Sunday, August 29, 2010

What do I bring?

This is not a simple question and it will vary depending on the person or family. Our family of four had begun a downsizing journey in the States, 5 years before we actually made the move to Merida. After much research coupled with our budget info, we decided to sell everything except what we could fit into 8 check on bags (2 per person) & 8 carry on bags (2 per person) and what we were able to fit in the cab of our truck that my husband drove down. We flew on Mexicana airlines, but as they are going through financial difficulties, Continental will be your next choice & you need to check their baggage guidelines. We were allowed two carry on bags per person & 2 of those bags were our 2 laptops we were bringing. If you are bring in any new items, make sure you have a receipt when declaring them.

Read this guideline sponsored by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), but you must also abide by the Mexican import laws, so check out Continental Airlines guidelines for what you are allowed to bring into Mexico. Make sure your luggage fits the sizing guidlines. We were on a tight budget, but we found great luggage deals at Wal-Mart. Our 8 check in bags cost us about $15.00 each. We used various backpacks and bags for our 8 carry on bags.

We did pretty good research before hand when deciding what to bring, but in hindsite, after being here awhile, we wished we would have brought a few more items. Here is what we found out before we left. Bring only Summer clothes as most months here are warm. You will only have a few months, December & January, that get a little cooler. Some of the expats think it is funny to see the locals in sweaters during those months as they say it really is not cold enough for them. If you need warmer clothes once you get here, Wal-Mart is still the lowest price, but if you have fancy taste, you will definately pay more for the various Shopping Malls here. If you prefer Organics, in your shampoos, toothpaste & Toiletries-grab these before you go as they are rare to find here and pretty expensive when you do. We stuffed a few bottles of everything into each check in bag without any problems. Remember to seal them in ziploc bags to prevent leakage.

If you have children, you are allowed to fly in with one full bag of used toys. My strong recommendation is that you work with your kids before you pack to find the most important toys to them and stuff in as much as you can. Toys are very expensive here, almost double in some stores. Super Wal-Marts here are not like the States, they are not stuffed full of choices & some items are more expensive than the States.

You cannot bring food items into Mexico. There are many supermarkets here in Merida, including Sams Club, Costco & a variety of local chains. You can get some organics at Costco here, but there will be some items you cannot get anywere here that you can typically find in the states. Our biggest hurdle was "Goldfish", our boys favorite snack is not stocked here, but they got over it.

Last but not least! If you have children-I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you have brought favorite items for them. Moving to a foreign Country can be stressful for kids, so you need to make sure they have comfort items. Favorite blanket, pillow, book, stuffed toy, dolls. The very first room to set up in your new home should be the children's rooms. They need to feel secure in this big move you have made. This is probably the best decision we made when we moved here. We immediately got bunk beds, unpacked toys and set up there room first & it has been easy going ever since! I have heard stories about families moving without planning ahead for their kids and the result was not pretty.

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