Getting ready for a family trip is so much fun:) The anticipation of family fun on a trip is always a joyous and exciting feeling. Packing up well ahead of time to reduce stress helps because packing for a trip adds lots of extras to an already busy family life. I’m sharing my experiences to help you know What to Pack for a Family Trip to an All-Inclusive Resort in Mexico. Check out my printable packing list in the sidebar to help you pack.
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All-inclusive resorts are so much fun and worth the cost. They have a variety of restaurants and activities right on the resort site so guests can find enough enjoyment right at the resort without adding expensive excursions. Though excursions are fun too (scroll down to the bottom to acces links to my excursion reviews).
Travel Planning Tip: Play with the dates trying different combinations over time when booking to find the cheapest price.
What to Pack for a Family Trip to an All-Inclusive Resort in Mexico: 20 Things
I’m going to start off with the obvious items. Of course bring sunscreen, one to two per person, because it may be hard to find it there or be expensive in the gift shop (or tiny). Aloe gel or spray is a great idea too just in case of sunburn. We’ve found Aquafor® works wonders for for sunburn or spots of chafing from being constantly wet. Bring all the usual components for a family trip including bathroom toiletries, sunglasses, cameras, video camera, chargers for electronics, medications, tennis and/or dress shoes, slip on shoes, pajamas, and casual and dress clothes for the trip.
Trying to decide between a Large and Small All-Inclusive Resort? Check out my comparsion of a large and small resort in Mexico to help you decide what is right for your family. Pros and Cons of a Large All-Inclusive Resort Versus a Small All-Inclusive Resort
Here are some ideas you may not have thought of to pack:
- Bubba drink cup or other cup to keep drinks cold. It’s hot there; they will give cold drinks but they do so in little plastic cups that won’t keep the yummy slushy drink cold for long. Bring your own mug for them to put your slushy drink in so it will stay nice and cold as you drink it in the sun. A mug for sipping coffee from is also a good idea. A mug that can be used for both hot and cold drinks would be perfect. Personal tip: I bring a little bottle of dish soap along too so I can wash out the Bubba cups each day in our room. This soap doubles for use in case of stains on clothing. A little dish soap, water, and a washcloth has saved us from clothing stains more than once on a trip.
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2. Dollar bills for tipping. It’s a kind gesture to tip all your waiters and anyone who helps you including housekeeping staff who tidy and clean your room daily. Leave tips on the dresser so housekeeping staff know they can take it as a tip. Use the room safe for other money storage.
Bring more dollar bills than you think you will use, about $150 to $200 for a week’s time. We ran out and had to skimp on tipping the last day which we felt very bad about. The resort workers work hard to give guests a pleasant stay so they deserve tips.
Small bills are important too. In Mexico, you have to pay to use some restrooms. Dollar bills and tips are sometimes needed on excursions for bathroom usage and tips. Remember to reserve some tips for drivers to the airport on the day you leave as well. Tips are nice to have on excursions as well for tour guides, drivers, and waitstaff. Many vendors accept cash only as well. We found this out while on an Isla Mujeres excursion
3. A blow-up raft to use in the ocean or pool. Alternatively buy a body board at the gift shop and take it home as a carry-on souvenir.
Another option is to pass it off to another kid who just arrived at the resort. Pay it forward and gift it to someone! Let another child enjoy the body board for their week at the resort. This teaches kids to be kind and giving to other kids. Many resorts have sports equipment to check out for recrational use but bringing along an extra small ball or frisbee for the pool is a fantastic idea. Just ask my kids!
4. Travel documents already printed for easy access to all the travel, excursion, and flight information is super important to bring along. Don’t forget passports and driver’s licenses.
5. Books and magazines to adults to read. Adults need something to pass time time too. I read poolside any chance I get. Personal tip: I always bring reading material because plane rides are boring so I need something to do. My kids are old enough to play their games or watch their DVD’s on their own, so it’s a great time for me to actually read my own reading choice.
6. A reusable wine cork in case you buy a bottle of wine. This way you can put a cork in the wine bottle and keep it in your room to enjoy a glass later. If there is room in the suitcase, bring a plastic wine glass to keep in the room for added fun.
7. OTC medications in case someone gets sick or doesn’t feel well. Imodium® for sure in case of tummy troubles. Ibuprofen for adults and kids. Antibiotic ointment and bandages are also a good idea to bring.
Bring Dramamine® or motion sickness medication and take it just in case if going out on a boat or submarine ride. Take it before you go just in case because once you feel symptoms it is too late. Have your family member take it before leaving on the excursion if they are prone to motion sickness. Better safe than sorry. The difficulty and misery of dealing with it on the excursion is not worth not taking it. Talk with your doctor before you go so you know the appropriate dose for your child.
Personal tip: We went on a submarine ride and our youngest got sea sick. We were surprised by it because he didn’t normally get motion sickness. It was miserable for him so I wished he had taken Dramamine.
Very Important Update: do NOT pack Sudafed to bring to Mexico. I recently heard a story from a friend who told us a story of their friend who was incarcerated in Mexico for bringing Sudafed into the country. Just don’t bring it.
