10 Tips for What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico + Airplane Outfits

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Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 07:11 pm

You’re packing for your Mexican vacation when it dawns on you that you’re not sure what to wear on the plane to Mexico.

You’re traveling in the winter months, and it’s cold where you are. But it will be hot in Mexico when you get off the plane.

It’s an international flight, but unlike flights to Europe, it’s not overnight. So you won’t be jetlagged or need to sleep on the plane.

Oklahoma - OKC Airport - What to wear on the plane to Mexico - Photo by Stephanie Craig
Always have a jacket – even if you’re wearing a tank top!

But there are consequences to making the wrong choice. Dress wrong, and you could end up sweaty, freezing, or, even worse, kicked off the flight!

But don’t worry! While deciding what to wear on a plane to Mexico might seem a little confusing at first, if you follow these tips (including how to avoid my past mistakes) and dress for your flight to Mexico carefully, your trip will be a smooth one.

Read next: My complete Mexico Packing List or Cozumel Packing List

Can’t read now? Pin for later!

What to wear on the plane to Mexico

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2024

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

5 Most Popular Tours in Mexico

Heading to Mexico? There are so many great things to see and do here! These are the five most popular Mexican tours and day trips to help you get started planning your trip!

See also
13 Tips for What to Wear to Chichen Itza + Outfit Ideas Plus What to Bring

From Cancún/Riviera Maya: Chichén Itzá, Valladolid & Cenote Tour

Camel Outback Adventure and Eco Farm from Los Cabos

Teotihuacan, Shrine of Guadalupe & Tlatelolco Day Tour (Mexico City)

3-in-1 Discovery Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves

Mexico City: Full-Day Hop-on/Hop-off Bus Tour

What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico: Tips + Tricks

Here we go!

Dress in Layers

Dressing in layers is the most important piece of advice for planning what to wear on a flight to Mexico. If you walk away from this post only remembering one thing – let it be this!

But what do I mean by layers, exactly? And why are they so crucial?

Well, when you leave for the airport for your Mexico vacay, depending on where you’re flying from, it can be pretty cold.

Oklahoma - Oklahoma City - Will  Rogers Airport - Jordan with Snacks - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to wear on the plane to mexico
Airport layers are just as important as airport snacks!

But depending on your final destination in Mexico, it can be downright tropical when you land.

It was below freezing when I left the US during my most recent trip to Mexico. But it was in the mid-eighties when we landed in Cozumel.

That’s a temperature swing of over fifty degrees Fahrenheit in a few short hours!

As if that wasn’t confusing to our systems enough, the air conditioning on the flight to Cozumel was going full throttle.

For layers, you want to be able to add and subtract warmth at will, even during your flight. And you want them to be light layers that you can keep making adjustments to until you are comfortable.

Keep safety in mind when deciding on what’s appropriate for your warmest layers. You don’t want to have exposure issues before you even make it to your gate!

Oklahoma - Oklahoma City - Will Rogers Airport - Pops - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to wear on plane to mexico
Leaving the OKC airport for Cozumel

If you do need heavy coats, gloves, and scarves for safety, wear them! But see if you can leave them in the car instead of lugging them onto the plane.

See also
101 Things to Bring to Cozumel: Packing List for What to Wear & What to Bring to Cozumel

Your final airport outfit should be able to withstand getting into the airport comfortably, plus time outside if your home or connecting airports use shuttles to get passengers to and from the gate.

See the section below for specific outfit ideas!

Have a Place to Shed Your Layers

This is clutch – you don’t want to have to drag around bulky winter clothes in your arms. That’s only slightly better than being stuck wearing them the whole time.

You need sleek, light layers that can be combined because these items are also easier to store.

Leave room in your personal item to stash these items as you go.

Serbia - Belgrade - Day Bag Pacsafe - photo by Stephanie Craig | best day bag for Cozumel
Make sure you have room in your personal item for the layers you’re going to shed!

Don’t plan on storing these in your carry-on bag. They need to be able to go in the bag under the seat in front of you so that you can subtract or add layers to adjust to the plane’s temperature.

You may not have access to your carry-on during your flight if you are forced to gate-check it or if you have to store it in an overhead bin far away from your seat.

To ensure you’ll be fine, check the allowed dimensions for personal items with your airline. Then pack your personal item with everything you intend on bringing in it.

Finally, put your entire plane outfit inside except for your bottom layers.

Does everything fit? Is it light enough to carry through an airport with ease? Is your bag still small enough that you can put it under the seat in front of you?

If yes, then you’re all set!

If not, rethink your outfit or see if some of the other items in your bag can be shifted to another piece of your luggage.

