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When it comes to our vacations, I actually love to pack. I love to check things off my list, create outfits, and fuel the excitement. But with that said, you’ll probably never see me write a post about packing for 2 weeks in Europe with just a carry-on. Nope. Just not going to happen. I like options. I like to be prepared. I’ve also gotten pretty damn good at packing for beach vacations. My “list” is strictly in my head at this point and I can pack the morning-of if I must. I’d say it’s a pretty solid talent of mine. 😉
We recently spent 5 nights in Puerto Vallarta at the stunning Hotel Mousai. It was a total dream. While we knew we’d be spending a ton of time relaxing by the pool and beach, we also planned for some hiking, a photo shoot, and a dinner show excursion. I pulled together this perfect little list of what to pack for an all-inclusive trip to Mexico, but it’ll work for just about any all-inclusive resort on the beach. I did not include some of the essentials like underwear and basic toiletries. But don’t forget them unless you’re feeling wild and free.
This is always the first thing I slide into the interior zipper of my carry on. I also have a Global Entry card, so I make sure it’s tucked into my Passport case. Take a photo of your passport on your phone if you’re paranoid about losing it.
Headphones: Whether your airline has televisions in the back of the seats or you stream from your own device, make the time fly by with headphones. I recently started listening to podcasts on flights and I probably look weird just staring at things in front of me or quietly laughing, but it’s one of the only times I am stuck in one place with minimal distractions.
Charger: Bring a regular phone charger and a portable phone charger! My Away carry-on has a built-in portable charger. It’s a little heavy but has the option to charge super fast or slow and steady, so I love bringing it with me even when I don’t bring the carry-on suitcase.
Books/Kindle: You’re going to need these for a layover and poolside. Don’t underestimate how much reading you’ll get in while lounging by the pool. I brought one book with me and literally had to consciously put it down so that I didn’t finish it with days left in the trip.
Swimsuit: Yep. Add a swimsuit into your carry-on! If your room isn’t ready yet, you can change quickly in the bathroom and go to the pool right away.
Extra Outfit: Similar to adding a swimsuit to your carry-on, I also think you should always pack an extra outfit in your carry-on just in case your suitcase gets lost. If I have a direct flight, I usually don’t pack the extra outfit, but I’ll always pack it if I have a layover. The last thing you want is to wait a day or two for your luggage to arrive and have only the clothes you arrived in.
Sunhat: I like to wear my hats onto the plane because 1) it gives me immediate vacay vibes and 2) it doesn’t get smushed in my suitcase.
Cash/Credit Card: Minimize your wallet and just bring a credit card, debit card, and some cash. Make sure you notify your credit card company that you’re heading out of the country. Bring smaller bills for tipping. Even though it’s all-inclusive, you’ll want to tip throughout your stay.
Swimsuits: When you start to pack for an all-inclusive trip, this will probably be at the top of your list! Because swimsuits don’t take up much space, I usually bring one for each day of the trip. I’m also so in love one-pieces lately! I can slip on a pair of shorts over the one-piece and it feels like a complete outfit.
Shorts: If you’re a dress person, you don’t need a ton of shorts. I wore the same 2 pairs of shorts throughout our trip.
Jeans/Pants: Just one pair will do. I don’t like to wear shorts or dresses on a plane so I’ll wear jeans when I travel. For our all-inclusive trip, I wore the same pair for breakfast one morning and then again on the flight home.
Cover-Ups: You don’t want to just walk around in your swimmie all day! My favorite “cover-up” is a kimono because I can slide shorts on over my suit to make a complete outfit or just wear it by itself at the pool bar.
Casual Tops: I like to bring simple tee’s that I can wear right over my bikini top.
Sweater: For the plane and for the cooler restaurants, having a sweater is a must for those of us that easily get cold.
Dresses/Rompers for Dinners: When you’re thinking of what to pack for an all-inclusive trip, don’t forget that some of the restaurants might have dress codes! An easy go-to is to pack sundresses, maxi dresses, or rompers for dinners. They’re light and comfortable and don’t take up much space. Add a pair of sandals or wedges and you’re good to go. For guys, a casual button-down, jeans, and a pair of white or black sneakers are usually perfect for “resort-style”.
I have no idea where this dress is from. I’ve had it for 6 years.😬
Lightweight Pajamas: If you don’t sleep in your birthday suit, bring lightweight pj’s. It’s typically hot and humid at the majority of the all-inclusive resorts. Of course, the rooms should have A/C, but if you’re like me and love sitting on the balcony with a coffee in the mornings, lightweight is best. These satin pj’s are my favorite. Plus you’ll feel cute AF.
Small Backpack: Whether you’re heading out on an excursion or going to the pool, it’s nice to be able to throw your sunscreen, Kindle, and bottled water into a little backpack.
Small Purse: The style of the season is the round bamboo bags. You can find them everywhere. I love that I can fit my phone, lip gloss, and small wallet inside. At an all-inclusive resort, you really don’t need to carry much with you. I had a couple of nights where my hubby carried my lipgloss. I didn’t even need my ID because we had the all-inclusive bracelets.
Sunscreen: Don’t forget the sunscreen! Whether you’re poolside, paddleboarding, or hiking, you need to protect your skin. A lot of all-inclusive resorts will have a shop where you can purchase sunscreen, but just know it’s going to be much pricier.
Lip balm with SPF: My lips get chapped easily so I always have a lip balm, but having one with an SPF is so important when I’m out in the sun! Our lips can age us, too. So keep them looking young and moisturized!
Shoes: Ladies, you can get away with just sandals, wedges, and sneakers (if you plan on hiking or doing something adventurous). When I pack for an all-inclusive trip, I like to bring casual flip-flops and also a nicer pair of sandals that can be dressed up or down. I wore Sam Edelman slip-on wedges almost every day. They’re sold out now, but these are similar and so, so cute! Remember, if a restaurant on-site has a dress code, your guy might need to pack an extra pair of shoes.
Immodium // Pepto Bismol // Advil: Hopefully you won’t need this, but I always bring it just in case. I’d rather have it and not need to use it.
Water Shoes: Living in Florida, I’m familiar with our soft sand beaches. But in other places, like Puerto Vallarta, the beaches had a lot more rocks. We brought our water shoes, but didn’t end up using them because we didn’t spend much time on the beach.
Bug Repellant: We were told we needed bug spray for Mexico, but we went in May and the bugs weren’t bad at all. However, we did visit an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica one August and definitely needed the bug spray!
Portable Bluetooth Speaker: We rarely turn on the television when we’re traveling, but we love listening to music. Check out this portable waterproof bluetooth speaker on Amazon.
Workout Clothes: If working out on vacay is your thing, bring one, maybe two, outfits. And remember, you’ll need to bring sneakers, socks, and sports bras, too! (I am so guilty of packing all of this and then never making it to the gym. I did wear the sneakers for our hike though!)
Frizz-Away: Hey ladies, humidity doesn’t usually mix well with our hair. Pack a travel size anti-frizz spray.
What You Don’t Need:
Towels: The resorts always provide towels for the pool or beach.
Snacks: The sweet part about an all-inclusive resort? Even room service is included (at most resorts)! You won’t go hungry or thirsty on this trip.
Converter: Ok, please double-check with your specific resort! But with that said, I’ve visited 5 different all-inclusive resorts around the Caribbean and Mexico. I’ve never needed a U.S. converter or adapter.
A Ton of Outfits: I’m basically the Queen of giving myself options when I travel, but when I pack for an all-inclusive trip, I know I’ll be living in swimsuits and casual outfits. There’s no need to overdo it. I challenge you to even pack in just a carry-on! Check out my go-to carry-on here.