What to pack for Mexico City
Most Mexico packing lists are designed for trips to tropical beach towns. But packing for Mexico City, the country’s capital, is very different.
Whether you plan to stroll the streets of Roma Norte, marvel at the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán, take in the best cityscapes, or all of the above, my carefully designed Mexico City packing list will ensure that you have everything needed to make the most of your time in this diverse metropolis.
This Mexico City packing list is exactly what I use whenever I travel to CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico), regardless of season. Funny enough, if I don’t reference my own packing lists, I tend to forget essential things at home.
For background, I’m an avid Mexico traveler and frequent visitor to Mexico City. I’ve visited the city in every season, and my trips have ranged from less than 24 hours to just over a week.
Essential Mexico Travel Resources
Have a Mexico trip coming up soon? There are a lot of travel companies out there, but some are better than others. After traveling to dozens of countries and living abroad on several continents, here are some of my favorite websites and resources for planning unforgettable trips.
Note: This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through these links, at no cost to you. But don’t worry, I only share products I’d truly recommend to a friend.
What to Pack for a Trip to Mexico City
Mexico City is such an enchanting and surprising place!
If you’ve never visited before, you’re in for a treat! And if you have already strolled the streets of Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX for short, Mexico City in Spanish) and are heading back again, you’ll be in for a treat as well.
No matter how many times I journey to this stunning capital city, I always find new things to do and yummy things to eat.
But before we can enjoy all that CDMX has to offer, we have to get there! And before we leave, we must pack.
I complied this Mexico City packing list based on my own extensive experience traveling to Mexico City on various occasions throughout the year.
Without further ado, here are my top recommendations on what to pack for a trip to Mexico City:
Mexico City Packing List Essentials
Let’s start with the things you should always pack for Mexico City, regardless of time of year or length of stay.
Unless you’re only visiting CDMX for a few hours on your way to another destination, you’ll need need sunscreen, sunglasses, and other sun protectant. Even on colder days, the Mexico City sun is very strong because of the city’s high elevation.
Sunscreen can be difficult to find (and expensive) in Mexico. Get yours ahead of time and protect that gorgeous skin!
Get an extra pair (or two) of sunglasses—you’ll thank me later! I love SOJOS sunglasses.
Most Mexico City itineraries will include a great deal of walking. During my recent trip to Mexico City, I walked over 20,000 steps one day exploring Roma and Condesa, and I was so glad I had comfortable walking shoes.
Regardless of the time of year or weather forecast, I always bring at least one pair of Birkenstock sandals and sneakers to Mexico City. And if you see any of my travel photos (in Mexico City and beyond), I’ll likely be wearing Birks. They’re breathable, cute (depending on style), and comfortable enough for 20k step walking days. Sneakers come in handy if I go on a hike on rugged terrain.
There are so many styles and colors of Birkenstocks (theses are vegan) and they’re all super comfy for exploring CDMX by foot.
Many Mexico City mornings start out chilly, and likewise, you experience a cold breeze in the evening. But by noon, most of the year, you’ll find yourself sweating. This is why it’s so important to prioritize layers when packing for Mexico City. A button-up shirt (unbuttoned), shawl, light sweatshirt, or cardigan will work wonders.
Whether you’re planning to explore the historical neighborhood of Coyoacan by bike, read in the park at Parque Mexico, fly over the city in a cable car, or embark on another exciting CDMX adventure, you’ll want a day pack to carry your essentials. I typically bring a backpack as my personal item on the flight, and also pack a small sling bag (fanny pack). Both work as great day packs, and I like being able to choose between the two depending on the day.
Fjallraven’s water resistant backpacks make great carry-ons as well as perfect day packs for exploring CDMX.
This is my go-to day pack. It’s large enough to fit all my essentials, plus a small water bottle! Each pack is made with different colored fabric scraps so they’re all unique!
Chargers + More Chargers
When exploring a big city like CDMX, I can easily go through 2+ phone charges in one day from ordering Ubers, looking up places on Google Maps, following walking directions, and more. This makes a portable charger an essential item on my packing list for Mexico City!
In addition to bringing a portable charger, I recommend a wall adapter so that you can charge more devices at once (mostly while you sleep). I tend to travel with my iPhone, laptop, AirPods, and often several cameras.
Sometimes hotel rooms in Mexico City don’t have many plugs, which can be a problem with so many electronics plus travel companions. Bringing a power strip helps me ensure I have everything fully charged every morning for a full day of adventure.
This portable charger is always on my Mexico City packing list!
Make sure you and your family have enough spots to charge all devices!
Bathroom Essentials + Sanitizer
There aren’t free public restrooms in most parts of Mexico. Typically, you have to pay a few pesos to use a bathroom, and will be given a small amount of toilet paper. However, I always like to have my own tissues in my bag just in case I’m not given enough TP or there is none available. Likewise, hand sanitizer comes in handy all the time, and wet wipes are helpful to clean up messes regardless of where you travel.
What to Pack for Mexico City Elevation and Food Poisoning
It’s difficult to know whether you’ll experience altitude sickness or food poisoning on your first trip to Mexico City. Thankfully, there are a few precautionary things you get ahead of time that may reduce the risk of feeling sick.
These vegan + gluten free supplements can boost your gut health if taken ahead of time (and during your travels).
These single-serve electrolyte drink mixes help you stay hydrated, which is key when adjusting to high altitude.
