So, you’re getting ready to go to Mexico!? LUCKY! I know you’re going to have an amazing time. Mexico is known for its rich history, culture, food and of course, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! But believe it or not, it can be tricky to pack for it (I’ve learned this the hard way). That’s why I’m sharing exactly what to pack for a beach vacation in Mexico. And of course, you’ll be getting over 20 outfit ideas that you can steal and recreate with basic pieces you already have in your closet!
Ready!? Let’s dive in on what to pack for a beach vacation!
Things To Keep In Mind When Planning What to Pack For A Beach Vacation
- When selecting which pieces to pack, it’s important that you take everything out and lay it flat on your bed. This makes packing so much easier because you can really see what goes with what and what doesn’t.
- Pack mostly neutral colored pieces and just 2-3 printed/colorful ones. This makes mix and matching so much easier!
- Make sure that 90% of the pieces you’re packing can be styled in a couple of different ways. If you can create at least 2 different looks with each piece, then you’re off to a great start!
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good accessory! I’ll show you why below ;)
Why Am I Qualified To Share What To Pack For A Beach Vacation?
I live out of a carry-on bag and as a full time traveler, I have spent over 4 months exploring Mexico over the past year. So trust me, I’ve made many packing mistakes. And I want you to learn from them so you can have the best time ever during your vacation!
My Personal Beach Travel Essentials & Why
I can vouch for all of these items I’m about to list, because I own them and I will explain under which circumstance you will need each of them while vacationing in Mexico or at pretty much any beach holiday. As always, I ask you to please look at what you have first. It’s the best way to be sustainable with your wardrobe!
Keep in mind that this list is for a 10-day beach vacation, but you can still use it as reference and just add extra pieces if your beach vacation is longer, or remove some of them if it’s a shorter trip. And the best part is that all of these pieces fit in a carry-on bag (all the outfit pics + styling tips are below).
- 1 white t-shirt (this brand is my favorite for basic pieces).
- 1 t-shirt of your choice (t-shirts are versatile and easy to style!) I recommend a neutral color of your choice or a fun graphic one.
- 3 cute/fun going-out tops (Browse some cute options here and here). I like ruffled options or something with fun sleeves!
- OR 3 tank tops (notice the ‘OR’ 😂) This really depends on your personal style. This is where I shop the best fitting tank tops – This brand is a close second (and cheaper if you’re on a budget)
- 1 white linen button down shirt (this is a must for every day life!) – read this blog post for more ideas and outfits with this closet staple!)
- 1 pair of linen or denim shorts (These are super cute!)
- 1 mini skirt (I have my eyes on this one!)
- 1 midi or maxi skirt. Check out some cute options here.
Notice, no pants :) that’s really up to you! You can opt to bring these comfy/stylish joggers and wear them on your travel day. But realistically you won’t use them during your beach holiday.
Dresses & Cover Ups:
- 1 colorful mini dress (check out this page for other cute options)
- 1 neutral dress (think about something you would wear out for dinner *black is great*. Bonus points if it doubles as a cover-up!)
- 1 midi or maxi dress.
- 1 beach cover-up (this one is my go-to!). I’ve had it for over 3 years and it packs great because it doesn’t wrinkle. (you can check out other cute options here – the brand is amazing!)
I didn’t list more than one cover-up because you can wear all the other pieces to the pool/beach as well, so no need to pack separate cover-ups!
- 1-2 bikinis. This one is an oldie and I got it when I was still living in Venezuela, so it’s not available online. But I love these high-waisted bikinis! (Notice the headband and earrings. It just makes a simple beach day, be extra cute!)
- 1 one-piece bathing suit. When choosing this piece, make sure it matches one or two of your bottom pieces. That way you can wear it as a bodysuit or you can just add shorts or a skirt and be ready for the beach. Here’s how I’ve done this during our travels: (you can do this with skirts too!)
This is where I got that super flattering one-piece bathing suit. It’s sort of an investment but it’s basically the only bathing suit I’ve used over the past 2 years and it still looks like new! (wearing size 4) – Can’t recommend this brand enough!
- Going out sandals (flat ones are my preference. Just simple brown leather ones)
- Beach Sandals – These are my go-to! They are great for the beach and super comfy to go out exploring new sights!
Yes, that’s it. I personally don’t like to travel with heels. And if you know me by now, you know how much I love my white sneakers, but I honestly would never wear them for a beach vacation.
Although I must say, if you are visiting other cities (you know, besides beach towns) and there’s going to be a lot of walking, visiting local markets, ruins, etc. then yes, bring your white sneakers or any comfy shoes you love! Trust me, you will need them!
- 1-2 headbands
- 1-2 Statement Earrings
- 1 Straw Hat
- 1 Neck Scarf (for cute pony tails)
- A couple of rings, necklaces or bracelets if that’s your style. The right accessories can elevate any outfit! Just make sure to pick one that matches most of the pieces you’re packing (this site has cute options and it’s not too pricey).
- 1 pashmina (check the weather in advance to see if you’ll need an extra layer at night) – pashminas are also great as a beach cover-up, you can always wrap them as a skirt ;)
- Check the weather in advance, but I recommend bringing a denim jacket if you get cold during travel days.
