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Author Topic: Budget  (Read 17724 times)

The Limey

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Budget
« on: June 13, 2008, 09:10:54 PM »
I hope to do a 18 month tour of the US , Canada , Mexico

Iíve heard quite a few horror stories about Mexico is it that bad also is the cost of living in Canada &  Mexico the same as America.

If I can do America on $2000 / $3000 per month  will it cost more or less in Canada & Mexico I know this is like asking how long is a bit of string.

Things like are camp sites cheaper in Mexico , gas prices , food etc also any security tips on where not to go.


Regards and thankyou for you help Paul

Carl L

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Re: Budget
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008, 09:29:31 PM »
As much as I hate to say it, Mexico is very bad right now, especially on or near the US border.  The government is locked in a near civil war with the narco-gangsters and the gangsters are killing each other.  Just off the top of my head, Baja California de Norte, Sinaloa, and Guerrera and the area around Juarez are pretty hairy right now. The upper middle class is moving out of Baja to the San Diego to avoid the wave of kidnappings in Tijuana.   If you go, go with a lead caravan.  Also you will need good Mexican insurance in the best of times and places.  US or any foreign insurance will not do.   Fuel and general cost of living in Mexico has traditionally been cheaper than the USA or Canada.   

Canada is nice.

The length of a piece of string is twice the distance from one end to the center.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 09:33:44 PM by Carl L »
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2008, 09:33:22 PM »
Paul,

Mexico is a huge country, so it's hard to generalize. You could check out our RVing outside the USA message board for some prior discussions.

There were some relatively recent reports of people getting held up, robbed, kidnapped, or whatever by banditos in some border towns. Some perennial Mexican visitors, including some tour guides, decided to call it quits and not go back. We postponed a planned visit to Mexico last winter, thinking we'd wait until the dust settles.

Carl makes a good point about going with a caravan. Safety in numbers I guess.

Check out our Trip reports, journals & logs message board and the Trip reports area of our library for some great reports from forum members who have spent time south of the border.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 09:39:07 PM by Tom »
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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2008, 09:55:38 PM »
Thanx Carl & Tom

It sounds like the story's are true about Mexico don't get me wrong I still want to go , I may have to link up with a caravan .


Last time I was in South Africa they were fitting flamethrowers to cars to prevent car jackings so mexico cant be as bad as that I hope  :o.

Thx again guys for the info Paul   

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 09:58:32 PM »
Quote
... they were fitting flamethrowers to cars to prevent car jackings so mexico cant be as bad as that I hope

Nah, they use machine guns down there. Much more civilized.
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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2008, 10:05:43 PM »
Nah, they use machine guns down there. Much more civilized.


 :o :o :o I also heard that

Paul

Buddy Tott

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Re: Budget
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 02:21:23 AM »
As an ex-limey and living fairly close to the Mexican border (40 miles away in So. CA), I wouldn't venture there right now, not across my local border crossings, anyway.   There have been the occasional report(s) as Tom mentioned, kidnapping, robbery etc. but they are few and far between.  If they were that rampant we would here of them, I'm sure, on our local TV news.  I recently Googled ' Mexico kidnappings' and tried to verify how bad the situation was, but did'nt come up with a whole lot  Nevertheless, it's not really somehwere I would like to visit by road at this moment.   If you still have the urge, when you get here, leave the MH at a campsite and take 3/4/7 day cruise out of LA or San Diego.  They are fairly cheap, run virtually everyday, 365 and you get the best of both worlds.   Still, there is plenty to see this side of the border and even 18 mos. may not be long enough.

A couple of years ago I toured a small portion of Western BC, Canada.  That took a month and I barely scratched the surface of BC, let alone the other Provences.

BT

nil-permita illigitemii personae carborundum.

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2008, 10:40:25 AM »
Thanx for the info BT

With a bit of luck things might change by the time I get out there 


Paul

KodiakRV

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Re: Budget
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2008, 12:04:59 PM »
...

The length of a piece of string is twice the distance from one end to the center.


Is this some secret handshake kind of thing?  ???  ???  ???
Frank
Florida

Frizlefrak

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Re: Budget
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2008, 12:51:18 PM »
I live in El Paso, and I would not recommend an RV trip south of the border right now.  As the others have mentioned, there is a power struggle going on right now between the cartels and the govt.  While most civilians who arent' involved in any of this aren't generally bothered, you could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I venture into Juarez just long enough to go to the dentist, and then right back over the bridge.  The wife and I used to go down for dinner at least once or twice a month....not any more.  The Juarez police (mostly corrupt) are being gunned down daily.  The Mexican military are patrolling the streets of Juarez right now to try to stabilize the situation....but don't seem to be making any headway.  It fortunately hasn't spilled over into El Paso.

