Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost exactly one month from today (mid October), I will be driving into Mexico at Nogales.

I think I am well-prepared, below is an abbreviated laundry list of what I have done.

1) Pre approved at USA-based Mexico Consulate for Residente Temporal, sticker in passport.

2) Have applied online with Banjercito for TIP. This is a relatively new thing, where you upload a PDF of your car title and USA registration, enter your vehicle VIN, your credit card info to pay, etc, and they mail to you in advance your TIP (or maybe a pre-approval doc to exchange for an actual TIP when you enter MX, its a little unclear). Still waiting to hear back, but they do promise a response within 10 business days.

3) I have my finances in order (I hope). I have three three credit cards and five debit/ATM cards, so accessing my money should go well.

4) Have my USA mobile phone, and also bought a spare phone. Its TMobile, so its a matter of slipping the SIM card into the new phone in the event the old phone malfunctions. Tested new phone, it works. Phone needed mostly for banking (online, banks seem to frequently want to text you a code when you log in, to verify you are you).

5) I have shed many belongings, still more to go, intend to get down to having a trunk full of belongings (half clothes, half non-clothes, is the general idea). Plus in the car itself, one duffle bag, one backpack, and a small cooler.

Anyone have general suggestions of additional steps or actions, or thoughts in the vein of "I wish I would have done that" or "I wish I would have brought that (or not brought that)" ??

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
700 Posts
auto insurance ?

Edit : and it may not apply in your situation - if I had it to do over again I would have had my car inspected in Texas (we came from a state with no emission inspections). You may never need it - but ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
auto insurance ?
Coincidentally, I was researching that today.

I came across this site: https://www.bajabound.com/buy/?view=start

I got a quote from this site listing a company called HDI Seguros, six months comprehensive "deluxe" was US$281. My car is ten years old, basic compact, market value approx US$8K

$281 is not bad, but it is more than I pay here in the USA, but here in the USA they check my credit rating, check my driving history, etc, whereas this site asked only the most basic questions.

I have no knowledge of Mexico Auto Insurance ... is HDI Seguros reputable? Other websites to recommend? Does $281 sound reasonable?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
712 Posts
One good general traveler's precaution is to pretend that you get mugged and your wallet and cell phone have been stolen. Now what?

Make a hardcopy inventory of your wallet, with vital numbers from cards and IDs and the numbers off the backs to call for lost cards. Obviously you need to secure this list in a very safe place, like a hidden spot in your car. You probably can't protect against having your car stolen along with your wallet and cell phone, in that case you're just truly screwed.

Rather than exchange all my cash when I cross into a new country, I prefer to hang on to a little of the currency from the old country for when I go back there again. I therefore like to have two wallets, one for the country I'm in and one for the US. So if you are throwing stuff out and find an extra old wallet, you might want to keep it rather than throw it away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
580 Posts
Make photocopies of all your important documents. Drivers license, passport, car papers, insurance, the paperwork you got from Mexican consulate, etc. Leave a set in US with a family member or friend, bring a set with you and stash somewhere other than the place you are keeping the originals.
Be sure to have an "In Case of Emergency contact...." paper in your wallet, I keep one in my glove box as well. Would be prudent to write it both in English and Spanish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
580 Posts
And, as another poster mentioned, Mex. car insurance, which you can also purchase online. I have a Mex. plated vehicle, and I have HDI. I haven't had to make a claim, so can't speak to that, but my insurance broker here says they are good.
When I had a Canadian plated vehicle I used to use Lewis and Lewis, which has a website and are based out of Calif. Their underwriter is Qualitas. I always opted for their towing package as well. It was only $6 at the time and I did have to use it, so was well worth it.
Extra coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, and a gas can could come in handy (hopefully not).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
Coincidentally, I was researching that today.

I came across this site: https://www.bajabound.com/buy/?view=start

I got a quote from this site listing a company called HDI Seguros, six months comprehensive "deluxe" was US$281. My car is ten years old, basic compact, market value approx US$8K

$281 is not bad, but it is more than I pay here in the USA, but here in the USA they check my credit rating, check my driving history, etc, whereas this site asked only the most basic questions.

I have no knowledge of Mexico Auto Insurance ... is HDI Seguros reputable? Other websites to recommend? Does $281 sound reasonable?
We insured our Ford Windstar with HDI Seguros for 2-3 years, and it was fine. But we never had to test it by having an accident. The same insurance rep this year switched us to INBURSA when we bought a new Honda CR/V.

$282 (USD?) seems low to me, but I'm no expert. Be sure that you are getting coverage for the important things.

