It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is just around the corner, there’s snow and it’s minus 10 degrees. Unless of course you’re one of the lucky ones that get to escape to warmer weather. This year, my family went to Mexico to escape the cold and travelling to Mexico with a one year old is no easy feat.
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Do I need a Visa to travel to Mexico?
If you are travelling to Mexico from Canada, the only travel documentation you need is a valid passport. Canada and the United States are among the 67 countries that are exempt from a visa to enter Mexico. Make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to get a passport for your baby. Sometimes during the busy season, Passport Canada can take weeks to months to process your application. We had ours done when our daughter was around 8 months.
TIP // I’ve found that Costco has the best price for passport photos. They have a lot of experience with getting a good photo with babies as well.
1) Look at resort amenities
When picking the best resort, we looked for one that was baby-friendly. Water quality, activities, price and resort features all played a big role in which resort we decided to go to. We ended up choosing the Now Sapphire Riviera. The resort had a dedicated water filtration system which was great for washing bottles, jars of baby food and high chairs were aplenty at the buffet, and the rooms had good air conditioning along with cribs (more like playpens) available.
2) Book a flight during a nap
Try and schedule your flight around a nap. This will buy you a couple of hours of quiet so you can take a nap too or at least sit in peace and quiet. Either way, be sure to bring lots of toys to entertain your baby on the plane as you can only walk around it so much.
3) Call your doctor before you leave
Check with your doctor if there are any immunizations they would recommend before you leave. As our daughter was just under a year, she hadn’t received her one year old shots yet. We ended up getting a couple shots early just in case.
4) Request a room on the first floor
Most resorts don’t have elevators. Lugging your 20+ pound baby and stroller up and down flights of stairs will get tiring real quick. My sister came with us and didn’t request a room. She got the top floor. She doesn’t have a baby though so that was okay but imagine if she did.
5) Request a room not too far but not too close either
Look at the resort map and request a room away from the main attractions so you don’t hear fireworks or the nightly entertainment music but also not too far away so you have to walk an additional 10-15 minutes every time you need to head back for a nap or grab something from the room. (Trust me, you’ll be making many trips even if you bring your stroller and stuff your diaper bag.)
6) Bring the grandparents or friends
Though this is obviously optional, your trip will be so much more enjoyable if you have help so you can actually enjoy a meal together without having to rush out because the baby is bored. We were lucky to travel with the grandparents and were able to take turns having dinner and trying the a la carte restaurants during our stay. The grandparents also got some quality one-on-one time with the baby. Win-win!
7) Think about kid entertainment
One of the hardest things with travelling with a baby or toddler is entertaining them through the airport and on the plane. Have a game plan ready with your kit of toys to entertain a one year old easily accessible for the trip.
AIRPORT TIP #1 // Most airlines don’t count your diaper bag as a carry-on. So you can have your diaper bag AND a carry-on. Feel free to load up your diaper bag with all the extra diapers, clothes, snacks and toys you think you will need.
AIRPORT TIP #2 // When it comes to passing security with baby stuff, they let you bring pretty much anything. Don’t worry about your frozen breast milk, formula or baby food pouches meeting the 100 ml limit, if it’s necessary for the baby, they will let it pass.
Deciding whether to bring your car seat
We thought about bringing our car seat to Mexico. A car seat is not required in Mexican taxis and though we did notice other families bringing one, we opted not to since our car ride to the resort was only ten minutes away and we didn’t plan on leaving the resort during our stay. If you are lucky, some transport cars actually have car seats available. One was offered to us on the way back to the airport. It doesn’t hurt to check with your transport provider to see what they have available.
Best bottle solution when travelling to Mexico
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, then you don’t have to worry about bringing bottles. However as we were bottle feeding, a big concern we had when we travelled to Mexico was deciding what bottles to bring. There were a few solutions that came into our minds:
- Bring our normal bottles and a tub to wash the bottles in. This would require bringing the cleaning supplies as well as the tub which could be awkward to pack in our luggage.
- Bring ready-to-feed formula with disposable nipples. This would be a lot to pack and seemed a little wasteful.
- Bring bottles with disposable liners. This way we only need to wash the nipples after each use.
We opted for option 3. Our resort actually didn’t provide a kettle in the room so we brought a portable kettle with us to boil bottled water. It might have been overkill to boil the bottle water but our baby also likes her milk warm so this helped with that as well. Using the disposable liners solution worked very well for us and minimized the amount of packing (and weight) of our luggage.
TIP // If you are bringing breastmilk or plan on pumping and keeping milk in the minifridge, you could use the coffee maker to warm the milk up the traditional way.
Things you should bring to Mexico
Here is a list of things that you should pack when you go to Mexico or any all-inclusive resort.
I never understood why they call these umbrella strollers. Perhaps it’s because when it folds up, the handles are like a double umbrella? A stroller of some sort was almost a requirement for us on this trip. Even if your baby is fully walking, a stroller will come in handy when they get tired. You also never know how far your room is from the beach or buffets. We used our stroller all the time and with a 20+ pound baby, this really helped.