But to give you an idea of the severity, one kingpin has announced that he is going after Felipe Calderon personally....and wishes to take the reigns of the govt by force.  What you have right now is a situation not unlike Al Capone with Chicago.  Half of the govt are on the drug lord's payrolls.

There's plenty to see on this side of the river.  Now would be a good time to do that. 

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2008, 01:26:24 PM »
Hi Frizlefrak

Thankyou for the warning I may just have to give it a miss ..............shame I was looking foward to going but hey as you said there's plenty to see on the US side of the border.


Paul

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Budget
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2008, 02:00:17 PM »

To this point, I don't see much response regarding Canada.  It too is a VERY large contry in which you could easily spend the entire 18 months, but only if you have a coach that is fully winterized.  It is over 3,000 miles (5,000 kms) coast to coast, and you'll never get to the northern coast, although you can get up quite far, and that's a great Motor Home trip, up to Whitehorse.  We're 20 to 25% vlarger with half the population, so there is a lot of natural undevelopped areas.  Gas, booze and smokes are definately more expensive, but food and campsites are likely cheaper.  I'm sure you'll find lots to do over here.
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2008, 05:31:11 PM »
Thanx Hfx_Cdn
I keep forgetting how big your country is + Canada I don't expect to see it all only the very best bits and thankyou for the info


Paul

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Budget
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2008, 06:42:57 PM »
If you want to see the best, then you had best plan on coming East.  The four Atlantic Provinces can easily entertain you for months, there is just so much to see, or as we say it in Nova Scotia "so much to sea".
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Carl L

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Re: Budget
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2008, 07:48:37 PM »
Hi Frizlefrak

Thankyou for the warning I may just have to give it a miss ..............shame I was looking foward to going but hey as you said there's plenty to see on the US side of the border.

Paul

There is some comfort to be had that a lot of Mexican culture is found north of the border.  In particular you can find it in full bloom in towns like El Paso, Tucson, AZ, and Los Angeles and San Diego, CA.   New Mexico is a special case, they have a well developed Spanish/Mexican/Indian culture that goes back into the 17th and 18th centuries.   The state is worth a visit all by itself.  In fact, if I were you, I would give New Mexico the time you would have given Old Mexico.



Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008, 08:53:17 PM »
There's just so much to do and not enough time  :(I wish you could get a 5 year visa I also love blues music muddy waters , john lee hooker , robert johnson so I have to visit some blues and jazz clubs.


Thanx for tips guys I will have to start making a list ,  would just like to say thanx to the whole forum for the welcome and the help you have given me.

Paul 
 

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2008, 09:13:25 PM »
Quote
... I have to visit some blues and jazz clubs.[/url]

I don't know about blues, but be sure to visit the Sacramento international jazz jubilee. Lots of jaz groups/musicians, and you won't be disappointed.

BTW we're a little over an hour from Old Town Sacramento, home of the Jazz Jubilee.
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Wendy

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Re: Budget
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2008, 11:58:24 AM »
If you like blues, keep an eye out in any of the towns you visit....lots of small towns have music in their parks. Watch the local papers.

Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2008, 03:47:44 PM »
Thanx Guys
I will put them on my list I do play at bit myself  :D Wendy but I will not get the guitar out till I go boondocking as I would hate to spoil someones vacation  ;D


Paul

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Budget
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2008, 05:08:15 PM »
I know there are music camp outs all across both Canada and the US, all at various time of the year, and most types of music.  For example, coming home from the cottage today, we saw a bluegrass get together just breaking up.  I'm sure that you could plan several weeks of entertainment by searching the web, and looking on the map.,
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Carl L

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Re: Budget
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2008, 11:40:32 PM »
And then there is the Playboy Jazz Festival:    http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=19089
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

PancakeBill

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Re: Budget
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2008, 06:58:01 AM »
The length of a piece of string is twice the distance from one end to the center.



Is this some secret handshake kind of thing?     


I guess if you don't know we can't tell you.   ;)
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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Carl L

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Re: Budget
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2008, 01:08:19 PM »
The length of a piece of string is twice the distance from one end to the center.

Is this some secret handshake kind of thing?     