I have read, but can't confirm, that getting insurance coverage for a whole year is a better deal than for 6 months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One good general traveler's precaution is to pretend that you get mugged and your wallet and cell phone have been stolen. Now what?

.....

Make a hardcopy inventory of your wallet,

.....

Rather than exchange all my cash when I cross into a new country, I prefer to hang on to a little of the currency from the old country for when I go back there again. I therefore like to have two wallets, one for the country I'm in and one for the US.
Good advice. Before entering MX at Nogales, I will be paring my wallet down to containing cash and a color photocopy of my Driver's License. All credit/debit cards, my powered-down mobile phone, passport, original DL, etc will be carefully hidden in the car (I've owned it over 10 years, I know the nooks and crannies), and will be moved into my hotel room at night and secured inside the room.

I already have color scans of important docs stored in "the cloud", and will be adding to that as time progresses.

To prevent/deter car theft, I do have an old-school Club steering wheel lock, plus my car shuts off the fuel pump when the doors are locked, so hot-wiring is not possible. My driving will be confined to daylight hours for safety reasons (both USA and Mexico). All my hotels in MX are near the highway and I read online reviews to ensure I am staying at places previous travelers have deemed safe, and with dining nearby.

I will be bringing a wad of US cash with me, some I will exchange at a cambio/bank in Nogales for pesos, the rest I will keep for future use, including at least one trip to the USA in 2018.

surabi said:
Extra coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, and a gas can could come in handy (hopefully not).
Oil yes, because my car uses a tad bit of oil when its north of 92F/33C. In Mexico near the Pacific coast especially, these temps are possible in October, so I do need to be prepared.

Part of my reason to drive in October versus earlier was to avoid being scorched by the insane north of 101F temps that are very normal in summer. Also to (hopefully) avoid the rain storms that are more common in summer.

As far as the other systems (transmission, cooling, brakes), everything has been prepped for this odyssey. Notably, new coolant, new brake fluid, and the tranny fluid is full synthetic and only has two years use on it.

anonimo said:
I have read, but can't confirm, that getting insurance coverage for a whole year is a better deal than for 6 months.
You are correct, and I might just buy a full year because it looks to be a better deal.

.
 

·
Super Moderator
Guadalajara, México
Joined
·
7,056 Posts
Good advice. Before entering MX at Nogales, I will be paring my wallet down to containing cash and a color photocopy of my Driver's License. All credit/debit cards, my powered-down mobile phone, passport, original DL, etc will be carefully hidden in the car (I've owned it over 10 years, I know the nooks and crannies), and will be moved into my hotel room at night and secured inside the room.

I already have color scans of important docs stored in "the cloud", and will be adding to that as time progresses.

To prevent/deter car theft, I do have an old-school Club steering wheel lock, plus my car shuts off the fuel pump when the doors are locked, so hot-wiring is not possible. My driving will be confined to daylight hours for safety reasons (both USA and Mexico). All my hotels in MX are near the highway and I read online reviews to ensure I am staying at places previous travelers have deemed safe, and with dining nearby.

I will be bringing a wad of US cash with me, some I will exchange at a cambio/bank in Nogales for pesos, the rest I will keep for future use, including at least one trip to the USA in 2018.



Oil yes, because my car uses a tad bit of oil when its north of 92F/33C. In Mexico near the Pacific coast especially, these temps are possible in October, so I do need to be prepared.

Part of my reason to drive in October versus earlier was to avoid being scorched by the insane north of 101F temps that are very normal in summer. Also to (hopefully) avoid the rain storms that are more common in summer.

As far as the other systems (transmission, cooling, brakes), everything has been prepped for this odyssey. Notably, new coolant, new brake fluid, and the tranny fluid is full synthetic and only has two years use on it.



You are correct, and I might just buy a full year because it looks to be a better deal.

.
Sounds like you have thought this through carefully. The only comment I have on your post is the plan to bring cash and convert it in Nogales. I believe throughout the world, the safest, and best exchange rate for getting local cash is from an ATM machine with a debit card.

Since I travel to the US and Europe every year, I keep a few dollars and euros, maybe 20-50 of each, around all the time, but then just rely on an ATM after I get there for most of my cash. Similarly for coming to Mexico, I suggest stopping at an ATM in Nogales and stocking up on cash rather than carrying a lot of dollars and converting them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
a wad of US cash
Similarly for coming to Mexico, I suggest stopping at an ATM in Nogales and stocking up on cash rather than carrying a lot of dollars and converting them.
Well, it won't be THAT big of a wad.