Make Sure all Variations of Your Outfit Meet Your Airline’s Dress Code

Here’s where flying to and from Mexico gets tricky – sometimes travelers from the colder parts of North America in the US and Canada can be a bit..well…overzealous.

See also
17 MUSA Cancun Tips: Planning a Visit to the Underwater Museum in Cancun (Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum)

They’ve been so cold for so many months, and now they want to be out in the sun. Young, wild, and free, if you will.

And so they make a crucial mistake. They dress way too skimpy.

Or they make group shirts that have offensive language on them.

Malta - souvenir t-shirt - photo by Stephanie Craig | what not to wear on a plane
Salty language on your shirt can get you kicked off your flight – even if it’s meant to be a joke!

They may not even be aware that airlines have dress codes. But airlines have the final word on what you can wear on the flight.

Sometimes these negligent passengers get asked to change clothes by flight attendants, but sometimes they get kicked off the flight.

Don’t let this happen to you!

If your outfit includes offensive language, revealing attire, or bare feet, it probably goes against your airline’s dress code.

Pack these Mexico Flight Essentials in Your Personal Item

You want to have enough space in your personal item to hold the clothing you intend to shed, plus some other essentials for your flight.

Toddler holding a tablet on a flight from the USA to Mexico - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to take on a flight to Mexico
If you want a tablet to use on the plane, make sure it’s in your personal item!

You will want to have access to:

flight information (either a hard copy, soft copy, or stored on your airline’s app)

travel insurance information

passport

waterproof passport holder 

travel documents

cell phone

cell phone charger

portable charger

a wallet that has RFIDsafe technology

ATM cards

credit cards

a small amount of cash

sun hat if arriving during the day

travel umbrella (especially during the rainy season)

sunglasses

Mexico - Cozumel - Lonely Planet Cancun Cozumel and the Yucatan - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to bring on a flight to Mexico
Reading my guidebook on my iPad on the plane to Mexico

Lonely Planet Mexico guidebook (or regional guidebook like the Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan, etc)

For your personal item, you can use a day bag, beach bag, or tote bag.

I like to use a daypack and pack a tote bag in my luggage to pull out during the trip.

Then I let my tote bag double as a beach bag.

El Salvador - Juayua - Stephanie Backpack - photo by Stephanie Craig | best day pack for Cozumel Mexico
This is the day bag I took on my most recent flight to Mexico

These are the three personal items bags I have used during travel in Mexico:

Large Longchamp

Pacsafe Citysafe 

Venture Pal

Good to know: If you are bringing a laptop or tablet (or both), these should go in your personal item as well.

Pack these Mexico Travel Essentials in Your Carry-on Bag or Checked Luggage

There are some items you want to bring to Mexico that you do not need to have access to during your flight or immediately after.

See also
Best Quotes about Mexico City, Mexico

These items can be safely packed in your checked luggage or your carry-on. If you are flying carry-on only, keep TSA restrictions in mind and bring only travel-size liquids.

Mexico - Cozumel - Colonial Suites Hotel - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to pack in your carryon for a flight to Mexico
Anything I don’t need during the flight gets packed in my carryon since I don’t usually check a bag when flying to Mexico

I like to organize my carry-on and checked luggage into packing cubes. This will make it so much easier if you do end up needing to grab something from these bags quickly.

reef-safe sunscreen 

swimsuit (pick the bathing suits that will make you the most comfortable)

cover-ups

personal snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, and fins)

small purse (look for anti-theft tech like this Pacsafe crossbody bag)

water shoes

The Best Shoes to Wear on a Flight to Mexico

It’s important that the shoes you wear serve you well in the airport, on the flight, and once you land. Since I only advise you to take two or three pairs of shoes total, the ones you wear on the plane need to serve double duty.

You want shoes that are comfy, easy to get on and off in the airport security line, and sturdy enough to withstand the cobblestone streets of Mexico’s historic cities.

And while you want comfortable shoes, it’s better to go with a closed-toe shoe or supportive sandal at the airport than flip-flops (though you can stash a pair in your personal item).

Mexico - Cozumel - Jordan and Valentine Getting on the Plane - photo by Stephanie Craig | shoes to wear on the plane to mexico
Sneakers and close-toed shoes that are comfy are your best bets for shoes to wear on the plane

Sneakers are another great option, as long as you can maneuver them quickly in airport security.

For sturdy sandals, I like Birkenstocks or Tevas. Both hold up after long flights (as long as they are well broken in before you leave).

If you do want flip-flops, get this version with arch support.

Avoid going with Uggs (or knock-off Uggs) or any other warm-weather shoe. Your feet will be sweating in no time, and these are hard to stash in your bag.

