INSPIRED IN MEXICO: How To Travel & What To See

Mexico hits really close to home for me. Growing up, my father brought us there almost every year. It wasn’t for your typical family vacation though. He wanted us to see the way people lived, the way cultures were different than ours, and most of all, he wanted us come home more appreciative of the life we had. I hadn’t been back to Mexico since, but it felt like the perfect place for Dave my next “Inspired In” destination. 

And before getting into it all, a huge thank you, as always, to our incredible partners that made this trip possible – Le Chateau, Kiehl’s Canada, Zaful, and Poppy and Peonies

Quintana Roo (the province which houses Cancun, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, and all the tourist hotspots) had changed a lot since I was there last. I love keeping my eyes wide opened when I travel and

There were definitely two huge reoccurring themes that we took away from the beautiful tropical destination loved by many –  hustle and paradise. 

Everywhere you went – people were hustling (tourism is one of their biggest economic drivers). Strangely enough, it reminded me of the infectious energy in New York City, despite resembling nothing like it.
And every corner you turned was a beautiful beach view, a palm tree offering the perfect amount of shade, an abandoned palapa (an architectural contribution of Mexican culture), or the scent of smoked meat. Paradise, if I’ve ever felt one.  

Every time Dave and I have traveled somewhere new, we always pick up travel tips for those specific destinations. Rounding up how we packed, what outfits are the perfect tropical hyrbid, how we kept our skin fresh (we were on 4 back to back trips), all my outfits from the trip, and best of all, where to visit to capture those breathtaking moments. 

Full day excursions often meant packing everything from a biking outfit, to beach props (towels, blankets, sunscreen), to an evening outfit, to appropriate footwear to all the above. It’s a lot. Finding the right carry-all that won’t break the bank, break your back, or break your suitcase isn’t as easy as I thought. I remembered seeing The Traveller bag from Poppy and Peonies and knew it was the perfect solution to our all day outings.
It’s not only collapsable (making it so easy to pack), made with durable nylon, and embellished with more compartments than I could have wished for, but it’s also completely reversible. Genius! Dave is a gem and carried my bag throughout the daytrips and we reversed the tote to the navy side when he did. When I used it, I flipped it back to the nautical, on-trend stripes. For $75, this bag is worth every little penny. 

Poppy & Peonies is also a brand I whole heartedly love, not only for their extremely functional and affordable bags, but because it is spearheaded by such an incredible boss lady who built the brand inspired by her daughter and other boss women. I mean, how can you not be obsessed?! I gushed all about it last year on the blog.

While on Poppy and Peonies, I picked up the Beauty Bag Trio (to separate my accessories, skincare, and haircare), as well as the Clearly You Travel Pouch (love that I could access whatever was in in super quick). You’d be surprised how crazy your suitcase gets after a couple weeks of traveling. Keeping it all organized kept me (and my suitcase) sane. 

However you pack: 

  • Make sure you’ve got your products (especially with liquids) separated and compartmentalized
  • Find totes and bags that don’t weigh a ton (baggage fees are expensive) – All my Poppy and Peonies pieces weighed only 3 pounds all together
  • Go for sleek/flexible fabrics that are easy to manoeuvre within your suitcase

Putting together outfits before a trip is both one of the most fun parts of my traveling process, as well as the biggest pain in my butt. When traveling to tropical destinations, I realized there’s an art to voting certain outfits off the island, and making alliances with others. 

Dave and my Le Chateau outfits were definitely part of our alliance. I swooned when I first saw the striped jumpsuit and bringing it on the trip did not disappoint. The culotte bottoms allowed for the perfect breeze to sweep through, and the breathable fabric made it the ultimate transition piece. When it was cold/needed to dress it up, I threw on a blazer and some slingback kitten heels. When we were walking on the beach, I paired it with a straw hat, bare feet, and my new obsessions – the tribal accessories from Le Chateau. 
The best part of Dave and my nautical outfits from Le Chateau were that we knew we’d be able to wear them back here in Toronto (even with sub-zero temperatures). When picking up outfits for tropical travels, make sure they’re not ones you’ll only wear once (and only while you’re there). These pieces will definitely be used all year year for us. 

More on Dave’s blog for the boy’s tips, but let’s just say that I may just be jealous that he looked more effortlessly sharp than I did. 

For your tropical travel outfits: 

  • Find breathable fabrics that flow and allow for breeze
  • Layers, layers, layers (that goes for just about about any season though, doesn’t it?)
  • Keep your eye out for pieces that translate from day to night seamlessly
  • Use accessories to travel light while still giving you outfit variety


Boy, oh boy, did my skin suffer from all the travel. From cold to hot, to cold again, back to hot, then back to cold.. my skin was not happy with me. We’re still getting over our fight (between my skin and I, that is). What really helped while we were on the road (and is still helping now) is Kiehl’s new Vitamin C serum. Their new Powerful-Strength Line Reducing Concentrate Vitamin C serum helped to keep my skin’s texture smooth and always gave me that extra glow in the morning. 