I guess if you don't know we can't tell you.   ;)

If we told you, we would have to kill you ... 8)
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

harley man

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Re: Budget
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2008, 01:27:56 PM »
Limey Paul. Doing our USA in 18 months is like seeing Yellowstone in ONE day! Montana is a state that can easily take a month and that may not include Glacier Park.I myself don't travel outside our country as I have too much to love here. I can go to Arlington and lay among the fallen for days. Go to Cracker Barrel, get a  patriotic CD and listen to Charlie Daniels, Kate Smith, or Lee Greenwood. That's what we (USA) are all about. Oh, don't  forget our Gettysburg!!!!
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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2008, 06:03:16 PM »
If we told you, we would have to kill you ... 8)

shhhhhhhhh don't tell them  ;)


Thanx for all the tips guys ......may just have to stay longer  ;D


Paul

Wendy

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Re: Budget
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2008, 06:34:30 PM »
Maybe your 18-month trip will give you a nice taste of the U.S. and you can keep a list of all the places you want to come back to and spend more time.

Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2008, 08:01:01 PM »
Hi Wendy
Its a one off trip for me 18 mths - 24 max Ive still got the rest of the world to see Im 50 now so I need to keep moving and make up for all the time Ive lost.

Paul

papahog

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Re: Budget
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2008, 01:15:48 PM »
Washington DC can take a month by itself. Arlington another week and Gettysburg at least a week.  I live in Oregon and have been to DC three times and still need to go back and finish with the Smithsonian of American History.

Try doing a good job of seeing the Puget sound area in a month.  Fat chance.

18 months could get you about half of the Western United States.  I believe you can travel forever in the good ole US and be happy feeling like your not missing out on anything in other countries.
Ken
06 F-150 4x4 pulling an 2008 27ft Cougar.
40,000 miles year ending June 2008
What a trip.

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2008, 02:55:41 PM »
One thing that folks might not realize is that Paul and other visitors from the UK get 6 months maximum when entering the U.S. before they have to leave. So, Paul's "18 months visit" will necessarily be 3 separate visits, with trips to Canada to be able to re-enter the U.S. and restart the clock. There have been reports of US Customs & Immigration challenging people who repeatedly re-enter the U.S. with only a few weeks in between. So, even if Paul had the time to stay longer than 18 months, he may not be allowed.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 04:37:18 PM by Tom »
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PancakeBill

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Re: Budget
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2008, 05:42:46 PM »
Just get him naturalized, be done with it. 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
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Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2008, 06:25:09 PM »
LOL Bill, he wouldn't be allowed to stay here long enough to get through the process. He could, of course, marry an all-American girl.
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PancakeBill

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Re: Budget
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2008, 06:27:12 PM »
So many things pop into my mind, and it is terrible keeping my fingers still.  adios
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
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Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
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fred uk

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Re: Budget
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2008, 12:32:26 AM »
Hi Limey
I am currently in  Canada Fort St John on the Alaskan Highway heading for Alaska i started my trip in Tampa Florida on 1st April and can assure you Canada is more expensive than the USA.
Gas is any where between $ 1.33 a litre to $1.44. Camp Grounds tend to be a little more expensive, food certainly is dearer but the trip is worth it, i have seen so much since we started the experience is unbelievable , the people you meet in the RV world are really wonderful.
You can do it on your Budget at todays prices .

Fred

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2008, 05:59:58 AM »
LOL Bill, he wouldn't be allowed to stay here long enough to get through the process. He could, of course, marry an all-American girl.


 :o Come on Tom I'm on divorce number 2 ......not that Ive got anything against america ladys or any other ladys but it's the single life for me Ive only got 1 house left and I want to keep it  ;D


Thanx for the tips Fred

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2008, 12:11:02 PM »
Hi Guys

Just letting you all know Iím still here , still not sold the house yet

With the house not selling itís given me more time to think things through Iím still buying a A Class know matter how much gas goes up ( thatís the dream ).

However Iím going to buy a used pusher and Iím thinking of buying it from a Consignment Dealer in Texas Iím sure you will all know the one I mean

Thanx again for all your

Paul

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2008, 12:18:22 PM »
Keep that dream alive Paul.
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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2008, 12:27:46 PM »
Keep that dream alive Paul.


Thanx Tom

Still plan do this ......the only thing thats changed I'm going for a used pusher for the price of a new gas rig and I will now be buying in Texas instead of Florida.

