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Author Topic: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?  (Read 1066 times)

Mark Ellis

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Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« on: March 04, 2014, 04:06:02 pm »

My Austin, TX. based band booked a wedding at the Four Seasons just outside of Porta Vallarta for this summer.  Assuming there was no safe way to drive down there, our contract states that the client will hire (and pay for) a local outfit to provide full p.a., drum set, amps, lighting, etc. Our plan is to bring a couple of small cases on the plane (guitars, ear buds, computers, etc.) and they'll have a local a/v shop provide the rest.

Having said that, if there was a safe way to do it, I wouldn't mind being paid the pretty hefty rental fee they are going to have to pay and bring our p.a. down (as well as having the peace of mind of quality control) . Is there any safe way to bring a van and trailer full of gear across the border to Porta Vallarta? I see travel forums with octogenarians stating they criss-cross Mexico in their RV's all the time, and as long as you practice due diligence (stay on the major/toll-road highways, don't drive at night, etc.) there is no issue. Of course, all I can think of is being pulled over and hearing, "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!" Anyone have any experience with this?

Alternatively, is there a reputable company that provides a service to take care of this sort of thing?

Again, I assume this is a no-go, and my plan is to fly down and not worry about it, so unless I can be convinced it's pretty darn safe, that's the way we'll go. Thanks!
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dick rees

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 04:15:34 pm »

My Austin, TX. based band booked a wedding at the Four Seasons just outside of Porta Vallarta for this summer.  Assuming there was no safe way to drive down there, our contract states that the client will hire (and pay for) a local outfit to provide full p.a., drum set, amps, lighting, etc. Our plan is to bring a couple of small cases on the plane (guitars, ear buds, computers, etc.) and they'll have a local a/v shop provide the rest.

Having said that, if there was a safe way to do it, I wouldn't mind being paid the pretty hefty rental fee they are going to have to pay and bring our p.a. down (as well as having the peace of mind of quality control) . Is there any safe way to bring a van and trailer full of gear across the border to Porta Vallarta? I see travel forums with octogenarians stating they criss-cross Mexico in their RV's all the time, and as long as you practice due diligence (stay on the major/toll-road highways, don't drive at night, etc.) there is no issue. Of course, all I can think of is being pulled over and hearing, "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!" Anyone have any experience with this?

Alternatively, is there a reputable company that provides a service to take care of this sort of thing?

Again, I assume this is a no-go, and my plan is to fly down and not worry about it, so unless I can be convinced it's pretty darn safe, that's the way we'll go. Thanks!

Mark...

I have friends who split the year between Mexico (her home) and Minnesota (his home).  This has been going on for a couple of decades if not longer.  This year rather than driving down, they're flying as close in as they can get, then taking local transportation to their home.  While there, they bicycle.

With many sighs and wistful looks, they told me about how the roads are, even for the locals, a series of shake-downs from the various levels of lawful and unlawful enterprise.  The problem is, none of them give receipts so it's square one every time you get stopped.  According to them, Mexico is currently on the verge of being a "failed state" similar to Somalia and other less fortunate spots.

Take care and enjoy it as much as you can.  Once you're in PV you should be OK if you're careful and use your heads. 
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Art Welter

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 05:19:52 pm »

Again, I assume this is a no-go, and my plan is to fly down and not worry about it, so unless I can be convinced it's pretty darn safe, that's the way we'll go. Thanks!
Mark,

As well as the potential for problems once in country, you need to manifest (and bond) temporary imports. I would be concerned with your instruments being considered "business equipment" even if flying in.
Here in New Mexico, I see Mexican groups performing, after a quick review of the rules, I understand why many don't even carry their guitars with them.

http://matamoros.usconsulate.gov/service/travel-information/mexican-customs.html

Personal Effects: Tourists are allowed to bring in their personal effects duty-free.  According to customs regulations, in addition to clothing, personal effects may include one camera, one video cassette player, one personal computer, one CD player, 5 DVDs, 20 music CDs or audiocassettes, 12 rolls of unused film, and one cellular phone.  Any tourist carrying such items, even if duty-free, should enter the "Merchandise to Declare" lane at the first customs checkpoint and should be prepared to pay any assessed duty. Failure to declare personal effects routinely results in the seizure of the goods as contraband, plus the seizure of the vehicle in which the goods are traveling for attempted smuggling. Recovery of the seized vehicle may involve payment of substantial fines and attorney's fees.