I’ve mentioned in other Mexico travel guides that I often have trouble finding healthy snacks in Mexico. Of course, it depends on the city and neighborhood, but I tend to pack some snacks from home to get me through long travel days. A few of my favorites include:
Larabars are a longtime favorite snack of mine. The peanut butter chocolate chip flavor never gets old! Tasty, filling, and healthy!
These wasabi edamame are a great high-protein swap for wasabi peas. The same company also makes them in a sea salt flavor if you aren’t a wasabi person.
I don’t recommend wearing flashy jewelry in Mexico City. Although I’ve felt much more safe in CDMX than in large cities in Europe where pickpocketing is common, theft can still happen. If you’re married (or engaged) and want to wear a ring, but don’t want to risk losing your special one, I highly recommend getting a cute new ring for travel. I have a $10 jade ring that I always wear when traveling.
Digital Necessities + More
Physical items aren’t the only things you need to “pack” for a trip to CDMX! Don’t miss these digital neccesities and other essentials on your Mexico City packing list.
Travel insurance is one of the most overlooked yet most important things to “pack” on any trip. I personally use SafetyWing, which I’ve found to be significantly more affordable compared to other insurance companies. Plus, their online platform is really easy to use and their support is great. I travel often, and I can easily log into the platform to start or cancel my insurance with the click of a button based on my travel plans.
If your current phone plan does not have coverage in Mexico, be sure to purchase an eSIM through Airalo before your trip. You can conveniently access the eSIM digitally, without needing a physical SIM card, and keep your current phone plan (if you wish). I’ve found Airalo’s rates to be very affordable compared to most international phone plans.
I recently became a Priority Pass member and I don’t think I can ever go back. Lounge access ends up saving me tons of money on airport food (yep, even as a vegan) and makes the overall travel experience so much better!
Credit Card with No foreign Transaction Fees + Cash
Check ahead of time to see if your debit and credit cards have foreign transaction fees. These pesky little fees can really add up over time. If you don’t already have a card without foreign transaction fees, consider applying for one.
I also recommend bringing cash. I typically bring about $40 USD in case of emergencies, and then pull out pesos from an ATM at the airport. While you can use card at many businesses throughout Mexico City, there are still a large handful that only accept cash.
My General Travel Essentials
Regardless of if I’m heading to Mexico City or somewhere else in the world, these are a few things I always brings when traveling. They may not be essentials for Mexico City, but they are essentials for me, and maybe they’ll be useful to you as well!
This mirrorless Sony is my baby! It is light weight and takes incredible photos (42.3 megapixels!)
This is my go-to travel lens due to its size, price, weight, and quality.
This jewelry organizer has been a game changer for me. It keeps my jewelry from tangling, it takes up virtually no room in my bag!
Swapping liquid shampoo for a shampoo bar saves space, makes airport security easier, and its a sustainable choice!
This solid vegan conditioner travels well and works wonders on the hair!
This highly-rated face wash bar saves space and is equivalent two two bottles!
I always bring facial sunscreen to protect from the powerful rays in CDMX!
The dry air in Mexico City quickly impacts my skin. To combat it, I pack a travel-size lotion.
Exploring the Roma Norte neighborhood on a recent trip to CDMX
Understanding Mexico City’s Seasons & Climate
When considering what to pack for Mexico City, it’s important to understand the city’s unique climate and seasons.
Mexico City located at a significant 7,350 feet above sea level (2240 meters). The city’s high altitude heavily impacts its climate and weather year round.
Many first time visitors to Mexico City expect the sweltering temperatures of Mexico’s beach towns, but are shocked to find the capital city’s weather to be much more variant. As I mentioned above, many mornings and evenings are chilly, while afternoons can be very hot.
The average temperatures don’t change too much throughout the seasons, with highs at 76°F (24°C) in July and at 72°F (22C°) in January, and lows ranging between 41°F (5°C) and 54°F (12°C) throughout the year.
One thing that does change throughout the season is the rain. The rainy season generally lasts through May or June to November. Mexico City still experiences plenty of sunshine and heat throughout the rainy season, but with an occasional cloudy day, and frequent downpours in the late afternoon and evenings.
If you’re packing for Mexico City during the rainy season, be sure to consider the rain.
Mexico City Essentials for Rainy Season
FAQ: Should you bring a rain jacket to Mexico City during the rainy season?
A rain jacket can be helpful, but you’ll be one of the only people wearing one. Most locals opt for umbrellas as they’re more affordable and do a better job of keeping your whole body dry.
During my recent trip to Mexico City during the rainy season, I brought a rain jacket but barely used it. In the future, I plan to only bring an umbrella.
Final Thoughts: Packing List Mexico City
I hope this Mexico City packing list helps as you prepare for your upcoming trip. As you plan your CDMX adventure, be sure to bookmark these other Mexico City travel guides for later reading:
★ What to Wear in Mexico City (for Men and Women)
★ How to Prepare for Your First Time in Mexico City
★ Mexico City in 4 Days: The Quintessential CDMX Itinerary
★ The Ultimate Guide to Roma Norte, Mexico City
★ 10 Best Views in Mexico City (Rooftop Bars + More)
★ The Best Xochimilco and Frida Kahlo Museum Tours
★ How to Ride the Mexico City CableBus As a Tourist
★ Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum Review + Guide
★ 39 Best Mexico City Vegan Restaurants by Neighborhood
By the way, what else would you add to this packing list for Mexico City? If there are any other items worth mentioning, please leave a comment below. I’d love to try out your suggestions on my next CDMX trip!