I also have a place to stay for free and the use of a car  this will give me plenty of time to have look at different rigs

Luca1369

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Re: Budget
« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2008, 12:35:52 PM »
Paul,

   I guess there's one in every crowd, and I'm he.  I must disagree with not going to Mexico.  It's like anywhere else, whether it be NY, LA, or London, there ARE places you don't go...and border towns are certainly high on the list, including those already mentioned and especially Laredo down in Texas (Brownsville/Matamoros is fine).  However as long as you don't linger in the border towns, just clear in and move on, get into the country, you should not have a problem.

   I spent March/April in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, and over the last four years I've put some 20,000 miles under me in Mexico itself.  It's a beautiful country, the food is good and economical, the gas is cheaper than in the US (although the octane levels are not as high as shown on the pump), and if you're a haggler you'll love bargaining with the street vendors.  My main gripe is the speedbumps, "topes" in Spanish, there are WAY TOO MANY of them to suit me.  Yes, topes, a scarcity of really nice roads, slow trucks, and small town law enforcement types that hit you up for 100 pesos (US$10) for speeding just because you have a gringo tag, even if you weren't speeding, and I wasn't (but that's just typical of many you'll meet down there whose only ambition is to seperate you from your dollars).

  I won't go into details here, but if you'd like, email me and I'll be happy to fill you in and suggest a route and offer my own humble opinons. 

Steve
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I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
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A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

John From Detroit

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Re: Budget
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2008, 12:38:43 PM »
Quote
Just letting you all know Iím still here , still not sold the house yet

The feeling is not unknown around here either.. In fact.. I could have typed that line myself
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2008, 01:10:55 PM »
Hi Steve
Sounds like you had a great time  I'm still planing on going can't be any worse than a night in Necastle lol
will e:mail  once I have a date

Thanx again



Hi John

The housing market is bad at the moment prices still falling here


Paul

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2008, 01:23:46 PM »
Quote
I won't go into details here, but if you'd like, email me and I'll be happy to fill you in and suggest a route and offer my own humble opinons.

Steve, why not share those opinions here for the benefit of others? The fact that some folks are a little gun shy of going to MX right now is a good reason to share your insights and experience. Help educate/recalibrate us all.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2008, 01:39:58 PM »
I agree Tom there's alot of people being put off going to Mexico its sounds like once your clear of the border towns its ok  I plan to link up with a caravan for safe passage.


However there's a saying wrong place wrong time so any sign of danger and I will be off


Carl L

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Re: Budget
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2008, 01:59:44 PM »
I agree Tom there's alot of people being put off going to Mexico its sounds like once your clear of the border towns its ok  I plan to link up with a caravan for safe passage.


However there's a saying wrong place wrong time so any sign of danger and I will be off



Not just the border towns.   You might want to give the states of Sinaloa and Guerrrera a pass, particularly Sinaloa of late.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2008, 02:54:17 PM »
Not just the border towns.   You might want to give the states of Sinaloa and Guerrrera a pass, particularly Sinaloa of late.


Thanx Carl will cross them off the list or mark them in red ...places to avoid

Luca1369

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Re: Budget
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2008, 03:39:52 PM »
Steve, why not share those opinions here for the benefit of others? The fact that some folks are a little gun shy of going to MX right now is a good reason to share your insights and experience. Help educate/recalibrate us all.

Okay Tom, here goes, but bear in mind that these are my own opinions created by my experiences down there, yours may be different, some folks will love Mexico, some will swear theyíll never go back.  Iím probably going to go overboard on this, it will be a long one.

Iím not familiar with western Mexico and Baja, most of my crossings were at Brownsville/Matamoros, and once at Nogales and once at Juarez/El Paso.  First, change some dollars into pesos on the American side, youíll get a good rate, but shop around (Iíve actually made money on exchanges by buying pesos at 10:1 in from the money changes at the border in southern Mexico and selling them in the U.S for 10.5:1 and up).  Make sure all your paperwork is correct and you know what steps you need to take to clear in (Passports, vehicle title, and pet papers (Belize is especially picky about this, a $50 fine if you show up without having an import permit for your pet already in your hand). 

