Things to pack for Brazil
Brazil has very high import taxes to protect it’s internal manufacturing. That makes the internal manufacturing fairly uncompetitive, and also imports extremely expensive. Instead of the usual attitude of “I’ll just buy it there!”, bring it with you.
Don’t worry about luggage costs, Brazil is the only country in the world where they have laws that require 2 free bags at 70lbs each for international travellers. Normally, on an international flight you will get one bag of 50lbs at most. For whatever reason, Brazil has it mandated that you’re allowed 2 bags of 70lbs. So you will have plenty of weight and space to bring your goods with you. If you’re going to be traveling around the country you’ll want to keep that weight down, but it is available to you and it might behoove you to not use it.
A small bottle of Spray on suntan lotion (you’ll need it!) will cost you about $30USD here. You can pick up a package of two, fairly large, and good name brand versions in the US for about $13. Or about $7 versus $30+. If you’re heading to the northeast, or Rio, you’re likely going to be going through a lot of this!
Bring everything you normally would, but remember to bring extras just in case. Laundry isn’t going to be easy to find and they usually charge per piece. A shirt for R$3 isn’t too bad to have washed (not laundry cleaned!), but if you have a dozen socks, you’re looking at R$36! This is assuming you can find a low cost laundry place around your hotel, otherwise you could end up paying hotel rates, which could be double that. Bring extra clothing.
Bring sunburn lotion, there is a decent chance you will need that, and hunting around at night for an open pharmacy isn’t something you want to do. Maybe a couple of Aspirins in case of a headache, or other ailment.
Bring the normal toiletries, such as toothpaste, perfume, cologne, and makeup, and even a bar of soap.
If you have anything that requires batteries, remember to bring a spare set along with you.
If you are staying at a pousada, make sure you ask them what they supply! Pousadas may, or maynot supply basics, such as soap or shampoo. If you have relatives who have rented an apartment for you, make sure they supply linens, pillows and dishes. It’s possible to rent an apartment for a week and not have it come with anything in it! So be very mindful here! Always ask what they are supplying and don’t assume. If it’s a large, well known chain, then you will likely get everything you normally expect.
Don’t bring anything expensive however. don’t bring any electronics you don’t need. Don’t bring engagement rings, don’t bring jewelry, don’t bring a watch if you can help it. Remember that those seemingly cheap items you’ve purchased will be subject to nearly 100% taxes for a Brazil. So a $100 camera you purchased on sale, might go for $300-400 in Brazil. Minimum wages in Brazil are much lower, so those items can represent several months worth of wages in Brazil. Leave it at home, live without it, and just enjoy your vacation without any of those electronics!
Bring several credit cards, and remember to take photos of them or photocopy them all before you leave. Including any ID you might be bringing, including your passport! Leave a few in your hotel, in event you do get robbed. You want to have some way to access cash, and if all your cards are stolen, it could ruin your trip.