resort during the day)
  • Sandals for pool/beach
  • Books/Magazines/Kindle
  • Prescriptions, over the counter meds & any other personal items
  • Charging cables for electronics
  • Curling Iron/Flat Iron
  • Toiletries
    • Shampoo/conditioner/styling products
    • Face wash/lotion/toners/serums/etc
    • Contact lens solution
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Makeup
  • Bug lotion (probably the most important thing we packed!)
  • Mosquito repellent bracelets (another crucial product for us!)
  • Sunscreen (it’s costly once you get to the hotel!)
  • Extra sets of clothes & underwear (just in case your checked luggage doesn’t make it!)
  • Backup feminine care products (will also be expensive at the hotel)
  • Tip Money (if going to an all-inclusive — make sure to tip! They will accept USD.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip Balm (this one has SPF 20!)
  • Jewelry (Don’t check!)
  • Glasses (if you’re not wearing them on the plane)

Checked Luggage (If Applicable):

  • Swimsuits (lots of them — I brought five and wore every single one of them!)
  • Coverups (I’d recommend at least 2)
  • Dinner outfits (check if your resort has a dress code)
  • Casual Daytime Outfits (Don’t need a ton of these, unless you have excursions planned)
  • Undergarments
  • Pajamas
  • Hats and/or caps
  • Sandals
  • Tote/Beach Bag
  • Small bag/clutch for dinner (you won’t need to carry much!)
  • A Yeti/Tervis type cup to keep drinks cool while in the sun (something we forgot that we thought was pretty crucial. Drinks melt fast during the day! I’m a big fan of Corkcicle!)
  • Small manicure scissors (just in case you need to cut tags/etc.)

Looking for more packing inspo? See how I pack for a long trip here

Photos by Tom McGovern

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1 Comments

  1. Christine wrote:

    Hope you have a wonderful trip! This is super helpful. I had a trip scheduled in October 2020 that got canceled when they got hit with a hurricane, but I’m really hoping to finally make it to Cancun in the near future!

    Posted 1.22.22 Reply