If youíre heading into Belize or Guatemala, youíll need to change your pesos or dollars for Belizean Dollars or Guatemala Quetzales, and this is usually done at the border (unless you have the foresight to take care of this in advance which requires a trip to a bank).  If you donít know where to change your money at the border, donít worry, the money changers will find you, youíll stick out like a pink kangaroo.  But be careful!  Some of these guys are honest, and some will swindle you in a heartbeat.  Donít forget, youíll be dealing with a new currency youíre not familiar with (color and denomination), and the man youíre dealing with will be counting very fast.  Often the changers will be counting and separating the bills into small piles so fast that you will have trouble keeping up and by the time you get to count your money and realize youíve been taken the changer is long gone.  The combination of the changerís speed and your unfamiliarity with the currency works against you, and the money changer knows that.  To combat this, NEVER hand over your dollars first, make the changer give you his stack first, he can wait till youíre satisfied with the count for his payment.  Second, make sure that you have settled on an exchange rate before he starts countingÖusually 10:1 (dollars to pesos), and 2:1 (dollars to Belizean dollars), and 7.6:1 (for dollars to Quetzales).  Some changers will quote you one price and then pay you off in a lesser price claiming that they didnít understand you if you catch them.  But the truth is, they meant to do that, so be careful.  They do this by offering ďXĒ amount of pesos (Iím using this as an example because I ran across this trick on the Mexico/Guatemala border, on the Mexican side) for ďYĒ amount of U.S. dollars, and then handing you less than the agreed on amount while showing you on a calculator that same amount.  Donít let someone get away with this.  Ask to see his calculator if you must and show him.  Heís not stupid, but he may be feigning stupidity to cover his tail when heís caught.  If youíre having a problem call a policeman, thereís usually one close by (weíre talking right at the border, right in front of the Customs and Immigration offices is where this will likely take place), and you might be surprised how quickly the changer gives you the right amount.  Thereís no way to tell a honest from a dishonest changer, you just have to take a chance.  On a final note, before leaving a country, make sure you have some of the local currency left in case there is a departure fee.

Border towns have a unique notoriety, all type of shysters and heisters wind up there due to the influx of dollars heading south and their desire to tap into that flow.  Everywhere, but most particularly in border towns, youíll run across people who are trying to get as much money for as little effort as possible, whether it be out and out armed robbery, to simply calling you a cab and wanting a tip for providing that service.  I try to spend a minimum of time in border towns, and then only in the busiest, safest looking places.

Border towns by nature can be lively and loud, with lots of street vendors competing for your money, and while theyíre great if youíre just coming over for the day, Iíd skip them if Iím heading further south.  If shopping is your thing, enjoy yourself, but remember that for every vendor you see in a border town, youíll find hundreds more further south in every small town and community, so donít spend all your money at the border, besides the best deals are not to be found at the border.  Haggling is a way of life so donít be embarrassed to bargain, itís expected.  I usually offer 25% of the initial asking price and after a period of back and forth banter settle at around 50%-75% of the starting price (bear in mind that what I just wrote is NOT set in concrete, be flexible and donít forget that you can always raise your offer, but you canít lower it so start LOW-from my experience some of the Mayan women are the toughest hagglers).  Remember to keep your sense of humor at all times. 

As you head into Mexico and leave the border behind be prepared for mucho speedbumps, topes, as theyíre everywhere, particularly in the state of Veracruz.  You will be heading down a two lane road well away from a town of any sort and all of a sudden youíll come across speedbumps (topes or vibradores-normally a minimum of 4, 2 each way entering and leaving) with just a few shacks around.  And thereís usually someone there to sell you a cold beverage or some other item you might want.  Iíve often joked that these people must petition the government to build a topes in front of their home just so they can sell to the people in the cars (remember that this is a very poor country when you get out of the city, some folks have no electricity and have to cut firewood to cook). 

So besides the topes what other problems might you encounterÖwell, slow trucks running tandems, but not the shorter tandems that theyíll haul in the US, but full sized trailers!  Crazy chicken bus drivers flying around curves and passing on hills!  Animals in the middle of the road whether it be a herd or a loner, never drive in Mexico at night!  Police that want to cite you for something you didnít do simply because you have money and they donít!  Gas station attendants who will try to shortchange you!  Litter almost everywhere!  Toll roads (which are the best roads to take), can often be as bad as the free roads that you try to avoid, but you can bet youíll want to take the toll road over the free road every time!  Roadblocks and delays as you get out of your rig and let the officials check you for drugs or guns.  You might, at any time, come across a roadblock set up by the Policia, Customs (Aduana), Immigracion, and the Military (with guns), on any road, and theyíre not particular about who they stop.  Youíll get stopped more frequently heading north from Chiapas, a rebel hotbed) and in southern Mexico in general.  But the searches are conducted formally and very carefully, and Iíve never had a complaint.  Sometimes theyíll flag you down, sometimes theyíll let you pass, I havenít figured out why yet, itís certainly not just my gringo tags. 

