1. Sun protection– caps and sun hats factor 50+ sun cream, aloe vera gel… the number of people I saw with bright red patches of sunburn on them, plus my own experiences of sunburn in Mexico made me very aware of the intense strength of the Mexican sun. I even developed some strange dark patches on my face- not a good look! So my number one item/s are high factor sun protection. I advise getting a water resistant suncream as a lot of your time will be spent in and out of the water or simply sweating!!
2. Hair oil- if your hair is anywhere near as frizzy as mine in humid climates this is a must have to avoid the Monica from friends look! A small bottle – 25ml will be fine as a little goes a long way but will really help to tame that lion mane! Some oils can double up as body moisturiser too. Argan, Macademia and Coconut are all popular choices.
4. A decent mosquito repellent! To avoid looking like you’ve been attacked by the bubonic plague (not to mention contracting the dreaded Zika virus) you need a decent repellent. Personally I like a repellent with at least 30% deet especially for those jungle areas- I’d even spray it on my clothes and bag, and use natural repellents on my face. I took a few different varieties in various potencies and sizes (at least one small one to fit in my handbag) and was glad I did as I had fewer bites than a lot of fellow travellers.
5. Money belt- I heard so many stories of travellers losing items and getting them stolen on buses. So that you don’t have to worry about your passport and cards put them inside a money belt and wear it under your clothes at night. I felt much happier knowing my most valued items were relatively safe.
6. A shoulder bag with a zip inside– to prevent opportunistic pickpocketers, make sure your day bag is one which you can wear on your front, keep a hand on it and which has a few different sections and fastenings to make it as difficult as possible for anybody to slip their hand in and take your purse.
7. A pair or two of long, loose trousers – I ended up wearing my harem pants and cotton trousers a lot more than anticipated- they give protection against the sun and mosquitos – slipping these on is much less hassle than slathering on sun lotion and mozzie spray! Plus they’re comfortable too! Tip- pack them in navy, black or patterns as they will get dirty very quickly!
8. A padlock – If you’re staying at hostels then be warned many have lockers but no padlocks- so be prepared and bring your own. A combination lock is best to avoid losing your key!
9. Pocket tissues– not all bathrooms have tissues in so best to be prepared and pack a few packets just in case! Keep them in your main bag at all times.
10. Hair bands and a tangle teaser- if you have long hair you will be desperate to get it out of your face and off your neck in the hot humidity. Plus you know how easily lost hair bands are- I brought about 30 with me which may seem crazy but I ended up losing most and giving many away to others who were begging me for them. A tangle teaser is great for combing out those knots from the sea, sun and sand!
12. Pepto bismol- getting stomach problems in Mexico is to be honest the norm. Most backpackers I met had at least one episode of a dodgy stomach during their trip. One remedy is pepto bismol- at the first sign of a dodgy stomach pop a tablet or glug some of the liquid medicine. It works wonders!!
13. Battery pack- for those long days or long bus journeys. For those days you are getting snap happy with all of the incredible scenery. Or for those days you’re in the jungle hut with no plug sockets. Being able to charge your electronic goods is very handy!
14. A phrase book- if you’re getting out of Cancun chances are you will encounter many situations when Spanish is the only language spoken and understood. If your Spanish is basic or non existent it is going to be not only extremely helpful but also polite to be able to speak a few key phrases. I took both of these books with me and they are small, lightweight and very useful for the basics with sections for public transport, ordering food and booking accomodation.
15. A small torch- I brought a few of these tiny LED torches which you can clip on to your bag or purse and they were so handy whether I was in the jungle or in my hostel dorm while everybody else was sleeping!
16.Mini first aid kit- you can buy these at most pharmacies or even supermarkets and then add any extras. I like to ensure I have plasters, bandages, safety pins, tweezers, after bite cream, savlon and anti histamines to cover most small injuries and incidents.
17. Sports bras or bralets. So much more comfortable in the heat and when trekking around!
18. Shorts- in the heat and on the beach shorts will be your staple daily wear. (Along with a bikini, flip flops and a sun hat). I suggest bringing two pairs. I had three- denim, black linen and a more durable pair with zip pockets.
19. Flip flops- my black havianas came in super handy, especially on the beaches and in those grim hostel showers eww! Although for trekking and sight seeing you will want something more durable and sturdy.
22. A notepad and pen- jot down any essential numbers before you leave. I used mine to write down the address of my hostels while travelling and any bus times and travel plans. Plus to make notes of amusing things that happened during my trip or food I enjoyed. Plus a pen always comes in handy for form filling etc.
23. A lightweight waterproof- if travelling in the rainy season pack a waterproof. The rain can come out of nowhere! I only wore my hideous bright yellow monstrosity once but without it I would have been completely soaked through. It’s a good idea to have a waterproof cover for your rucksack too.
Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.