Whether you’re still dreaming about your next trip or actively planning it, using the right tools and gear can save you time and money, and keep you safe!
Over the years, I’ve really honed my travel planning and packing processes to find reliable products and service providers that make traveling within Mexico both easier and cheaper.
From organizing flights and hotels to what I put in my bags, the following are some of my favorite travel tools and products. I hope they will be as useful to you as they are for me!
Note: This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. That said, I promise I’m recommending these services because I use them, trust them, and I believe they are of value to you!
Skyscanner allows you to search an entire month to discover which days will be the cheapest to travel.
If you don’t know where you want to go, select “anywhere” and Skyscanner will find the lowest airfares to destinations around the world. If there’s a destination you want to monitor, sign up for email alerts and Skyscanner will send notifications of price changes right to your inbox. Pretty handy right?
A rental car offers a great way to explore lesser-known and harder-to-reach destinations within Mexico. It will also allow you full control over your schedule! DiscoverCars.com searches across a myriad of rental car providers to show you the best deals.
The prices display the full rate, including any extra fees that some search engines leave out. This makes it easy to find the best rates on rental cars without unpleasant surprises when you reach the rental counter.
Mexico’s long-haul bus systems is one of the cheapest, easiest, and safest ways to get around within the country. Unfortunately, many of Mexico’s awesome bus companies have extremely sub-par websites and some won’t even accept foreign credit cards.
Busbud is the perfect work around. It’s a ticket aggregator that accepts foreign credit cards and enables you to purchase your bus travel online. Plus, the website is in English!
Working out transportation routes can be a huge challenge, but Rome2rio makes it easier! Input your starting point and your destination and this website will show you all the different ways to get there along with the approximate times and costs of each transportation method. If you’re ever wondering whether it’s better to bus or fly, Rome2rio will help you decide!
If you’re looking for a private airport transfer in the Riviera Maya, this company is my top pick. They have excellent customer service, competitive rates, and comfortable vehicles. Whether you need to go from the airport to Cancun proper, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum, they’ve got you covered. And they’re pet friendly!
Booking has become my favorite tool for finding and reserving hotels. Their search functionality is great and they have a wide selection of boutique properties, chains, and independent accommodations. And their Genius program makes it easy to save money on reservations if you travel frequently.
Hostelworld is an excellent way to find affordable accommodation in Mexico. They have listings for proper hostels as well as inexpensive hotels and guest houses. Plus, their review feature shows the ages of reviewers, making it easy to determine which properties cater to a range of ages and which seem to attract a younger crowd.
Expedia is a great tool for booking vacation packages, as they make it easy to bundle flights, accommodation, and transportation. They aren’t my number one pick anymore, as I tend to use Skyscanner & Booking.com more frequently, but I do think Expedia is a great place to find deals on resorts and all-inclusives.
Travel insurance is a must when you’re outside of your home country. You never know what could happen and it’s always best to be prepared. SafetyWing offers a wide range of coverage for everything from trip interruption, medical emergencies, and more. They specialize in long-term coverage making them a great option for digital nomads or those of us hoping to take advantage of Mexico’s 180-day tourist visa.
Depending on your travel style, a VPN may be of interest to you. A VPN masks your IP address and browsing information to protect you from threats online. They are especially important when using a public WiFi connection. If you’ll be doing any banking, making online purchases (such as travel reservations), or sharing anything at all that you wouldn’t want to be accessed by strangers, a VPN will protect you. Plus, they make it easy to stream all your favorite TV shows from back home (a big perk when living abroad).
As someone who frequently works from public WiFi, I use ExpressVPN all the time to protect my connection. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, and gives me peace of mind.
Unless you’re confident in your Spanish abilities, a phrasebook is a really great tool to have. Lonely Planet’s Mexico Spanish phrasebook contains all the essentials as well as tons of colloquial phrases that many books overlook.
Further Reading: 20 Essential Phrases to Know for Mexico Travel
My microfiber towel from PackTowl has been one of my favorite purchases and I go almost everywhere with it. It’s lightweight and compact and it dries super fast. It comes in a neat little carry pouch, making it easy to pack.
I often use it as a pillow, a blanket, and, of course, for a beach towel. If you’re headed somewhere that you are confident will provide towels (like a resort) you may not need a travel towel, but otherwise, it’s really nice to have.
A reusable water bottle is a must for Mexico. Since the tap water isn’t potable in most parts of the country, locals rely on bottled water. If you carry a reusable bottle you’ll be able to refill it from the 5-gallon jugs (called garrafones) found in your accommodation. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck purchasing single-use bottles as you go. For this reason, I carry a HydroFlask with me everywhere.
A reusable shopping bag has all kinds of practical applications while traveling in Mexico. For one, it helps you avoid single-use plastic bags from grocery stores and market stalls. It can also handy to use as a beach carry-all, a laundry bag, or as a way to carry on the souvenirs that you can’t fit in your suitcase on your way home.
Any reusable bag will do, but my favorite is my Baggu bag. It’s super strong and folds down into a small pouch that I can stick in my purse or backpack when I’m out and about.
I highly recommend carrying an anti-theft purse while traveling. It will give you so much peace of mind knowing that your valuables are protected while you’re out and about, especially if you’re a solo traveler.
I have a Travelon Hobo Crossbody bag and, while I don’t always use all the anti-theft features, I do when I’m in crowded spaces or big cities (especially Mexico City). If an anti-theft purse isn’t in your budget at the moment, at minimum carry a crossbody bag as it will be much harder for someone to snatch it away from you.
A portable battery charger is super handy for keeping your devices charged. You may not need it every day of your trip, but it’s good to have on hand for travel days.
Keeping your phone battery charged enables you to make reservations on the go, use Google translate, and track your location. For solo travelers, a portable power bank ensures your phone battery is charged so you can call for help if needed.
Browse my collection of packing posts for tips and advice related to your chosen destination or travel style.