Our Next Trip South 2007
Necessary Paperwork Preparations for driving to Mexico and Central America on the Pan American Highway
We bought a fire proof safe with lock from Wal*Mart that we will secure in an out of the way place in the motorhome. All original paper work will be stored there.
We will take the license plates with the month/year stickers and put them in the vehicles front window. The plate without the stickers will go on the back of the vehicle.
We have maps and information books for all of the countries we plan on visiting.
Purchased from Amazon.com
Some of the things we have done to prepare for the trip are:
1. Obtain list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates, with addresses and phone numbers, in Latin American Countries
2. Made sure our passports wouldn’t expire while we were traveling - Bill had to get a new one, he paid extra for it to be handled quickly Mine is fine
3. Extend the time on our drivers licenses - both would have expired next year
4. Applied for and received an International Drivers License
5. Extended expiration date for the tags on the vehicles
6. If you do not have the title for your vehicles you MUST have a notarized letter from the lien holder giving you permission to drive in Mexico, Central and South America
7. Contacted our doctors and received copies of all prescriptions we take - and/or a letter from doctor listing all medications. We will have meds shipped to our son’s address and he will FedEx them to us as requested
8. Make sure health and teeth are in good shape, carry prescription for eye glasses
9. Changed address to son’s house
10. Extended expiration dates on the credit and debit cards we will be using - so we won’t have to have new ones sent to us while traveling
11. Contacted banks, credit cards, pensions etc and made sure all statements and bills are electronic - not mailed
12. All payments will be made electronically
13. Contacted management to lease house - to handle rent received and made arrangements to have check deposited in our account
14. Hired mover/storage company to pack and store belongings. Storage fees will be paid electronically
15. Shipping arrangements of vehicles from Panama to Ecuador will be arraigned in Panama as companies will not talk to you without a shipping date
16. Search Internet for information on weather, exchange rates, campgrounds, fuel costs etc.
Other preparations are:
Made several copies of all of our paper work and documents - also bought a small flat bed scanner to take with us (we will not let original paper work out of our sight)
Extra passport photos - made copies on photo paper
Titles and registration papers for vehicles
Drivers license - laminated copies
Copy of all credit and debit cards - one for us and one to stay here with responsible person
make copies of any document the officials might want to view/take
Both laptops, mine and Jeff’s are set up for Wi-Fi, broadband, and dial up - also have thumb drive for transfer of information if necessary. Internet cafes are found though out the countries we will be visiting.
Verizon cell phone works in some places in Mexico - other wise we will use phone
cards and/or SKYPE - an internet phone service.
Insurance for both vehicles:
Progressive, which we already have on the motorhome will cover it, while traveling, for comprehensive only. We will obtain Mexican liability insurance for motorhome and jeep before leaving the US. We plan on using ADA Vis Global Insurance.
Will purchase liability as needed as we cross other borders.
To accommodate our unplanned third voyager:
We have rearranged some of our stuff to accommodate Jeff’s stuff. He has the four bins that go into the two higher cabinets in the living room for his cloths etc. We have only used that area for junk so no problem in giving it up. He also can use part of the closet for hanging things. We also emptied the big drawer under the bench seat - he will keep his air mattress, pump and sleeping bag in it. Cleaned out one shelf in the bathroom for him and designated towel colors for each of us. He can also use the wicker basket we just bought for little things as it was almost empty. Then he has another drawer in our bedroom where he will store his electronic stuff: IPod, camera, etc. So he should be all set
Jeff tried sitting in the new lounger while we were moving but it is a swivel and it is behind the wall of the slide out. Not only did it move he couldn’t see out front. So he ended up sitting in Bill's lounger right behind me. With the blinds pulled up at the side window he can see out. He also has some view out the front window. I think eventually he will pull up a dining room chair, put it between me and the driver then he could see fine out the front window. Of course the Highway Patrol might frown on that arrangement.
Jeff says his sleeping arrangements of air mattress and sleeping bag is comfortable. We just ask that he blow up the mattress before we go to sleep, as the pump is noisy.
Jeff has kind of taken over the new recliner and I hang out at the table.
We are having no problems with sharing the bathroom.
Jeff and I went to the Lodge in the campground and checked out the wireless system. We both wanted to see if our laptops which were new picked up wireless okay. Success for both of us. No problems getting on line
I cook and the guys clean up - this system works for me.
Bill is teaching Jeff all the things that need to be done when stopping and starting for the day. Hooking up all the utilities and unhooking the car. And the fun job of dumping and rehooking the car.
I’m sure we will still have to work out a few things when we are full time traveling.
An accounting of our trip can be found in My Travel Blog.