The hyaluronic acid really helped to boost the moisture and plump to my skin, as well as gave it that extra boost of hydration after being on planes with horrible air circulation. Paired up with my other fav Kiehl’s products, like the Ultra Facial Cream (which I swear by in the winter. It’s how my skin doesn’t dry and crack like the icicles outside), my skin stayed fresh throughout the entire trip.  
For Dave, the Vitamin C serum was a game changer. I introduced Dave to a more complex skincare regime (or at least more complex than a bar of soap) late last year, and he’s really taken to it. It’s often a surprise to people but Dave is almost a decade older than me. And even though I love him for them, his wrinkles, fine lines, and signs of aging are definitely hitting his skin (although definitely not his spirit). In a couple weeks, the Kiehl’s Vitamin C serum is already starting to even out his lines. 

Keep skin fresh by: 

  • Know how the climate change is going to affect your skin (are you going from hot to cold, cold to hot?)
  • Carry small sized bottles (like this 50mL Vitamin C serum) to make sure you have no issues with security
  • Find hydrating products, even if you’re going somewhere hot. The sun takes a huge toll on your skin’s moisture levels.



Places To Visit

  • Mayan Ruins of Coba – you can actually still climb their highest temple (the other ruins have been closed due to security risks). You can also rent a bike or rickshaw to hike up to the ruins from the entrance of the park. I suggest the bike!
  • Tulum Beach – easily one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find. It’s surrounded ruins, which is really  unique since the Mayans never used to build their cities near water,
  • Playa Del Carmen – Cancun, but better. Better prices, more chill over parties, and the quaintest pedestrian-only streets and markets. Extremely lively in the evening! 
  • Isla de Mujeres – a tiny island off the coast of Cancun where you can rent a moped/golf cart and explore the entire island in a day. So much authentic Mexican culture preserved and a lot of amazing architecture
  • Parque de las Palapas – a Mexican night market… for locals. You’ll be 1/3 tourist groups there. Churros, $3-5 food, incredibly friendly people, live music… and all for free
  • Xplor – probably the coolest excursion you’ll find in the area. Zipline across 14 ziplines over the Mexican jungle (take about 2 hours), swim in underground Cenotes, drive a a Amphibious car through the jungle… it’s worth it.
  • Cenote Swimming – fresh water pools in a cave. The photos are real and they’re as epic as they look. 

Mexico (Quintana Roo in particular) has changed so much since I was young… but I think I love it more than I did when I was there last. There is such a unique energy to it all. It’s ripe for discovery and is extremely safe if you don’t go off the beaten path. The beauty is in the small shop owners, the coral on the beach, and the history that’s so celebrated.

Hasta la proxima vez, Mexico. Gracias por todo! 

mel inspired


** This post was made in generous sponsorship by Le Chateau, Kiehl’s Canada, and Poppy and Peonies. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

  • Jessica Broyles

    Such gorgeous travel photos! You look amazing in everything you wore! And looks like you guys had a great time!

    • Thanks so much Jessica! It was almost impossible to take a bad photo in Mexico. We definitely had an incredible time πŸ™‚ xx

  • Violette

    I loved these post and the photos are stunning!! Plus you have the prettiest swimsuit! I hope you two had the best time!!

    • Aw thank you Violette! Honestly, the best swimsuits I own right now and I bought them all for the trip haha We had the most amazing time πŸ™‚

  • Truly an amazing time and adventure!!
    You really know how to pack it all in in more ways than one, Mel!!

    • Thank you so much Jodie! It was such an adventure in the best way possible! xx

  • I love Mexico and these photos make me want to go back! Thanks for sharing this clothes and products with us. Love your jumpsuit!

    • Every time I look back at the photos, it makes me want to go back again too. Luckily, it’s only a 3 hour flight away so I’m sure I’ll be back. The jumpsuit is literally my fav right now – Le Chateau has so much cute pieces for the new season!

  • I love Mexico! I’m actually going there in May and it will be my 6th trip. Same goes for the Kiehl’s products. I love that serum, I have been using this every single day for months now xx

    |Elegant Duchess|

    • OMG! So exciting! It’ll be beautiful in May. 6 times though – girl, you have me beat! And totally – Kiehl’s products are So cool to know you love the Vitamin C serum as much as we do! It’s literally been saving our skin!

  • Caitlin

    Looks like an amazing trip!

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

    • It was such a great trip! I can’t wait to go back πŸ™‚

  • Lauren

    Love the swimsuits!


    • Thanks Lauren! Totally refreshed my swimwear wardrobe for this trip haha but so glad I did xx

  • Laura

    It looks amazing there! I want sun and warmth πŸ™‚


    • Thanks Laura! We definitely basked it in it πŸ™‚

  • Mes Voyages Γ  Paris

    The pics looks really amazing!! Such a great post dear!!
    MΓ³nica Sors

    • Aw thank you girl! It was hard not to take great photos with beautiful scenery and products like these πŸ™‚

  • Such a beautiful pictures! You look wonderful in all of these outfits and swimsuits!


