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Just back from Puerto Vallarta!

Tailor shares her travel experience.

I recently talked to Tailor, my client who just returned from an all-inclusive vacation to Puerto Vallarta.

Barbara: Hi Tailor, it's good to have you here.

Tailor: Hi! I'm so excited.

Barbara: We're going to talk about Tailor's trip. A lot of people really want to know what it's like to travel these days.

Tailor just barely got back, and with the quarantine and everything, people are scared and worried to travel. I thought it would be great to talk to Tailor and get little insight as to how things have been for her and how safe she felt. So let's start with your planning process. Tailor, tell us why you wanted to go, what you wanted to get out of it, if you had an idea at the beginning where you wanted to go, or if that kind of evolved a little bit. Just kind of lead us through that process.

Tailor: Me and my husband have been married eight, almost nine months. We never got a chance to go on a honeymoon because I started school right after we got married. We finally got some money pulled together to be able to, and we started thinking about where we wanted to go. I really love Hispanic culture cause both of us speak Spanish. It was between that or maybe going to Europe, but Europe is super expensive. I actually reached out to you and asked what you thought and you kind of gave us some ideas and we ended up choosing to go to Mexico. We went to Cancun for my birthday in November, so I was like, you know what, let's go somewhere else that I haven't seen yet. My husband had been to Puerto Vallarta a few years ago and he really, really liked it. So I'm like, all right, let's try that. So we did. I reached out to you and asked a few questions.

Barbara: As I remember, originally when we planned this, we had no idea whether Europe would even be open or not. And as it turns out, Europe is not open yet. So it's a really good thing cause you totally would have had to postpone your trip if, we had decided to stay with Europe. Tailor and Nathan decided to go to Puerto Vallarta, like she mentioned, and decided on a resort called the Iberostar. We’ll talk a little bit more in detail about the resort in a little bit, but basically it's an all-inclusive, amazing property. First I want to know about flights, like how early you got there, if the airport was crowded, were the restaurants open or were some of them still closed? Were people all wearing masks? What was it like on the plane? All of that stuff. So just give me all the details.

Tailor: The worst part about the whole trip was the airport. Not because it was like busy or anything, we actually got there and there was hardly anyone there. We got there two hours in advance, just cause that's the advice for flying internationally. But we got through security and all of that in about 30 minutes. That was fast. The airport was very clean and very sanitized. They asked us all to wear masks and all the workers were wearing masks.

As we got on the planes, they handed us a Clorox wipe in a Ziploc bag. Most of the flights gave us a little water bottle and a package of crackers. Other than that they didn't offer food services or anything. We didn't fly more than like a few hours. So I don't think they would have fed us anyway.

Barbara: Did you notice that the airport restaurants were open, or were they kind of limited? What what was your feeling there?

Tailor: It depended on the airport. Salt Lake City definitely had restaurants open. A lot of the shopping stores were still closed, but restaurants were still open. In Phoenix there was a lot of stuff open, but when we came back, most of it was closed.

Like there was Wendy's open and that was it. It was pretty limited if you wanted to eat at the airport. So that's a word to the wise.

Barbara: If you're flying somewhere and you have a layover, you can't be sure that the shops and the restaurants will be open, so make sure you bring plenty of snacks, right?

Tailor: Yeah. We brought a ton. And we actually heard that you had to make dinner reservations at the resort ahead of time. My sister went to Mexico a few weeks ago. They didn't know that and so they didn't have dinner their first night. So I was like, okay, I'm going to pack tons of snacks just in case.

Barbara: So you got there, and your flights were fine. Did they block out the center seats in your flights?

Tailor: All our flights were on really small planes, like two across on each side of the aisle. But it was still pretty full. They just had people wear masks and they made sure and announce like, Hey, keep a social distance, keep your mask on the entire flight.

Barbara: It sounds like your flights weren't so crowded that they were overflowing, but they were not super empty either. Somewhere in between. When you arrived in Puerto Vallarta, what was the shuttle like getting you to the resort? Did that feel clean? Did it feel safe? You’ve been to all-inclusive resorts before. Did it feel any different?

Tailor: It was definitely very clean. We got there and the company that was trying to find us immediately found us and they told us, don't talk to any of the people trying to sell you timeshare stuff. And they got us in the van. We were the only ones in the van beside the driver. It was very clean. I'm pretty sure they cleaned it between every passenger.

Barbara: So that was a good experience. Let’s talk about the Iberostar and why you wanted to stay there.

Tailor: I wanted the Iberostar because we stayed there in Cancun and it was gorgeous and I loved it. They were very hospitable, so I thought, let's do it again. And it was one of the cheaper options so that always helps.

When we got there, the first thing they had us do was step on a mat that was supposed to clean your feet, and then we put on hand sanitizer and they took our temperatures.

Barbara: So you were feeling safe right from the minute you got there?

Tailor: Yes. Then they asked us if we had been in contact with COVID. It was really clean at the resort. I saw cleaning crews everywhere and everyone was wearing masks. Everyone had cleaner and they were cleaning everything.

Barbara: So, you felt really secure and safe at the property because of how sanitized everything was.

Tailor: Yeah. The only place they weren’t super strict on wearing the mask was at the beach, because it was mostly open. When you went into the restaurants they had you wear a mask and then you could take it off while you were eating.

