jenn November 6th, 2014
This is part one of our trip to Baja.
After three plus years of wanting to sell the camper (it was way too big for our lifestyle), we finally put our backs into it and got it done. Yeehaw!
With that (4 hours) behind us, we were free to move about the country again. I knew that our friends were heading down to Baja California, Mexico in just under two weeks, so we decided to crash their caravan. That’s right 10 days to get everything in order and drive from Florida to San Diego. Go!
We had just spent the last few months getting the van expedition ready (huge thanks to Shawn and my folks) so the only vehicle related prep we had to do was get Mexican auto insurance. That part was so easy. We signed up over the internet and printed the paper work out at a truck stop in route. It cost about $500 for 6mo. There are also plans for half that amount. We weren’t going to the mainland, so importation paperwork wasn’t necessary.
It took us about five days to make the trip from across the country. Once there, we proceed to get our ducks in a row for our journey south into Baja.
This being my first time camping in another country (Canada doesn’t count), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everything the media feeds us about Mexico sure puts the place in a bad light. So in a moment of paranoia, I opened a travel account with my bank. I considered it a disposable account that I could move small amounts of cash into as needed. They gave me an on the spot, temporary debit card. My bank offers these accounts without minimum balances or fees for up to 90 days. There are no fees or penalties to close it.
I got my bills set up on auto pay so that things would churn along without me. I wish that I had thought to put some of my accounts on hold. It would have saved me $100s.There’s no reason to pay for services I’m not using.
We have a lot of things that we didn’t feel needed to come south with us, so we rented storage bay near the border to store it until our stateside return. It’s $45/mo and the first month was free.
To be on the safe side, I got the required health certificate for the dogs. You are supposed to have one dated no earlier than 10 days before your border crossing. In order to get one, all you need is proof of current rabies vaccination and a healthy dog… oh and cash I got our certs at the animal clinic in El Centro. They charged around $75 for Snowden’s booster shot and health certificates for both dogs. Much better than the $100 per dog the other vets were quoting.
The rest of our stateside time was spent shopping to fill up all of the space we made, by putting things in storage, with food and toiletpaper. I guess I just subconsciously assumed that, since I’d never seen TP in any of the Mexican bathrooms I’d been in, the whole country must be devoid of it. Oh and I bought tortillas… really?!? Haha I’m not quite sure what I was thinking.