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What to pack for Cancun
You’ve booked your Cancun vacation, and you’re counting down the days to sunny days and cold margaritas. Now, you need to decide what to pack for Cancun.
In this guide, I’ll help you figure out what to pack for a Cancun vacation. This is a guide for what to pack for an all-inclusive vacation, but the same general tips apply to any Cancun getaway, even if you are not staying in an all-inclusive.
Tips for when you arrive in Cancun
I recommend booking a private transfer through Project Expedition.
Make sure to have transfers booked in advance! When you arrive at the airport, stay in the middle and say “no thank you” to anyone trying to “help you find your transfer/taxi.” They are not trying to help you; they are trying to sell timeshares!
This can be jarring to first-time visitors, so know that the actual transfers and taxis are waiting just outside! Most have signs or will let you know what to look for before arrival in Cancun.
What to pack for an all-inclusive vacation
The vacation is all-inclusive, so you just need a bathing suit and some cash for tips, right?!
Well, kind of.
Although you can probably get away with a bikini, cash, and passport, there are a few other things you should pack for your all-inclusive Cancun vacation.
You might also enjoy my Hyatt Zilara Cancun Review. If you’re looking for a luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive resort, you will love this one!
What to pack in a carry-on
I’m a carry-on-only kind of girl, but I realize that not everyone is like me. If you’re checking luggage, it’s important to pack your essentials in your carry-on.
That way, if any luggage is delayed or lost, at least you have what you need.
Make sure to carry at least the following in your carry-on:
- 2 outfits (one beach outfit, one dinner outfit, more on these below)
- 1 bathing suit
- All important documents (passport, hotel information, transfer information)
- Reef-friendly Sunscreen
- Any medication that you need
The beautiful Hotel Zone in Cancun.
Now that you know what needs to be in your carry-on, let’s talk about what clothes to pack to Cancun.
Clothing to pack for an all-inclusive vacation
When you’re planning what to pack for Cancun, here are a few ideas for clothes to pack and what to wear.
1. Beach cover-up.
You’ll be in a bathing suit a lot. A whole lot. A cover-up is excellent if you need to run up to your room or to get a snack or drink anywhere requiring a cover-up.
This cover-up by Cupshe is adorable and available on Amazon for under $30. I have it and love it.
Cupshe has more coverups for every style, and they are very affordable too. Check them out on Amazon.
2. At least two bathing suits.
I recommend bringing at least one bathing suit to wear and one to dry. You can even bring 3 or 4. Again, Cupshe has some of my favorite cute and affordable bathing suits.
I recommend purchasing from Amazon vs. directly from Cupshe. I ordered bathing suits from Cupshe directly, and the shipping took forever. Amazon, of course, is typically two days. So I recommend ordering from Amazon for fast delivery and easy returns.
3. Dinner outfit
Typically there will be at least one, maybe two, resort restaurants with a stricter dress code. Make sure to bring a dress, skirt, or jumpsuit, and dress sandals or heels.
I would recommend bringing at least two “dressy” outfits for dinner if you’re staying for a few days.
Many restaurants will require a collared shirt or polo shirt, so bring a couple of those.
Bring one pair of long pants and a pair of close-toed shoes if you know that your resort restaurants require those (not all do.) If you aren’t sure, you can often check the hotel website in advance for restaurant dress codes. When in doubt, bring at least one nice outfit just to be safe.
The perfect dinner outfit for an all-inclusive resort.
Most restaurants have a more relaxed stress code where a polo shirt and nice shorts will be sufficient.
4. Clothes for excursions
If you plan to go on any excursions, make sure to pack appropriately. If you will be doing any hiking or extensive walking, I would recommend shoes like Tevas.
Should you go on an excursion where you could get wet (like a cenote tour), always bring an extra outfit.
5. Resort clothes
Shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, and sundresses are all excellent options for “normal” resort wear.
Wearing a t-shirt with swim shorts or a coverup over a dry bathing suit is a-ok for most non-formal resort restaurants as well.
Accessories for an all-inclusive vacation
You’ll need more than just clothes, add these to your Cancun packing list to make your life easier.
6. A wet bag
Don’t underestimate the value of a good wet bag. If you spend the morning before you leave in the pool, you’ll need somewhere to stash your wet bathing suits.
7. Reef-Safe sunscreen
You’ll probably need sunscreen on your all-inclusive vacation in Cancun, so make sure that it’s reef safe. You can check out my post about the best reef-safe sunscreens here.
The All-Good brand is my favorite reef-friendly sunscreen, and they have lots of options to choose from. I recommend the tinted version if you want to avoid the white residue from zinc-based sunscreen.
8. A good hat
There’s nothing better than a big, floppy sun hat. My husband disagrees and hates this hat, but I love it. 😂 I have this one, and it squishes nicely into a suitcase. I’ve had it forever, and it’s just over $20.
