Packing Guide for All-Inclusive Resorts
Updated: Feb 4
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You may think packing for an all-inclusive resort vacation is as easy as throwing a few swimsuits and some nicer casual outfits into a suitcase. Yes, of course you need those things...but there is so much more to bring than just those items. Read on for our all-inclusive resort vacation packing guide and free PDF download.
First off, you'll need some good luggage to pack all of your things. I'm really liking hard side luggage vs. soft luggage especially for its durability and seemingly endless amount of space. Here are a few of my recommendations:
Samsonite Omni Hard Side Luggage
Samsonite 68311-2479 Omni Hardside Luggage Nested Spinner Set 20 Inch, 24 Inch, 28 Inch - Caribbean Blue Bundle w/Deco Gear Luggage Accessory Kit (10 Item)
The Samsonite Omni comes in lots of different colors and as you can see above, can often be bundled or sold as a set.
For kids, I highly recommend the Rockland Fashion Softside Upright Luggage Set, Charcoal, 2-Piece (14/19). This luggage set is a 19" carry on suitcase plus an overnight bag, often sold for under $40! This gives your kids the fun and freedom to pull their own luggage without breaking the bank. This set also comes in tons of different colors and patterns.
It doesn't have to be your dad's water shoes of old days, but I highly recommend you bring along a pair of water shoes for all members of the family. The beach in front of your resort may be a bit rocky OR perhaps you're going on an excursion where you're walking around a waterfall or like us, visiting a cenote or eco park. These excursions can be in rocky or slick locations and you'll want to have good footing, therefore water shoes are necessary.
These days there are so many more stylish and sleek water shoes for adults and super cute patterns for kids. Here are the ones that I ordered for myself in the orange/coral color:
Water Shoes Mens Womens Beach Swim Shoes Quick-Dry Aqua Socks Pool Shoes for Surf Yoga Water Aerobics
And I ordered these for my kids, sharks for my son and unicorns for my daughter:
HIITAVE Kids Water Shoes Non-Slip Quick Dry Swim Barefoot Beach Aqua Pool Socks for Boys & Girls Toddler
Waterproof Phone Case
If you plan on bringing your phone with you during excursions or want to take pool side photos, protect your phone with a waterproof phone. A case like the one below is not only lightweight yet durable, but it also still gives you touchscreen access when underwater and has a lanyard to go around your neck.
GoPro or similar active camera
I highly recommend a GoPro for your excursions! When we visited Aruba in 2019, we brought along our older GoPro but have since upgraded to the GoPro 9 (and recently they released the GoPro 10) and we are super excited to try it out on this upcoming trip to Mexico.
Here's a video of our trip to Aruba so you can see how well it works - even an older one! Just don't forget it like we did for our snorkel trip.
I can't wait to see what our GoPro 9 can do, especially with their stabilization capabilities. If you didn't notice, our GoPro footage was a little bit shaky.
GoPro Hero 10, if you feel like upgrading to the latest model
Resort Clothes / Dress Code Clothing
Be sure to check your resort's dress code for dinner! There may be some restaurants that require long pants, collared shirts, and/or close toe shoes so be sure to pack accordingly.
Bring along your own pool floats or risk paying highly inflated prices at the resort. Whether you prefer a tube or a lounger, buy them ahead of time and usually the towel hut or beach staff will blow them up for you. Don't forget to tip! Here are some great options:
Copies of Passports / Important Documents
I like to be ultra prepared so not only do I travel with copies of our passports in our bags, but I also keep a photo of them on my phone AND I give a copy to family back home....just in case. You never know what can happen and it's better to be over prepared then under.
If you're anything like me, I tend to get chilly pretty quickly so I like to bring along a light sweater for the restaurants. It may be HOT outside but your restaurants may be air conditioned and quite chilly in the evenings.
Insulated Cup and Straw of Choice
Bring along an insulated cup (think Yeti brand or similar) for bartenders to make your drinks in. These cups keep your drink ice cold and help slow down the melt on those frozen cocktails. Don't forget your straw of choice, whether it's silicone, metal, or plastic. Many resorts service paper straws or no straws at all (the island of Aruba had a ban on disposable plastic straws) so bring your own if you like to use one.
**Bonus tip: Bring along your own refillable water bottles. Many resorts have filtered water bottle stations and have switched to zero waste/low waste policies, like the Iberostar Selection Paraiso Maya we're visiting.
Join any resort Facebook group and most likely the number one complaint you'll see is about poolside towel reservations. There will be people waking up at 6:00am to head down to the pool to reserve their poolside loungers. Bring along some towel clips to hold your towels down and make it easier to locate your chairs. These are the ones I bought and love (bonus tip: I use them on our boat to secure our towels to the bimini so they can dry!)
Portable Phone Charger
For some reason phones seem to die a little faster in the heat. Bring along a portable phone charger to have on-the-go charging capabilities. Something like this 2 pack on Amazon should work perfectly; just remember to bring it in your carry-on!
Reef Safe Sunblock (and PLENTY of it!)
Think about how much sunblock you think you need and double it....and make sure it's reef safe. The sun is a lot more potent as you get closer to the equator and you'll go through more sunblock than you realize. Resorts have it for sale on site but you'll pay a pretty penny for that convenience. Bring along plenty so you don't spend your vacation looking like a lobster. I really like Sun Bum brand plus it smells so good, like a beach vacation in a bottle. I typically use SPF 50.
Surge Protector and/or Extension Cord
Lots of resorts only give you one or two outlets in your room and with all of our techie items, we need lots of charging ports. Grab a surge protector or extension cord to make it easier to charge your phone, GoPro, and portable charger at the same time.
Not always necessary as you'll typically have snorkel gear available for rent or included in your excursion, but if you have your own gear I highly recommend bringing it. You may have opportunities to snorkel right off the beach of your resort so having your own gear makes it that much easier. My oldest daughter (20), has and loves this snorkel set below. It comes in tons of colors and is super well made and sturdy, plus it comes with a carry bag.
For kids, I purchased the full face snorkel masks for them and they practiced in the pool this summer. The full masks give children excellent visibility in the water without having to worry about a mask and snorkel. These are the ones I bought (kid tip: buy a different color for each kid!):
Click below to download a printable PDF copy of my packing list.
Let us know in the comments anything else you would add to this list for your all-inclusive vacation!