Barbara: Sounds like you mostly were just wearing masks anytime you were inside. I think that's probably one of the great things about going to an all-inclusive resort, because you can really easily stay by yourself and be outside and be on your own a little bit.

Tailor: For sure. What was interesting is that there weren't a lot of Americans, it was mostly locals, so it wasn't even that busy.

Barbara: It was probably a great time to go. How was the beach there? As far as Puerto Vallarta compared to Cancun, obviously it's a different location. Cancun is Caribbean and Puerto Vallarta is on the Pacific side.

Tailor: The beach was great, the water was really warm, almost as hot as the temperature outside. And there wasn't a ton of people. They actually told us that beach was technically closed, but we could still go if we wanted to. Government regulations. So there wasn't a ton of people there, but just a few vendors out trying to sell stuff. It was nice, nice and relaxing and good.

Barbara: Did they still have the beach chairs for you?

Tailor: They did not have the beach chairs because it was closed. So they just took them out. But you could take your towel down there and just relax on the beach.

Barbara: What about the pool? Were the pools open?

Tailor: Yeah. I think everything was open except for the scuba rental and all that. While the pools were open, they also had the bars and restaurants open by the pools. The pools were very clean. They were very good at keeping on top of things. And there was a show every night which was fun.

Barbara: That sounds fun. Let’s wrap up our section about the resort. What was your favorite part or a couple of favorite parts about the resort? Did you have particular restaurants you liked, or did you have anything specifically at the resort that you would recommend if somebody was going there?

Tailor: If you're going for a specific reason, tell them, because they upgraded our room because it was our honeymoon. My personal favorite restaurant was an American based food place by the pool. I also liked the Japanese teppanyaki restaurant. You had to schedule the dinners beforehand, and the seating was very limited because they didn't fill up the whole restaurant. They were good at distancing with that.

Barbara: Let’s talk about excursions and any fun things that you did in Puerto Vallarta and the area. What would you recommend or what did you do?

Tailor: Actually, we did a lot of stuff. We had pretty much every day full. The first day we did an outdoor excursion where we went zip lining and rappelling, and went on a roller coaster type thing. That took up pretty much the whole day. Tuesday we went on a tour of the city. I didn't like that one as much, because they didn't give us a lot of time to like shop or anything. We just kind of went from place to place. The tequila tasting didn’t work for us because we aren’t drinkers.

Barbara: Was that a walking tour? Did they drive you to places or how did that work?

Tailor: It was both. They picked us up from the resorts and we would stop at different places and get out. We went to downtown and there was a little town square and we got out and walked around there. We went to a jewelry shop, a tequila tasting, and a leather shop. Puerto Vallarta is known for its leather making. So we stopped in a few stores. And then at the end we stopped at a restaurant for some authentic Mexican food.

Barbara: Did you do anything else?

Tailor: We had a few days where we just kind of stayed at the resort, swam in the pool, and played volleyball. But another excursion was swimming with dolphins and sea lions. That was really fun. On that tour, it was just four of us: us two and a mom and a son.

Barbara: To sum it all up: were you glad you went when you did? I know a little while before you left, you kind of had some questions and were wondering about putting it off a little bit. Give me your thoughts on that. Are you glad you went when you did, or do you wish you had waited or for any reason?

Tailor: Yeah, I'm definitely glad we went. It was a very nice time and very calm. It happened to be the week before Mexico's independence day. So they had a ton of celebrations going on, but there wasn't a lot of tourism, so that was nice. It didn't feel super crowded and that's great. And the weather was good.

Just a little advice: if the weather shows it’s supposed to rain the whole time, don't cancel the trip, because it said that for us and it only rained twice. It rained a lot at night, but not during the day. It was only sprinkling when it did rain, and you can still pretty much do everything even if there is a little sprinkle. It actually feels good because it's so humid.

Barbara: Final thoughts. Is there anything you would do differently if you were going again or things you would for sure do? Just kind of wrap up and summarize for us.

Tailor: I’d probably do everything the same, honestly. Everything was planned out perfectly. I do have some advice about American Airlines. They were pretty strict on some stuff. There was this one flight attendant who was very ornery that day. We had our masks pulled down for a few minutes, and she got on the Intercom and reminded us like five times to “Put on the mask. I'm not going to tell you again.” We felt like we were about three years old and she was getting on our case. It might have been just the person that day, but it doesn't leave a really great taste in your mouth.

You want to have everything work out perfectly, so that wasn’t fun. But everything else was great, and honestly, the flight doesn't matter that much to me.

Barbara: So, to sum up, I guess your advice would be definitely go, even if you have to wear a mask.

Tailor: Definitely. Don't put it off just because of weather or because you think that Covid should slow you down. Don't be afraid. Just do it. If you're wanting to get away and you feel like doing it right now, do it.

Barbara: Tailor, thank you so, so much for talking to me today! I think this has been great. I hope it will really help answer some travel questions, and maybe take some of the fear away. I super appreciate you joining me today. So thank you for all the help you gave us.

Tailor: Oh, you are welcome. I am so happy to do it, and was really happy to have you help us get there.

Barbara: Thanks so much for joining me today!


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