Safety and staying connected
There were a few things we did before leaving for Mexico that don't really fit on any specific part of the checklist, but these were still important steps to remember.
1. Upload all travel docs to our shared folder on Google drive. These included copies of everything we might need to access remotely while traveling - 2014 tax return? might need it for something...Copy of our driver's license and passports? Yep.
2. Sign up for the message board/FB page of the city we were going to live in. Joining these online groups was a great way to figure out what was going on in the town (that's how we found Gringo Bingo in SMA), and also a good resource for all of the random things we might want to know or ask the community. It helps you feel connected right away.
3. Create a STEP profile (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) to receive updates and emergency alerts from the US State Department. Once you update your profile with all of the places you'll be traveling, you will be on record with the State Department, just in case some one needs to track your location at some point. It's just a smart thing to do. I've received alerts about unstable areas in Mexico, weather warnings, etc. It is really nice to have this resource that you can trust.
4. Purchase a road atlas for Mexico. We bought Guia Roji, it's the most comprehensive map of the country. We use it every time we travel and so far it has been really reliable.
5. Set up our library account so that we could download books to our iPads. This has been so great! We do a lot of reading while on the road, especially in places where there is no wifi. Most libraries have a similar system - you'll download the compatible app to your iPad and then log into your account to access books.
We brought our dog
Would you just look at that precious face? There was no way we were going to leave Monet behind for an entire year. So we had to go through the process of legally bringing her into the country.
1. When we crossed into Mexico from Texas no one asked to check out our car, and Monet was asleep, clueless to all of the work Spencer had done to ensure that she could legally travel to a new country. Regardless, it was worth going through the trouble ahead of time to avoid potential trouble and delays at Customs.
2. Before leaving we got Monet new tags with my phone # and email address (since this would be the easiest way for people to contact us).
3. We also had to update all of her shots in a specific time period. Mexico requires proof of a a rabies shot within 15 days of entry to the country.
4. But you'll also need to obtain an International Health Certificate no more than 10 days before you travel that you can show at the border crossing.
5. One nice thing to remember is that there is no quarantine required for dogs crossing into Mexico. So assuming all of the paperwork is correct (and if they even check your car), you'll be able to bring your pooch through right away.