Luggage and bags:
OK....you've planned a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta. The tickets were reasonable, the weather is perfect, now what to bring? First let me say check with your airline regarding your baggage allowance. Many airlines are now charging for the first checked bag, as well as any subsequent bags.....these costs can add up rather quickly! And remember they double, because the charge is added for your return flight as well. Make sure you have luggage tags with your destination attached, and place another piece of paper with your destination clearly stated Inside your bag. Luggage tags have been known to be torn off on the conveyor belts, and this way when airport personnel open the bag they can see where it is suppose to be going. We recently waited a week for a suitcase which had lost it's tags and remained standing in an airport in Munich.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It's warm and sunny here for the most part. Average temps are in the 20's (Celsius), climbing into the 30's in the summer months. For most of us 'northerners' this calls for shorts and tank tops and flip flops. We do have the convenience of Woolworth's department store as well as Walmart here, however for the local population it is their winter and you can get some very nice fur lined parkas and fleece hoodies, but not a whole lot of tank tops! Don't over pack either, there are very good laundries on almost every street and for a few pesos your clothes will be washed, dried and folded in it's own bag, often within a day, provided you drop it off early in the morning. One word of advice, do not bring in whites and colored clothing at the same time, even on the same day, many tend to wash it all together anyway. I usually take my whites in one day, and the darks in the next day.....I have had everything discolored!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Everything you could want as far as toiletries goes is available here as well, the only thing I haven't found is OB Tampons.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: You are coming to a resort town, beach gear is available year round. and if you don't want to buy it then there are rental companies who can provide it for less than the cost of buying, and it saves you the hassle of what to do with it when you are done, or of taking it home with you.
Miscellaneous: Traveling with babies and toddlers. I can't even begin to mention the number of times I have stood at the airport and watched a family arrive, little ones tired and in tow, and a porter piled to the rafters with baby gear like pack and plays, carseats, strollers, etc. I agree a stroller can usually be checked in at the gate and is a necessity when waiting two hours to board your flight, again check with your airline before going to the airport, some will only allow umbrella strollers to be checked at the gate. Remember also that any baby equipment damaged in transit s usually NOT covered by their insurance policy, and you cannot buy a rider to cover it. Airlines are very strict when it comes to what damage they will and will not cover. The Puerto Vallarta area has a baby equipment rental company which can provide all of the things you have at home. I have done it myself and figured that "a week isn't all that long, we can hold the baby".....it isn't so easy in 20 degrees...much better to have the excersaucer they love at home waiting for them here too. Traveling with little ones is difficult, but can be fun, especially if their routine is disrupted as little as possible, and they are provided with things they are familiar with. It cuts down on a stress for everyone. Let's face it, it's much better to have a happy baby rocking in a swing by the pool while mom and dad enjoy a cold drink, rather than trying to sooth a hot and cranky child.
Luggage and bags:
If you plan on moving a lot during your vacation, stick to just one piece of luggage/bag per person. Make sure you also pack a small bag for souvenirs if you plan on buying a lot of them.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You really do not need that much! For 7 days I packed 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of capri pants, 1 light sweater (since we planned on going to the mountains too), 4 T-shirts, one hat to protect my head from the sun, one small umbrella (we visited during the rainy season and this umbrella came in very handy at times), 1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of flip-flops, 1 pajama, 2 pairs of socks and 4 bathing suits.
One thing you must not forget to pack is sunscreen lotion. Get one with a high SPF (over 35) since the sun is really hot and strong and you can easily get sunburn.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Unless you are on a prescription medication, you can buy everything once you get there if you need it. The pharmacists are very friendly and willing to help and the prices are much cheaper than the ones in US.
My husband had a terrible earache while we were in Puerto Vallarta and a quick stop at the pharmacy took care of the pain. We got some medication from there and the pain was gone by the next day.
Photo Equipment: lots of film, large memory card, etc.
Photo equipment is very expensive in Mexico and may also be hard to find if you travel to remote locations. I happened to break my digital camera during our trip to Tepic. It was impossible to even find a place that would sell disposable cameras on the way to Tepic or even in town. We ended up taking no pictures in Tepic because of this unfortunate event.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: sunscreen lotion, flip flops and a hat to protect your head from the sun
It sound logic, right? well, not for everyone.
Is very important that you don't forget the sunscreen and I mean not only putting it in the luggage, but to actually use it as sson as you arrive. My husband had an ugly sunburn the first day (just a few hors after a morning walk in the beach) because he forgot, and he had to suffer the consecuences all the rest of the trip.!!!!
Don't go overboard with the clothing... there's a lot to buy there... most girls end up buying cute sundresses and wear that with their bathing suit under. I ended wearing my sundress a lot. If you're planning on enjoying the nightlife, bring some dressy clothes too... otherwise keep it simple. You'll be too hot to bother.
Miscellaneous: BRING SUNSCREEN. I'm one of those people who never burn... The Mexican sun will burn ANYBODY.
Luggage and bags:
as many as you want. hey I'm a woman
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: tennis shoes (old ones) for the canopy tours, beach sandals of course
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: anti-diareal pills, tums/rolaids (spicy food), shampoo special for chorine removal (for your hair & to rinse your suits out with nightly).
Photo Equipment: water camera, unless you want to spend 25.00 for a water camera there.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: fold down cooler (to pack with beer), your own snorkling gear (on your own beach)
Miscellaneous: thermal cup, to keep drinks cool.. resort bars will rinse them out & make you drinks in them! Keeps the sand out too.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: you need expendable sandals for walking on the beach; the sand is VERY hot. a hat is also very useful, on the beach or downtown (otherwise, you risk serious sunburn). a hat cuts down on the squinting too, even with sunglasses.
Miscellaneous: if you are staying where you can cook, bring some of those little picnic salt-and-pepper sets. the salt in the grocery stores is loose, and the smallest size you can get is about a kilo (a little over two pounds). the pepper containers in the stores hold too much for a short stay.
No need for shoes.....
Clothing, if you're going during rainy season, bring along pants and long sleeved shirts or a light jacket, it can get a little cool. During the rest of the year, it's shorts and tank top weather, around +25. Evenings cool off a little, but still nice.
Luggage and bags: SOFT and large if going by plane. i try to take two by putting one empty one inside the other; that way, i have one to put stuff in when it is time to go home. with only one suitcase for about three days of clothes, you can manage and just wash stuff out. the airlines do crack down on number of suitcases when the planes are full.
Bring comfortable shoes if you're planning to visit Puerto Vallarta. While the city is relatively small, there's a lot to see by foot!
Photo: Me, my mom and my sister resting at the Malecon in downtown Puerto Vallarta.