8. Small sand shovels and toys for younger kids. Personal tip: We did not bring any and I regretted this because our youngest wanted some toys on the beach. The extra smiles from your child are totally worth it when they see you pull the toys out of the suitcase.
9. Bring a sound machine in case there are loud late night party people. This will help the whole family sleep because it will help cover up the unwanted sounds. This is an affliate link for the Sound Spa Relaxation Machine. We have this one and love it!
10. A night light for the room so everyone can get to the bathroom in the dark.
11. Hand sanitizer and wipes are important to bring because bathrooms for washing hands aren’t always available on excursions.
12. Card games, DVD’s and portable player, ear phones, iPads, or books for kids to use on the plane. The kids will use these during down time in the room because at some point down time will be needed. Kids and adults sometimes just need some time to chill out away from the sun after spending hours out under it. Don’t forget electronic charger cords. Earphones or headphones are very important for the plane ride so others are bothered by loud games or movies on the plane
13. Goggles and snorkel gear are a great idea too. Goggles are nice to shield the eyes from the salty sea water and the chlorine in the pools too. We have used both these brands and like them. They have gotten lots of use while on vacation and in our own backyard pool:) I do recommend these products.
14. Extra swim suit in case it doesn’t dry out overnight. We sometimes had to put wet swimsuits back on the next morning because they didn’t dry out overnight.
15. Dress clothes might be needed. Check out the resorts website to see if any restaurants have dress codes and bring appropriate clothing.
16. Only bring necessary credit cards. Don’t bring extra credit cards that you don’t plan on using them. Only bring the two or three cards you plan to use on the trip. This will protect you in case of theft. Don’t forget to let your credit card company know you are going on the trip so they don’t freeze your card due to atypical charges on your account as you travel.
17. A beach bag to carry items down to the pool or beach from your room is a necessity. This bag is also good to bring for ease of carrying any souvenirs bought on excursions. I planned ahead and chose a carryon bag that I wanted to use as a my beach bag.
18. Extra plastic bags or zip bags for sealing up bathroom products for the plane ride. Use them for packing wet suits in the suitcase to go home. I seal up my camera and video camera in ziplock bags while poolside and at the beach for extra protection from water spray, and from wet little hands dipping into the bag. I always love that I have extra bag along.
19. Water shoes: Waterproof shoes for the ocean are a great idea especially if the ocean floor has sharp rocks or shells. We have found some ocean beaches are filled with corral pieces making walking into the ocean rough on the feet. Please the last resort we went to had a very rocky bottom along the shore.
20. Umbrellas slipped into the suitcase are a great idea as well. Rain storms come and go quickly but getting caught in a downpour while walking to breakfast is not pleasant. Pack a few small compact umbrellas to stick in your beach bag.
UPDATE: Check this travel backpack out! It’s my new favorite find for family travel. It is perfect for travel and ideal for moms to use AFTER the diaper bag is done (or as a mini diaper bag). As a mom, I still need certain items for my kids (plus my own stuff) when traveling and this compact sling travel backpack is ideal. Love it:)
To read my full review of this backpack, click here.
Five Bonus Personal tips: What we brought that we didn’t need or use:
- We brought our own beach towels but I regretted that because they had beach towels for us to use at the resort. Towels are bulky and take up too much room in the suitcase so if they have towels available I highly suggest using the resort beach towels. This way you won’t have to deal with drying them out or dragging beach sand into your room. Just don’t lose them as they usually charge for lost towels. Plus, ours never dried out well so we just used the towels the resort provided for guests.
- A big purse is not needed. I wished I hadn’t brought my large purse, but brought several smaller purses instead. The gift shop had some decent priced festive little pouches with Cancun printed on them. I bought one to use at the resort plus it was a fun souvenir to bring home. There are already enough components to lug to the beach with towels, toys, and beverages. A big purse just gets in the way of the fun anyway. A waterproof pouch for your phone and room card works great as a purse.
- I brought a sweater but never used it. It was so warm in Mexico even in January. Though it never hurts to bring one along just in case it gets cool.
- Bug spray: We packed bug spray but never used it. It might be nice to have just in case but we’ve gone in January and March but we never saw any mosquitos.
- Expensive Jewelry: Don’t bring expensive jewelry or jewelry that has special meaning to you because it could be stolen out of your suitcase. I have a friend who lost her jewelry on a trip to Mexico due to theft. The suitcase was rifled through and jewelry stolen somewhere at the airport. Be sure to only pack jewelry you don’t mind losing.
Now go and have an awesome trip!! Safe travels!!
Need a new camera for your trip? I have a Canon Rebel which we bought before I started this blog. I’m so lucky we already had it because I need a DSLR camera to take good pics for this blog. I highly recommend this camera. To see it on Amazon, click this affiate link: Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm IS II Lens
Check out my review of two All-Inclusive Mexican resorts my family has visited:
Enjoy your family trip!
Another family favorite vacation desination of ours was Seaworld. I love their philosophies and family fun. They are teaching the world about sea animals using fun. Love that!!
SeaWorld & Aquatica – Two great parks. One great deal.
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Free Packing List
Printable Packing List to make packing for your family easier which will reduce your pre-travel stress:) Have a wonderful trip!