    • Aw thank you girl! We’re so glad you liked them πŸ™‚

  • Yiotou_La

    Your photos make me miss summer so much!! Love your outfits especially the blue and white checked set, so pretty!x


    • Aw thanks so much Yiota πŸ™‚ I know! Summer could not come any quicker! The zaful checked set is definitely a beautiful one πŸ™‚

  • These are such fantastic photos and tips. I would love to go to Mexico, it looks so pretty x

    • Aw so glad you think so! Definitely make it there! It’s such a gorgeous country πŸ™‚

  • Wow, I am in love with this post. Everything was perfect from your words to the photos! Mexico seems like such a beautiful place and I love the fact that your dad would take you there to experience another culture πŸ™‚ That’s such a wonderful way of thinking and a great mindset to have while traveling!

    Also, LOVE every single bathing suit you wore omg

    Enclothed Cognition

    • Ahhh! Thank you so much Keri. Mexico is so beautiful and it definitely hits home πŸ™‚ It made the experience that much more special for sure. Thank you so much for the warm words xx

  • Carly

    I love that your dad took you to see the real Mexico regularly. I bet that created some amazing family memories. Great tips!

    Have a great weekend!
    Carly at A Modern Mom Blog

    • Aw thank you Carly! We definitely have a ton of memories there. It’s kind of cool to go and see it all through a different lens now as an adult. Hope you’re having an awesome weekend as well xx

  • You guys look so amazing!! xo

    Daniel x

    The Daniel Originals | Instagram: danielpoonvignez

    • Thank you so much Daniel πŸ™‚ We really appreciate that!

  • This was a long but amazing read! Looks like you guys had brilliant time!

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • haha Thanks Shireen! I definitely had a lot to say about Mexico. Thanks so much for reading! We definitely had such a good time πŸ™‚

  • Zorica

    OMG this is post goals.
    Love love it…
    Thanks for sharing.. I can tell you’ve had a blast.

    • Aw thank you Zorica! I’m so glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

  • Alexandra Roman
  • This is such a fun shoot, and you look absoutely stunning with that gingham swimsuit dear!

    Jessica |

    • Thanks Jess! We had so much fun shooting all around Mexico. Every corner we turned was a new photo opp haha Thanks beauty! Zaful under $20 for the win!

  • Wow, so many awesome photos! I always try to choose light fabrics to wear during the summer or vacation in warmer countries but for me sunscreen protection is the most important thing and I also try to find clothes which can be helpful if it comes to suncare – some fabrics do not protect the skin from UV rays.

    • Aw thank you so much! Totally lighter fabrics are so much better and they translate from day to night perfectly in the tropical weather. The sunscreen is definitely a must too! So interesting about certain fabrics over others though. I’ll definitely have to check that out!

  • Your Mexico trip looked so fun! Also, very cool that you’re experimenting with different blog layout styles!

    • Aw thanks yo! It was so much fun! And always trying to keep it fresh haha

  • Hillory Renkema

    Omg girl this post was such a great guide for what to bring to Mexico / what to do when you’re there!! And I never knew you went there for family vacations. Tooooo cuteeeeee!



    • Ah! So glad you liked it Hillory! I feel like i’ll have to go back so that I can update it again haha but for now, it’s definitely an awesome travel diary to look back at. Thanks for reaching lovely!

  • Gorgoeus photos, and thank you for all the great tips of what to do in Mexico! I’ve yet to visit and I have no idea why as it’s so close!

    Jenny | Geeky Posh

    • Aw thank you Jenny! So glad you liked it. You totally should! There are some amazing prices to visit Mexico and there’s so much to see!

  • Angela K

    Wow this post is amazing & the pics are just gorgeous! Thanks for such an in depth travel guide! Now I REALLY want to visit Mexico!!!

    • Aw thank you so much Angela! I’m so glad you liked it. I really wanted to capture it all haha You TOTALLY should visit! There’s so much to do and see in Mexico πŸ™‚

  • This looks like an amazing trip.
    I love the photos and outfits you wore.

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

    • It was such a fun trip! I love creating these so that I can look back on them too πŸ™‚ Thanks for the love!

  • Blaire Bingham

    These pictures are absolutely beautiful! It looks like you had a fabulous time, and these are some great packing tips.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

    • Aw thank you so much Whitney and Blaire! I’m so glad you like them. We did have such an incredible time! Glad you enjoyed the packing tips πŸ™‚

  • Such an informative and helpful post. I’m still waiting for Spring to arrive here and now I’m dreaming of summer.


    • Aw thank you James! Appreciate that! And I’m dreaming about summer 100% of the time (except when it’s summer haha)