Instead, wear warm wool socks with sneakers, and then swap to moisture-wicking performance socks en route.

See also
101 Things to Bring to Mexico: Complete Packing List for Mexico + What to Wear

Or you can switch to compression socks if you are worried about blood clots and DVT.

Pro tip: if you wear sandals or open-toed shoes, bring a pair of socks in case your feet are cold on the plane after take off.

What Not to Wear on the Plane to Mexico

We’ve already discussed how you need to follow your airline’s dress code for your flight, but is there anything else you shouldn’t wear?

Skip anything tight and uncomfortable, including uncomfortable bras.

Mexico - Cozumel - Grand Park Royal Cozumel All-Inclusive Resort - View of Cruise Ship at Sunset - photo by Stephanie Craig | what not to bring on a flight to Mexico
I lost a wedding band while watching this sunset. Don’t bring expensive valuables or wear them on the plane!

Don’t wear valuable jewelry (or pack any other valuables). Leave them at home.

If you have an expensive wedding or engagement ring, you can wear a less expensive one or a decoy.

I lost a wedding band in Cozumel before. Luckily, I was wearing a cheap wedding band and not my engagement ring which was a family heirloom.

Travel Outfit Ideas for Your Flight to Mexico

So what you should wear for your flight? Here are ideas for women and men.

What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico for Women

Go-to airplane outfits include t-shirts and tank tops with long pants. Make sure the fabric on the pants is breathable.

Over this, you can layer a long sleeve t-shirt, a cardigan or kimono, and a jacket.

Another tried-and-true combo is a dress with leggings. You can choose yoga leggings or regular leggings.

Wear a dress that’s long enough that you can remove the leggings when you land (if needed).

If you have chub rub issues, bring a pair of bicycle shorts to wear underneath once your leggings are off.

Add a light sweater or cardigan and a light jacket on top of the dress if coming from somewhere cold.

If you opt for a maxi dress over a sundress, you should still put leggings on underneath it or have them handy in case you need to add them.

Washington - Kennewick - Hampton Inn - Mirror Selfie - photo by Stephanie Craig | plane outfit ideas for Mexico
I wore this PrettyGarden jumpsuit on the plane and loved it. The plane was cold, so glad to have the jacket on top!

If you wear something like this jumpsuit (which I wore on the plane to El Salvador), bring two options for a sweater/cardigan/jacket combo if you are cold.

See also
23 Best Souvenirs from Mexico City: Gifts for Yourself and Your Loved Ones!

Jean jackets make a great top layer for any outfit since they won’t look out of place in Mexico when you’re in air-conditioned restaurants and other artificially cold places.

Jean jackets are also low maintenance, so even if you have it stuffed in a bag, it should look relatively wrinkle-free should you need to wear it.

You can bring one that goes down to your waist or a  cropped version.

Other good jacket options include rain jackets that can be easily tucked away.

Another great item to have with you is a pashmina, since this will provide warmth but won’t look out of place in Mexico since it’s not an exclusively cold-weather accessory.

If you are coming from somewhere cold, you can add a fleece-lined hat and fleece-lined leggings.

Pro tip: bring a light jacket, even if you’re flying from somewhere warm.

Planes, airports, and Mexican businesses can be very cold if the air conditioning is blasting!

What to Wear on the Flight to Mexico for Men

Men should wear an undershirt, a lightweight shirt, and a light jacket. You can also bring a long sleeve t-shirt if you need to add another layer of warmth.

For bottoms, wear long, breathable pants instead of shorts.

For your jacket, bring a rain jacket that can pull double duty on the ground, or a jean jacket.

Mexico - Cozumel - Airport - Landing in Cozumel - Valentine and Jordan - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to pack for Cozumel
Landing in Cozumel

Pro tip: bring a jacket, even if you are traveling from somewhere warm.

You will want it for cold restaurants, cold tour buses on day trips to sites like Chichen Itza, and lounging during airport layovers.

Storing Your Luggage after You Arrive in Mexico

Once you land in Mexico, you might find that your hotel isn’t ready for you to check in, but you’re ready to start your vacation.

You can use Radical Storage in many different parts of Mexico. They will store your bags for you so that you can get your trip started ASAP.

See also
40 Essential Cozumel Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Cozumel Made Simple!
Mexico - Yucatan Peninsula - Quintana Roo - Playa del Carmen - - Stephanie on the Beach with Cocos Frios - Coconut Drink - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to wear on the plane to Mexico for plus size travelers
If you need to stash your luggage for a few hours, drop it off at Radical Storage and then start your vacation ASAP

Reserve a spot for your luggage in the following vacay spots:

Mexican Cities + Beach Towns

Cancun

Chiquilá

Guadalupe

Holbox

Houston

Mexico City

Monterrey

Mérida

Oaxaca

Playa del Carmen

San Miguel de Allende

Going somewhere not listed above?