- Not exactly an accessory, but I packed everything in these compressible packing cubes!
For Your Beach Bag:
Here you can download a cute printable check-list with your tropical vacation packing list:
Visit this link – add your name & email – confirm your subscription – receive the email right away :)
PS: I do my best to keep all my recent outfits updated in the Like to Know It App – You can check out those looks by visiting this link!
- These are ALL my Turkey outfits.
- These ALL my Mexico outfits.
- These are ALL the outfits I created over the past 6 months traveling throughout SE Asia and Europe (my most recent travel looks)
Obviously, there are many other things you could pack but the items listed above are more or less the ones I bring in my carry on. It also depends on the length of your trip, your destination, personal style, activities and what you like to do, so please just take this as a reference and add/remove what you need. But take this advice from a full-time traveler: the less you pack, the easier your vacation will be!
My goal with these posts will always be to inspire you to create new outfits with what you already have in your closet. So seriously, get the minimalist packing list I shared above. It’s free!
Are You Learning What To Pack For A Tropical Vacation? Save It On Pinterest!
Outfit Ideas For A Beach Vacation in Mexico (or any beach!)
Here are some travel-style tips to help you create your own version of these looks! These are some of the hacks I use in order to create even more outfits with the pieces I have without having to buy anything while traveling the world! I’m a huge fan of minimalist packing.
Some of these photos were taken in other places besides Mexico because I don’t always take photos of every look. But trust me, I live out of a carry-on bag, so I’m mostly wearing the same outfits in different parts of the world LOL.
Tip #1: Bring the right accessories!
It makes all the difference! A cute headband, a pair of statement earrings, a belt, a nice hat… it can all make a super basic outfit look elevated.
Tip #2: Get creative when mix and matching colors to maximize every piece you packed!
This is why is so important to lay all your pieces on your bed. To make sure they all work well together!
- Bringing a printed dress? Make sure it goes well with your neutral pieces.
- Packing accessories? Make sure your headbands and earrings match with your outfits!
- Have pieces that are the same color? Or similar? Dress head to toe in the same color. It looks great!
Tip #3: A button down piece can be your best friend!
I love my button down shirt. I always have some kind of button down shirt, but my favorite one is this white linen one (it’s available in other colors too). It’s just so easy to throw over any dress or skirt, looks great with shorts, and it can even be used as a cover up! (more outfit ideas with a white button down shirt here).
Tip #4: Don’t overpack. You need less than you think :)
I’m serious. You won’t need 2 or 3 outfits per day. Most likely, there will be a washer in your Airbnb OR a one-day dry cleaning service in your hotel and in most cases, you can wear the same piece twice before you need to wash it. I promise it will be so much easier to bring less things!
You’ll have less to think about every day, it’ll be easier to deal with your suitcase and you’ll be able to leave the airport sooner if all you have is your carry on. Please trust me on this one.
Pack less things! :)
You Will Also Like:
- Stylish & Comfy Airport Outfits
- Capsule Wardrobe For Traveling (European Summer Edition)
- 7 Pieces You Need In Your Minimalist Wardrobe! (my 7 most styled pieces)
- What To Wear With Joggers (My Favorite Travel Pants!)
What To Keep In Mind For A Beach Vacation In Mexico:
- Mexico is not all about its beaches. for example, if you’re heading to the Yucatan Peninsula, there are many cute towns to be explored (Campeche, Merida, Valladolid) and of course, incredible Mayan ruins to visit. Using the items I listed above, you can create outfits that are appropriate for towns and activities. Here are some outfit ideas I wore when visiting Mayan ruins:
- There are a lot of mosquitoes in Mexico, please bring mosquito repellant and have it with you after 5 pm. You will need it.
- It’s hot and humid in most places, especially during the months of March to June. Try to plan some indoor activities during the day or chill with a book in the shade. Otherwise you will be exhausted!
- Seaweed is a thing depending on the season, currents, and a million other things you can’t control. Make sure to check the local news, or even search for Instagram hashtags! For example you can search for #sargazo + name of the city you’re visiting + month/year. You might be lucky and find recent posts from other people to see the current status. In my experience, seaweed or sargazo has never ruined a trip for me, even though it has been present.
- Scuba diving & snorkeling are a must if you’re going to Cozumel!
If you’re heading to the Yucatan Peninsula, make sure to read this blog post on our travel blog! Or check out our Mexico category for a bunch of blog posts with a lot of good recommendations!
Final Thoughts & Questions?
I’m happy to reply to any questions you may have about what to pack for a beach vacation.
I want you to feel good about yourself, have fun and enjoy your time in Mexico (or anywhere else), all while feeling cute and comfortable! I may not keep this blog super active, but I’m always around at @waysoftheworld_ (I travel full time with my husband), on our YouTube channel if you are interested in travel content (and cute outfits 😉) and our travel blog if you are interested in more travel tips and things to do in each place.
Anyways, thanks so much for being here!
Cheers to your awesome beach vacation. Tell the mango guy I say hi. Take care and safe travels :)