This raises a question. My driving route will be to enter MX at Nogales, spend Night One in Hermosillo. Day Two is drive from Hermosillo to Los Mochis. Day Three is Los Mochis to Mazatlan. Day Four is Mazatlan to Tepic. Day Five, the final day, is Tepic to my destination of Guadalajara (to be specific, Zapopan).

Should I expect Allpoint network ATMs to be easy to find the entire route? My hotels are all paid for in advance, but I will need money for food and fuel. And maybe a cold adult drink or two in the evening.

What about safety? Caution at all times of course, but the US State Department seems to think the state of Sinaloa in particular is dangerous. Note, both Mazatlan and Los Mochis are in Sinaloa.

Also - what about buying fuel for the car? Is there a particular brand name of gas station that is better to stop at? I would prefer them to have diet cokes for sale, as I live on diet cokes when driving longer distances.
 

·
Super Moderator
Guadalajara, México
Joined
·
7,056 Posts
Well, it won't be THAT big of a wad.

This raises a question. My driving route will be to enter MX at Nogales, spend Night One in Hermosillo. Day Two is drive from Hermosillo to Los Mochis. Day Three is Los Mochis to Mazatlan. Day Four is Mazatlan to Tepic. Day Five, the final day, is Tepic to my destination of Guadalajara (to be specific, Zapopan).

Should I expect Allpoint network ATMs to be easy to find the entire route? My hotels are all paid for in advance, but I will need money for food and fuel. And maybe a cold adult drink or two in the evening.

What about safety? Caution at all times of course, but the US State Department seems to think the state of Sinaloa in particular is dangerous. Note, both Mazatlan and Los Mochis are in Sinaloa.

Also - what about buying fuel for the car? Is there a particular brand name of gas station that is better to stop at? I would prefer them to have diet cokes for sale, as I live on diet cokes when driving longer distances.
The AllPoint web site lists a few ATMs in all of those cities except Nogales. I would not worry about safety in any of those places, but that is personal and my thresholds are different than others. I took a similar route last year staying in Mexicali, Guaymas, and El Rosario.

As far as fuel, all gas stations used to be owned by Pemex, the Mexican national gasoline distributor. I have heard there are others showing up now, since they are opening up that market, but I haven't seen any yet. I suggest paying cash for gas. If you give them a big bill, i.e. $500 pesos, make it clear by asking before hand if they have change for 500 (Tiene cambio para quinientos?). Watch that they zero the pump before starting, although they all seem to make a big point of showing you that they are doing that. Incidentally, you don't get to or have to pump your own gas, all stations have attendants to do that. And I recently learned that many (most?) people tip the attendant. I didn't know that was the custom. I just started buying gas in Mexico last year and am still learning apparently. Before that I didn't have a vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
712 Posts
I'm not a driver, but most of the gas stations I've seen have some kind of convenience store attached to them that I expect will have three or more kinds of coke. Plus you can't swing a dead armadillo without hitting an Oxxo, the Mexican version of 7-11. You could probably make a game out of it in most cities: see how many different Oxxo's you could chain together where the requirement is you must be able to see the next one from the front door of the previous one.

I usually see something labelled "sin azúcar" in addition to regular coke, but I'm not sure if that's identical to NoB diet coke or not because I don't drink it here or there. There's also often something labelled coke zero, and sometimes coke with lime.

Your problem may turn out to be finding sufficient bathrooms to get rid of all that diet coke rather than finding places to buy it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Guadalajara, México
Joined
·
7,056 Posts
I'm not a driver, but most of the gas stations I've seen have some kind of convenience store attached to them that I expect will have three or more kinds of coke. Plus you can't swing a dead armadillo without hitting an Oxxo, the Mexican version of 7-11. You could probably make a game out of it in most cities: see how many different Oxxo's you could chain together where the requirement is you must be able to see the next one from the front door of the previous one.

I usually see something labelled "sin azúcar" in addition to regular coke, but I'm not sure if that's identical to NoB diet coke or not because I don't drink it here or there. There's also often something labelled coke zero, and sometimes coke with lime.

Your problem may turn out to be finding sufficient bathrooms to get rid of all that diet coke rather than finding places to buy it.
I was going to mention that but forgot. On the highways, every gas station has a convenience store attached, and they all have bathrooms. On rare occasions the bathroom will have an attendant and cost a few pesos, but most are unattended and free. By the standards of Mexican bathrooms they are usually not too bad. (If you are familiar with Mexican public bathrooms, you will realize that that is not saying much.)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
Don't expect ATM's in every corner store like the states, in fact, they can be rare or difficult to find in places. Most all streets are alternating one way and traffic can be a nightmare if you are not used to the narrow streets and aggressive drivers. If you are in the wrong lane and need to turn you are just out of luck as most people will not let you in. Driving inner cities looking for an ATM that accepts your card is not the best plan in my opinion.