Pool-side must-haves for an all-inclusive resort
You’ll stand out as an all-inclusive pro if you bring a few key things on you Cancun vacation.
9. An insulated cup like a Hydroflask or Yeti
Lots of plastic is used at all-inclusive resorts. Some resorts are going with reusable options, but let’s be honest; those tiny plastic (reusable or not) cups don’t hold much anyway. By bringing your own, you’ll be saving both plastic and trips to the pool bar.
We bring our Hydroflask tumblers which are the envy of all the all-inclusive newbies who didn’t know to bring one. A Hydroflask or similar tumbler is truly an all-inclusive must-have.
10. A lounge for the pool
You’re probably going to be in the pool a lot, and you want to be comfortable.
A small float or Water Hammock to use in the pool or even the ocean can be a fantastic thing to have. Just remember not to be rude in a crowded pool. Whenever we travel, someone always asks if I got my water hammock at the resort. Strangely, most resorts don’t sell them, so make sure to stock up before you leave!
If you want to be extra, bring some of these:
I have one that looks like a shark. My husband hates it (are you sensing a trend??), but I get a lot of compliments on my drink floaties in the pool. I think he is jealous. 😉
Other all-inclusive must-haves
Here are other things to add to your Cancun packing list.
11. Cash for tips
While tips are technically included at all-inclusive resorts, you’ll want to bring some money for extra tips.
If you’re able to afford to go on vacation, you’re probably also able to bring a little extra cash to tip. A great tip can make someone’s day! As a bonus, the staff knows who tips well and generally go above and beyond when they know you’re a good tipper.
As a travel agent (you can work with me here), I’m often asked how much you should tip. It’s truly up to you, but this is a good guide:
- Breakfast $5-$10
- Lunch $10
- Dinner $10-$20
- Drinks $1/drink
- Housekeeping $5/day
You can also tip others, such as those who refill your fridge (I find that leaving a note and a nice tip will help you get special requests!), someone by the pool who inflates your floaty, etc.
12. A way to stash cash
If you’re hanging out at the pool, you might not have an excellent way to keep ahold of your cash.
I recommend either a waterproof phone case if you plan to have your phone with you or this genius scrunchy that hides your money.
13. A GoPro
If you don’t have a GoPro, you should invest in one for your all-inclusive vacation. Check out my favorite GoPro and accessories here.
14. Your own snorkel gear
If you plan to snorkel, make sure to bring your own gear. Some companies are charging extra for equipment due to current restrictions. Most importantly, it’s kind of gross anyway, so just bring your own. 🙂
15. Aloe vera gel
This is self-explanatory. It’s costly in resort gift shops, so bring some aloe vera gel with you. Hanalei brand is my absolute favorite.
More Mexico Travel Ideas:
- The 20 best resorts in Tulum
- The Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya | Everything we know so far
- 40 best things to do in Cancun
- 10 best all-inclusive resorts in Cancun
What to pack for Cancun
I hope this list of what to pack for Cancun has helped you figure out what to pack for an all-inclusive vacation.
As travel restrictions begin to ease around the world, Cancun is still one of the most accessible places to visit. I still recommend purchasing travel insurance – just in case!
Although I am a Travel Agent, I only take on a select number of clients per month. You can contact me if you’d like more information. You can also check out prices on Expedia for the best Cancun deals.
The best way to get travel tips and the most current travel information is to sign up for my email list. I send out one weekly email with the latest news, travel deals, and more. Sign up below.
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I Am going to Cancun and this was very helpful
Thanks, Claire! I hope you have a great time. I just got back from Cancun a few days ago. 🙂
Loved your ideas and I am excited to put together some goodie bags for the girls I’m traveling with. They will love the scrunches and pool floaties.
Thanks, Jennifer!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the ideas. I’m sure they will love both of those!! They are must-haves that most people wouldn’t even think about!
This was very helpful for a first timer to Cancun. Thank you! I got the water hammocks. Is this allowed since covid?
Hey Shelbie, yes they are allowed right now.
Thank you Amy for this valuable info. We’re taking our first all-inclusive vacation to Cancun in a few weeks.
You’re welcome!! Where will you be staying?
Amy M Taylor
This is great advice! I added several items to my cart. We are going to San Jose del Cabo in a couple of weeks. It’s not all inclusive but it is a nice resort. I feel better about what to pack now. Thank you!
You’re welcome – have fun!!
I also recommend bringing a couple reusable straws & a cleaning brush. Most beach resort areas don’t allow straws and if you are addicted to drinking through a straw like me, there’s nothing better than a cool drink & your own straw!
Hi Patti, great tip! Yes, most do not have straws (or have paper straws) so it’s best to bring your own. I have metal straws at home but don’t use them often, but I bring a straw that I use with my coffee.