By now youíre probably thinking, why in heavenís name would I want to go to Mexico?  Well, first I had to paint you the worst picture possible, the reality of traveling in Mexico has some drawbacks, but it has some very good attributes as well. One thing I like is that the roads are pretty darn well marked, it can be difficult to get lost until you get in the city. 

Scenery.  Some of the loveliest country in North America can be found in Mexico.  Thereís a mountain road between Tuxtla Guitierrez and San Cristobal de las Casas that scares the beejesus out of me.  I can look over and see sky, and I can look down and still see sky!  And Iím scared of heights so itís a white knuckle trip for me.  If you look on the internet youíll find all sorts of interesting destinations besides tourist traps like Acapulco and Cancun.  Places like Copper Canyon, the mountain lakes north of Tuxtla, old town Veracruz, and the list goes on.  Mayan ruins!  The Mayans were becoming an advanced civilization in Central America a thousand years before Christ!  The ruins at Palenque and Chichen Itza are not to be missed, especially the Pyramid of KukulkŠn (where thousands of tourists congregate at the equinoxes to watch as the shadow of the mid-afternoon sun playing on the NE angle of the pyramid creates the illusion of a snake descending the steps of the temple).

The cuisine.  No, itís not like the Mexican food youíll find at El Toro de Mexico at the local strip mall in Denver, far from it.  The food is more colorful, more flavorful, and much, much more varied!  Be prepared for a gastronomic system shock as you eat beans with your eggs for breakfast (desayuno) and eggs with your steak for dinner (cena).  The custom in Mexico is to eat the heaviest meal of the day between 1300-1600 and many restaurants serve a set lunch at this time.  And donít forget the to take a siesta after lunch, everybody else will be.  Most tourist haunts serve a light supper between 2100-2300 as well.  One thing I love about dining in Mexico is that the staff considers it rude to present you with your bill before you ask for it.  Be sure to say ďLa cuenta por favorĒ when youíre ready to settle.  And lest I forgetÖdonít drink the water, order bottled water (Aqua Pura).  Never eat anything from a street vendor that hasnít been cooked, no grapes, no lettuce, no fruit or veggies, wash them first! 

The people.  Everywhere you go youíll find people, good and bad, and Mexico is no different.  Even the poorest, oldest, most toothless old crone hobbling down the street will have a smile and a ďBuenos diasĒ for you, they are a warm people with family being of utmost importance (youíll notice that there are very few old folks homes in Mexico, the old stay with the family).  Religion and family are the most important of qualities.  The graveyards.  In America, our cemeteries, to me, appear as just a landscape of dull gray.  In Mexico, the tombs are painted lively, bright pastels, with flowers and pictures everywhere.  Death is not to be feared and downplayed, their cemeteries are a celebration of life itself!  Even along the highway there are small concrete shrines where loved ones have died.  In the US these would have been destroyed by vandals in no time, in Mexico that is unthinkable.  We could learn a lot from these simple people! 

By the way, it helps to know a little Spanish, or at least carry a phrase book and try to speak the language, when the people there see you trying they really open up to you and try to help. 

Okay, Iíve been rambling a bit, but I hope this helps.

Steve
Steve
1990 Fleetwood Southwind 36'
http://seaworthy.com

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2008, 04:24:12 PM »
Thanks Steve, appreciate the insight.

Our trips to Mexico have been limited to several border crossings at Tijuana, Algadones and  one at Nogales, we've cruised in our own boat to Ensenada, and have taken a cruise ship to a number of the tourist traps. We've never driven in Mexico, although we have a few friends who have driven cars &/or motorhomes down there; Our local transport has always been bus, taxi, or Shanks' pony.
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The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2008, 04:45:12 PM »
Steve  : Thanks for a great write up very good of you ............cant wait to go


Very Much Appreciate Paul

Tom

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Re: Budget
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2008, 05:22:17 PM »
Paul,

Be sure to leave the AK47 at home; No firearms allowed in Mexico.
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Carl L

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Re: Budget
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2008, 07:40:16 PM »
Paul,

Be sure to leave the AK47 at home; No firearms allowed in Mexico.

Unless you are a gangster that is.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

The Limey

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Re: Budget
« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2008, 02:08:29 AM »
Paul,Be sure to leave the AK47 at home; No firearms allowed in Mexico.


LOL Tom

There's parts of England I would not go to after dark now even with a AK47

 

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