It is better to get enough pesos for the trip and hide them in a innocent looking container, Amazon sells a lot of hiding containers that a thief wouldn't look twice at, like a brush or a can that the bottom screws off of like so.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_...=hiding+containers,aps,561&crid=2TOTCQOEM7JJW

Pemex stations are everywhere and the regular Magna gas is good. The employees do not get paid and depend on tips for their living, just like the baggers at the supermarket so tip them but as said, watch to make sure they zero out the pump and not start it at 300 pesos or whatever it stopped on for the last customer. Some of these guys make Houdini look like an amateur when it comes to switching bills so hand them one bill at a time when paying, not a wad of bills.

As far as bathrooms go, don't expect toilet paper, bring your own just in case. Some charge a small fee like 2 pesos and will hand you about three squares of paper.

Do not stop for anyone waving you down and do not panic when you come to a police or military checkpoint as these are common. Some will just flag you through, some will do a search, just smile and be polite.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
I usually see something labelled "sin azúcar" in addition to regular coke, but I'm not sure if that's identical to NoB diet coke or not because I don't drink it here or there.
"Without sugar"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,720 Posts
Diet Coke = Coca Lite
Do not bother with a wad of US cash, as it will be rather useless in Mexico these days. Banks do not want it, so people are inconvenienced If you offer it. Pesos are king in Mexico and ATMs are available at banks, large groceries, big box stores, etc. It is wise to have a couple of debit cards from major banks with either the Visa or Mastercard logo. Have the bank raise your daily limit to $1000 USD to avoid excess transaction charges, and try to find a bank which rebates ATM charges. If you have ever served in the US military, USAA is probably your best choice.
The proposed route and stopping points seem quite liesurely to me, as it is an easy 3-day trip from Tucson to Chapala; we have done it in two 12 hour days with a singl stop in Culiacan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
finding sufficient bathrooms to get rid of all that diet coke rather than finding places to buy it.
tundragreen said:
By the standards of Mexican bathrooms
zorro2017 said:
As far as bathrooms go, don't expect toilet paper, bring your own just in case.
Thanks for the thorough addressing of the toilet issue. :) I will have hand sanitizer, paper towels, and TP on board.

rvgringo said:
The proposed route and stopping points seem quite liesurely to me, as it is an easy 3-day trip from Tucson to Chapala; we have done it in two 12 hour days with a singl stop in Culiacan.
Intentionally leisurely. I will be driving over 1500 miles just to get to the MX border, so I anticipate being a little fatigued to begin with. Also, there are sights and hotel swimming pools to be enjoyed. Slow down and smell the roses, as the saying goes.

I acknowledge part of the thinking is fear of the unknown, possibly misplaced, owing to my limited experience driving in MX. I don't want to assume that knocking out 10+ hours of driving in MX is the same as it is NOB. Plenty of stories I have read say it often is not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,450 Posts
Coca Cola "sin azugar" is new. It is the same as Coke Light [Diet Coke = Coca Lite] except it has more artifical sweetener and you can easliy taste the difference.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
Thanks for the thorough addressing of the toilet issue. :) I will have hand sanitizer, paper towels, and TP on board.



Intentionally leisurely. I will be driving over 1500 miles just to get to the MX border, so I anticipate being a little fatigued to begin with. Also, there are sights and hotel swimming pools to be enjoyed. Slow down and smell the roses, as the saying goes.

I acknowledge part of the thinking is fear of the unknown, possibly misplaced, owing to my limited experience driving in MX. I don't want to assume that knocking out 10+ hours of driving in MX is the same as it is NOB. Plenty of stories I have read say it often is not.
The highways in Mexico are pretty good, in general. But a nice highway can just end abruptly being blocked off by boulders when construction is going on. Don't expect any signs to warn you in advance but there will be another way to go, it may or may not be paved. I don't know of any app that shows road construction in Mexico. A highway with one lane closed can add hours to your trip. If you do see a "Curva Peligrosa" or "dangerous curve" sign, pay attention, Mexico does not waste a lot of money on signs.

Also in every small village there will be topes that also slow you down, tolls to stop and pay, etc. Just looking at a map does not show that unlike America that uses exits and on ramps, the highway often goes right through the center of a city with red lights and a lot of traffic. Tampico can be challenging to say the least.

But relax and take it all in, if you see pottery on the side of the road, stop and buy some or you will wish that you had. Take pictures, stop and eat and just enjoy the trip.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top