As of this writing, there are no Radical Storage spots in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Tulum, Sayulita, Baja California, or other popular beach destinations on the Riviera Maya.

You can check with Radical Storage to see if they’ve added your destination.

What to Wear on the Flight Back from Mexico

So you’ve relished your time in Mexico.

Whether you enjoyed a beach vacation, swam in cenotes, walked through historic cities, or explored Mayan ruins, it’s time to pack your bags and head back home.

And now you have the reverse problem. You’re leaving somewhere warm and sunny, only to land somewhere potentially much colder.

While it might be tempting to leave for the airport straight from the beach, you’ll be freezing on the plane if you only have your cover-up for warmth.

Mexico - Cozumel - Jordan eating fries in the Cozumel Airport - photo by Stephanie Craig - what to wear home from Mexico
You may start your trip home in your vacation clothes, but make sure your layers are handy so you can add them as needed!

Instead, pack the layers of your plane outfit in your personal bag so you can add them as needed.

Don’t forget about your comfortable shoes and warm socks – they make a huge difference on cold flights!

What to Wear on Plane to Mexico Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

These are the questions travelers ask the most often about what to wear on flights to Mexico.

What should I wear on a flight to Mexico?

See the section above for detailed outfit ideas. At a minimum, wear layers, comfortable shoes, and have a pair of socks handy.

What do you wear to the airport when going to Mexico?

Airports can be cold – even in warm climates. Make sure to have layers, including a light jacket.

Mexico - Cozumel - Cozumel Airport Drop Off - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to wear to fly to Mexico
It’s always sad when vacation ends!

What to wear when flying to Cancun?

While Cancun might be one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico, you don’t want to dress for the beach quite yet.

See also
24 Hours in Puerto Vallarta: Itinerary for One Perfect Day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Plan a practical outfit that you can add and subtract items from.

Make sure to follow your airline’s dress code so that you don’t accidentally wear something that’s not allowed.

While a lot of people don’t know that airlines have dress codes, they do have the right to kick you off flights for non-compliance.

Mexico - Yucatan Peninsula - Quintana Roo - Cancun - Stephanie, Valentine, and Jordan at the Cancun Sign on the Beach - what to wear to fly to cancun

What is the best outfit to wear on a plane?

My favorite outfit for a Mexican flight is a comfy dress with leggings and a jacket.

How do I pack for a flight to Mexico?

Follow the guidelines above for what to have ready in your personal item versus what to put in your checked luggage.

USA - Oklahoma - Oklahoma City - Landing airplane in OKC - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to wear flying home from Mexico

What should I bring on a plane to Mexico?

In addition to the warm layers of your outfit, bring your passport, travel docs, cell phone, portable charger, sunglasses, and money. See above for a detailed outline.

Is it a good idea to wear jeans on a plane for Mexico?

I don’t like wearing jeans on flights, but if you do, stretchy, comfy jean (or baggy jean) is better than something scratchy or too tight.

Mexico - Yucatan Peninsula - Quintana Roo - Isla Holbox - Stephanie and Jordan | what to wear on a flight to the Riviera Maya
I prefer jean jackets to jeans, but you do you!

Should I bring jeans to Mexico?

I don’t usually bring jeans to Mexico, but it depends on where you’re going and when. The country is a year-round destination, and jeans are appropriate for nightlife, cities, and colder climates.

I wouldn’t take jeans if you only plan to visit the beaches.

What should I bring to wear in Mexico?

Follow my Mexico packing list for travel tips on what to wear once you’re in Mexico.

Mexico - Yucatan Peninsula - Quintana Roo - Holbox - Beach Club - Laying in a hammock - photo by Stephanie Craig | what to bring to wear in Mexico
Don’t forget your swimsuit if you’re heading to the beach!

Should I pack a dress for Mexico?

If you wear dresses at home, you will want dresses in Mexico. Opt for a mix of maxi dresses, sun dresses, and dresses appropriate for nights out.

How should I pack my clothes?

Use packing cubes to arrange your items in your suitcase. I have an outline for how I use a combo of packing cubes and smaller bags to organize my stuff when packing for Mexico here.

See also
3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Chiquila Ranked from Easiest to Hardest
Germany - Berlin - Suitcase and Day Bag packing to leave | photo by Stephanie Craig
I like to use packing cubes to keep everything organized in my bags

What should I not take on a plane to Mexico?

