How to Pack for Adventure Travel in Mexico (Females)

I’m heading to Baja California Sur (Cabo San Lucas – the tip of the Baja peninsula) first thing tomorrow morning and wanted to share with you what I’m packing and why. Our trip is short, just one week long, and we plan to participate in a lot of adventure and casual activities, including:

Arch of Cabo
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • “Un-cruising”
  • Walking
  • Camping
  • Dining
  • Cocktail hours
We’ll be going from Los Cabos up to Loreto and everywhere in between (El Pescadero, Todos Santos, La Paz). Because of the nature of this trip and the transportation we will have, I am opting to bring a carry-on suitcase instead of a backpack to haul my stuff. GASP. Yes, even I own a suitcase. I actually love an opportunity to pack in a suitcase, it makes me feel like I’m going on vacation.
A typical carry-on size suitcase contains more than enough space for a week’s worth of clothing and adventure gear, so I will also readily admit that I’m packing entirely too much for this trip. I could get by on a lot less in a 30L pack, but since I can take a suitcase, I might as well pack it up.
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Here’s what I’m bringing

Packing for Mexico
Now let’s break it down.
Related: Ninja Packing Tips: Packing List for Europe in Just a 30L Backpack
Adventure/Sports clothes – for surfing, kayaking, hiking, etc., I go to my favorite running clothes and beachwear:
Adventure clothing

  • 2 workout capris
  • 1 pair of yoga leggings (for chilly nights and flying days)
  • 2 running skirts
  • 1 beach skirt (quick-drying, easy to slip over a bikini) (Noosa Skirt from Carve Designs)
  • 2 bikinis and 1 extra skirt bottom because I love it and I want to surf in a skirt (Tamarindo and Catalina Bikinis, Playa bottom from Carve Designs)
  • 1 tight-fitting workout top with cap sleeves – specifically to use as a rash guard for surfing (I don’t have a real one and last time I surfed, ouch)
  • 2 cotton tank tops
  • 1 running tank top
  • 1 Smartwool long sleeve (a perfect warm layer for traveling)
  • 1 running jacket (polyester, lightweight but warm)
  • 1 lightweight long sleeve activewear pullover
  • flip flops (of course)
  • running shoes (I prefer running shoes to hiking shoes, so these are a great choice for me to be able to do it all)

Related: The Best Travel Skirt Ever
Casual/Nice clothes – for dinners, cocktail hours, sunset cruises, etc. (notice how these can all be interchangeable)
Casual travel clothes

  • 1 pair skinny jeans
  • 1 pair skinny crop pants
  • 1 nice cotton tank top
  • 1 tube top
  • 1 lightweight and versatile dress
  • gladiator sandals that will match everything (Target!)

Related: The 3 Best Travel Shoes for Women
Gadgets – electronics, toiletries, etc.
Adventure travel gadgets

  • dry bag (for kayaking, etc.)
  • stuffable daypack (this thing stuffs into its own pocket and unfolds to be a great little day backpack)
  • scarf (just never know when you’ll need one)
  • sarong (for boats and beaches, I’m not into towels)
  • toiletries (sunscreen, soaps – all TSA-accepted sizes for carry-on)
  • makeup bag (for all the little things – ear plugs, hair things, mascara, mirror, etc.)
  • baseball cap
  • 3 best shoes for this trip, as defined by this post
  • cameras, accessories, and chargers (GoPro, Canon EOS M – read my EOS M review here)
  • sunglasses and regular glasses
  • passport with an international certificate of vaccination (I don’t leave home without it anymore)
  • wallet complete with my credit card that charges 0% foreign transaction fees and my Charles Schwab debit card that charges $0 ATM fees
  • iPod and headphones (call me old school)

Related: How to Pack for a Year in a Carry On
I am also bringing a notebook and laptop because I’ll be working and a GoPro extendo pole that I recently found on Amazon and already love. I added one long tank top and a cotton t-shirt for traveling, it’s my go-to travel outfit with my yoga leggings and Smartwool top, and I will wear my running shoes and jacket and scarf in transit as well.
Don’t forget to “pack” something to listen to: 50 Songs About Travel and Adventure: A BMT Community Playlist
Since I’m carrying everything on and not checking a bag, I don’t need to decide what to split up for the flight, I will just pack my over-the-shoulder purse lightly with whatever I will use on the plane.