Vacations should be carefree and easy, but if you are planning on traveling across the border, you might feel a slight twinge of stress as you gear up for your getaway. You might be envisioning a furrow-browed border patrol officer scouring your rig from top to bottom before denying you entry, but this scenario is very unlikely. If you do your research and arrive prepared, crossing the border should be a cakewalk. To feel even more confident about traveling across the border, check out these great tips for easy RV border crossing!
Tips On Identification & Paperwork
- Have your necessary paperwork ready before you pull up to the border! This will most likely include passports, your driver’s license, auto insurance papers, and proof of ownership.
- Even if you may not need it, for peace of mind you should ask your insurance company for a non-resident inter-provincial motor vehicle liability insurance card. This will most likely apply when crossing the border into Canada.
- When crossing the border into Mexico, you may need to obtain a permit in order to drive there. When applying for a permit, in addition to all of the necessary documents, you will also need an international credit card. Without a valid credit card, you will be required to post a substantial cash deposit.
Tips On Goods & Restrictions
- Call the Point of Entry where you plan to cross the border and request a list of their item and food restrictions. These restrictions are always subject to change, so double-check to verify. Different states have different rules so be sure to call the point where you intend on crossing.
- Make separate lists of all of the perishable goods, electronic devices, and other potentially suspicious items that you have packed in your RV. Present them to the crossing officer. The more comprehensive you are, the less likely they’ll be to assume bad intent.
- Avoid bringing firearms across the border. Mexico does not allow any guns to be brought into their country. If you want to bring hunting guns into Canada, you will need to have the proper paperwork and you must declare these guns at customs.
- Try to limit the amount of alcohol you have in your RV when crossing the border. Restrictions will vary depending on where you cross, but most all of them do have limitations set when it comes to alcohol.
- When bringing your prescription medications across, make sure they are in their original packaging which details the contents and its uses. For peace of mind, you may also want to carry a copy of the prescription or a letter from your doctor. For tips on managing prescriptions while RVing, click here.
Tips For Traveling With Kids
- Have a conversation with your kids about what to expect once you reach the border. Emphasize the seriousness; ask that they turn off their electronic devices and keep the noise down.
- Make sure they are aware that the officer may ask them questions. Tell them to be respectful and polite in their response.
- Bring the passports of your children along with your own. If you have a split-custody situation, you’ll want to bring your legal custody documents as well.
- If you are bringing friends of your kids, in addition to their passports, you will also need notarized permission from the child’s legal guardian.
Tips For Traveling With Pets
- If your furry friends are tagging along for the adventure, make sure you bring all of their vet documents. They will need proof of up-to-date vaccinations at the border!
- Entry into Mexico may require a veterinarian-signed health certificate that must be issued within 72 hours of your arrival to the border.
- Depending on which border you are crossing, you should anticipate the possibility of paying an additional fee to get a permit for your pet.
The RVing lifestyle is about escaping the stress, not enduring it! In the days leading up to your crossing, calm your worries with a positive mindset and a little bit of preparation. Be aware that you may be chosen for a search. This is most often at random and you shouldn’t feel alarmed. Just stay calm, comply, and you’ll be across the border and back on the path to adventure before you know it!
Have you every crossed the border in an RV? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!