Make sure anything that’s not allowed in your carry-on is either checked or left behind. Follow the TSA guidelines for what’s allowed on the plane.

Don’t bring any produce or agricultural items with you to Mexico.

Even though they may be allowed onto the plane, you will get fined if you have them in Mexico. Yes, even fruit or veggies!

And while it’s easy to forget, leave your bottled water at home. They’ll just make you throw it away in the security line.

Mexico - Cozumel - Wings at Cozumel Airport - photo by Stephanie Craig - what not to bring on a flight to Mexico
Don’t try to bring any fruits or veggies with you or you can get a fine.

What should you not wear on a plane or at the airport?

Don’t wear uncomfortable clothing, skimpy clothing, or anything with offensive language.

Do they check your bags in Mexico?

Many airlines automatically allow a checked bag on international flights – but not all. My last flight to Mexico did not include a free checked bag. Check your airline’s baggage policy.

Mexico - Yucatan Peninsula - Playa Del Carmen - Valentine - Luggage - Escalator to Ferry - photo by Stephanie Craig | checking a bag on a flight to mexico
We had to pay to check our bags on our last trip to Mexico

Do medications have to be in their bottles when flying to Mexico?

If flying from the US, follow the TSA’s guidance on traveling with prescription medication.

Can I bring Tylenol on a plane to Mexico?

For OTC medications like Tylenol, you can bring what you need for the duration of your trip, but not more.

Tylenol is easy to get in Mexico, so you can pick some up if you run out.

Mexico - Cozumel - Pharmacy - photo by Stephanie Craig | what medicine can you take to Mexico
If you run out of something like Tylenol, you can find it at pharmacies all over Mexico

What medication is not allowed in Mexico?

Not all medicine from the US is allowed into Mexico. Check with the Mexican embassy’s guidelines on what pills and medications are not allowed.

Do you need to wear a mask on the plane to Mexico?

Masks are no longer required on flights to Mexico, but you can wear one voluntarily.

5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Mexico

Lonely Planet Mexico and Lonely Planet Cancun, Cozumel, & the Yucatan are available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition. You typically won’t find major guidebooks once you land, so get yours ahead of time.

See also
10 Tips for Seeing the Holbox Bioluminescence: Tours, What to Wear, What to Bring, + More!

I used both of these to plan my last trip to the Yucatan, and I read them cover to cover!

Mosquito Repellant is the single most important thing you’ll want on you as soon as dusk hits. Have enough to at least get through the first night if you’re packing light.

Full-Sized Travel Towel Unless your accommodations provide them, you will want to bring your own. I always bring my own towel to Mexico.

This is the best travel towel in the world. It’s pretty enough for the beach, large enough that you forget it’s a microfibre towel, and quick-drying, which is crucial in super humid parts of Mexico.

A Go Pro for underwater and action photography. Why go all the way to Mexico and not be able to capture some of the most exciting parts of your trip?

A Dry Bag for your stuff when you go on a boat or to the beach. You can get a larger one to use for a group or if you plan on taking a larger camera.

Otherwise, I use small ones with lanyards to hold my cell phone, money, and credit cards so I could take them with me swimming when traveling solo.

You might also want a separate waterproof holder for your passport. I’ve seen people who weren’t allowed to board their flights home because their passports got water damaged.

Mexico Travel Resources

101 Things to Bring to Mexico: Complete Packing List for Mexico + What to Wear

101 Things to Bring to Cozumel: Packing List for What to Wear & What to Bring to Cozumel

40 Essential Cozumel Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Cozumel Made Simple!

24 Hours in Puerto Vallarta: Itinerary for One Perfect Day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

23 Best Souvenirs from Mexico City: Gifts for Yourself and Your Loved Ones!

17 MUSA Cancun Tips: Planning a Visit to the Underwater Museum in Cancun

See also
101 Things to Bring to Mexico: Complete Packing List for Mexico + What to Wear

13 Tips for What to Wear to Chichen Itza + Outfit Ideas and Travel Tips

13 Tips for What to Wear to Tulum + Tulum Outfit Ideas

10 Tips for What to Wear on the Plane to Mexico + Airplane Outfits

10 Tips for Seeing the Holbox Bioluminescence: Tours, What to Wear, What to Bring, + More!

3 Ways to Get from Cancun to Chiquila Ranked from Easiest to Hardest

Pin this Guide on What to Wear on a Flight to Mexico for Your Mexico Vacation!

What to wear on the plane to Mexico

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See also
13 Tips for What to Wear to Chichen Itza + Outfit Ideas Plus What to Bring

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