This was a wonderful item to have in Mexico. Our room only had a shower so it would have been difficult to wash our daughter without this tub. It folds up flat and also doubles as a fun mini-pool in case the water at the beach isn’t proper for swimming. Our daughter loved playing in this at one year old.
If you plan on going to the pool, bring this with you. It was great to have our daughter float around and the canopy provided great coverage from the sun exposure. It folds flat and comes with a bag so you can just throw it on top of your luggage.
Sun exposure is high in Mexico so sunscreen is a must. We used almost an entire bottle during our one-week stay. I recommend testing the sunscreen before you leave as some babies have sensitive skin to some brands. We loved the Thinkbaby brand and it worked well for our daughter.
The mosquitoes are out and plenty in Mexico. With Zika being a huge concern, we made sure we brought the best stuff for this. We wanted to stay away from DEET on the baby so we opted to use an essential oil bug spray concoction to take with us. We also purchased electronic bug repellents that we clipped on to the stroller that uses sound waves to repel the bugs. When we left Mexico, the bug bite count was zero for our baby, four for dad and nine for mom (they love my blood type). I actually sprayed this everywhere and the bites that I got were on parts that I didn’t spray well (e.g. my feet).
Over the counter medication
Pack the usual suspects before you leave, you never know what could happen when you are away. We had Tylenol, Gravol, Benadryl, Camilia, Coryzalia, Tums, and Pepto with us. We only brought a few pills of each along with a quick sheet with the dosage amounts.
We did end up using this on our trip as our daughter caught a cold on the first day. This was handy so she would actually be able to nap and sleep at night. I personally recommend the Snottie. It has a softer tip than the nose frida, doesn’t require filters, comes with a storage case, and they use medical grade silicone.
I forgot to bring a baby carrier so I suppose this is optional as I survived without one but it would have made my life much easier. A baby carrier is great for the airport or on numerous occasions when my daughter didn’t want to be in her stroller or wanted to be held so she could see everything. At one year old, she was beginning to walk but also in the “fear of strangers” stage so a baby carrier could have saved some screaming moments.
This can double as the crib and a playpen for the beach/room. Check with your hotel to see if they provide them. Most will have one but I know not all resorts supply them so check before you leave.
Bring some zip lock bags before you leave for Mexico so you can pack some snacks during the day from the buffet. They are great to have with you everywhere (even for adults).
The mosquitos are plenty in Mexico. These are great for naps or at night to prevent your little one from getting bit. This one is cheap enough that even if you leave it in Mexico, it’s no biggie.
Baby life jacket (optional – only if you go on excursions)
The resort will likely not have any baby life jackets available so be sure to bring your own if you decide you want to go on any water excursions with the baby. They are bulky but safety first right?
Baby Monitor (optional)
We didn’t bring our baby monitor as she never slept in the pack and play but this would be great so you can read on the balcony or if you’re lucky and get a room by the beach or pool, go for a swim while the baby is napping.
Sound Machine (optional)
You never know where your room is going to be located. It could be beside a wedding reception or maybe you forgot to request a room and you got placed near the nightly entertainment. A sound machine might be a lifesaver in that case to help drown out all of that noise and give both you and your baby a good night’s sleep.
Other items to pack for a baby in Mexico
- Onesies (at least 1-2 per day of your trip)
- Sleepers (at least 1 per day of your trip – if you don’t plan on having the A/C on or if you are staying at a resort that doesn’t have great A/C, you might not need to use these)
- Sleep sack (low tog 0.5 or 1.5, or Woolino)
- A blanket or light jacket during the night
- At least two swim suits for the baby (preference to long sleeve rashguards)
- Hats (look for ones that drape over the neck in the back for additional coverage)
- Afterbite for when you inevitably get bit (for you, not baby hopefully)
- Portable feeding set
- Sand toys
- Squeeze pouches for snacks/plane/airport
- Rice Rusks or Gerber puffs for snacks
- Formula (if not breastfeeding)
- Diapers and wipes (bring extra!)
Some other tips for travelling to Mexico with a baby
1) Ask for a gate check tag when you check your luggage
If this is your first time travelling with a stroller, ask for the gate check tag when you check in your luggage. This is different than actually checking your stroller in as you would with luggage. Then you can walk your stroller straight to the plane and have your stroller waiting for you at the gate when you land. Don’t forget to bring a gate check bag as not all airlines provide them. (Or forgo this if you don’t mind your stroller getting banged up.)
2) Have snacks ready/breastfeed during take-off and landing
The ear pressure changes will have your little one screaming. Encourage them to eat/chew something during these key times. Wait until you are actually in the air before you do this otherwise they will already be full when the pressure actually changes.
3) When in doubt, pack more
It’s better to have too much than not enough in Mexico. We tried to hand wash some of our daughter’s clothes while we were there but the humidity left the clothes damp even after leaving in the sun all day long. You’d be surprised how often you’ll need to change them!
4) Remove stroller attachments at the gate
Our stroller arrived in one piece, in great condition and with nothing missing on the way to Mexico. On the way back, we lost one of the stroller attachments. Remember to remove these at the gate check before you board the plane if you like any of your stroller attachments.