Tips for First-timers from Seasoned Cancun Travelers

Travel TipsAfter my mom’s first trip to Cancun to visit me here in Cancun, she told me there were many things that she would do differently on her next trip. I thought, WOW, I should really have these things on my website as tips for first-time travelers!

So what are the things everyone should remember when packing, planning and traveling to Cancun or the Riviera Maya? Well, I’ve lived here too long and I am not really “on vacation” here, so I wondered who would know best about these things? Former vacationers to Cancun of course! So to my customers that have been to Cancun AND bought the t-shirt, I asked for their advice on these topics and any other things they thought first-timers might find helpful:
• Things to bring on the plane with you
• What to pack
• Do I need pesos?
• Getting around Cancun and the Riviera Maya
• Whether to go All Inclusive or not
• Is Cancun safe?
• Can you drink the water?

These are some of the responses I received.

  • Plan at least one day-trip out of the hotel to see a historical site.
  • Try one of the downtown Cancun restaurants one evening.
  • Try scuba diving or snorkeling. The underwater world is amazing.
  • Bring less than you think as far as clothing.
  • The public buses are safe and an affordable mode of transportation.
  • If you are drinking, take a taxi (barter taxi price before you get in).
  • Don’t buy souvenirs at the airport (they are over-priced).
  • It’s always good to have some pesos just in case, but make sure you spend them before you leave. You can use pesos for tips.
  • Use sunscreen even if you think you don’t need any.
  • If you buy liquor at the duty free shop at the airport be prepared to transfer it into your luggage if you do not have a direct flight.
  • Be patient at the customs area..don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Pack cotton clothing, its cooler.
  • Sunglasses are a must. If you forget yours there are lots of people selling them cheap.
  • If traveling with kids, bring them something to snack on and toys to play with on the plane.
  • Bring a book, cross-word puzzle or ear buds to plug into the planes TV system.
  • Bring chewing gum to help with ear pressure during take-off & landing.
  • USD are fine to spend in Cancun, you don’t need a lot of pesos.
  • Don’t bring anything larger than $50 dollar bills as they are harder to spend / break.
  • Pack one nice outfit because some restaurants have a dress code.
  • Ride the bus anywhere in the Hotel Zone for less than $1 USD.
  • Cancun is safer than most cities in the United States.
  • Drink bottled water, it is available everywhere. Almost all restaurants serve bottle water.
  • Turn off your data roaming! If you forget the charges you incur will be astronomical. Even if you don’t use it, your phone will still retrieve data and charge you for it.

Also, check out my Packing Checklist for more info.

Do you have a travel tip to add to our list? Email me!

Packing List Guidelines

When packing for your Cancun vacation, be sure to prepare your checked luggage and carry-on luggage properly. This will help avoid delays at the airport and will make security check-in a breeze.

Packing List Guidelines
Know the 3-1-1 rule. This rule applies to CARRY ON luggage. You can have your liquids and gels in 3 ounce bottles (no bigger).  All of your 3 oz. bottles need to fit inside 1 Quart-size zip lock bag. Each traveler is allowed 1 zip lock per carry on luggage only.

Now that you know the 3-1-1 rule, let’s start packing!

First, check out our Packing List. Next, let’s prepare for the flight.  Here are some great travel tips:

1. Wear slip-on sandals that are easy off and on. This can save a ton of time while you remove and replace your shoes at the airport security.

2. Bring a word puzzle or book.  3 hours or more on a flight is a lot of time to kill.

3. Bring a travel pillow and blanket or jacket. The inside temp is difficult to control. On one flight I was freezing, and on the next I was sweating. Be prepared for both.

4. Wear layers. This way you can remove your jacket or sweater when you arrive to the much warmer climates of Mexico.

5. Bring earbuds to listen to the in-flight videos, weather & movies.

Our friends at have made this great little video about the items most people forget to pack:

If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear from you!