Temporary Imports/Exports: Mexican Customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Mexico of items such as trucks and autos, trailers, antiquities, medications, medical equipment, business equipment, etc. Prior to traveling, contact the Mexican Embassy or one of the Mexican consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Puerto Vallarta has been great (and largely unchanged from 1973) each time I have traveled there, so far always by road, but it has been around 12 years since my last visit. Hope all goes well for you!

Art
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 08:00:39 pm »

My Austin, TX. based band booked a wedding at the Four Seasons just outside of Porta Vallarta for this summer.  Assuming there was no safe way to drive down there, our contract states that the client will hire (and pay for) a local outfit to provide full p.a., drum set, amps, lighting, etc. Our plan is to bring a couple of small cases on the plane (guitars, ear buds, computers, etc.) and they'll have a local a/v shop provide the rest.

Having said that, if there was a safe way to do it, I wouldn't mind being paid the pretty hefty rental fee they are going to have to pay and bring our p.a. down (as well as having the peace of mind of quality control) . Is there any safe way to bring a van and trailer full of gear across the border to Porta Vallarta? I see travel forums with octogenarians stating they criss-cross Mexico in their RV's all the time, and as long as you practice due diligence (stay on the major/toll-road highways, don't drive at night, etc.) there is no issue. Of course, all I can think of is being pulled over and hearing, "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!" Anyone have any experience with this?

Alternatively, is there a reputable company that provides a service to take care of this sort of thing?

Again, I assume this is a no-go, and my plan is to fly down and not worry about it, so unless I can be convinced it's pretty darn safe, that's the way we'll go. Thanks!

If your in the resort areas there is plenty of hire gear available.  I would not recommend driving that far with a trailer -that's 1300+ miles just from San Diego!  It would be far cheaper and safer to hire locally -even at hotel A/V prices.
The Four Seasons has A/V gear, call them and see what they have and you may just have to bring a small case of mics and specialty stuff.  The hotel A/V staff deals with outside local companies for larger gear if needed.
I have friends that regularly do high-dollar weddings down there and that's all they have to take. 
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Craig Hauber
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Aaron Talley

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 01:18:56 am »

I wouldn't take anything into Mexico you wouldn't mind leaving there.
The "failed state" description is pretty accurate.
I would say driving in, even without gear, is no bueno.

It is leaching onto the U.S. side.

It's sad how things have changed in the last 10 years.
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Gil Navarro

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 09:44:09 am »

We are based out of Minneapolis and we've done a couple of gigs in Cancun over the past year. The biggest help for us was the Carnet form. Make sure it's complete and make sure that EVERYTHING on the form goes into mexico AND comes back out of mexico. We almost missed our flight because we got held up at customs when our guitar player decided to stay a couple of extra days and kept his acoustic guitar. Long story short, they had to do a whole new Carnet form with all of our gear.  Even if you are just traveling with instruments, you should do the Carnet form.
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Gil Navarro

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 09:47:49 am »

Another thing:
If you are traveling with a group, make sure you check-in together. You can have a certain amount of checked baggage per person, but they can spread it out among the group. If you start adding (for cost) checked baggage it gets very expensive. Several hundred dollars worth of expensive! Our costs were covered by the MN Vikings, but it was a huge lesson learned. We could have saved hundreds of dollars if we had only checked-in at the same time at the airport terminal.
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John Sulek

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 11:56:54 am »

We are based out of Minneapolis and we've done a couple of gigs in Cancun over the past year. The biggest help for us was the Carnet form. Make sure it's complete and make sure that EVERYTHING on the form goes into mexico AND comes back out of mexico. We almost missed our flight because we got held up at customs when our guitar player decided to stay a couple of extra days and kept his acoustic guitar. Long story short, they had to do a whole new Carnet form with all of our gear.  Even if you are just traveling with instruments, you should do the Carnet form.

Just to expand on the Carnet idea...it is not just the manifest form of your gear. You also post a bond with the chamber of commerce in your home country based on a percentage of the total gear value. The Carnet you receive has different colour forms for exiting one country and entering another. You get customs on both sides of the border to stamp the forms. (not as easy as it sounds in some airports...allow extra time for this step)
Customs send their copy of the form back to the Carnet office. When all these get back to the chamber of commerce that issued the Carnet, you get your bond money back.
Good luck and safe travels.
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Mark Ellis

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 03:23:32 pm »

Thank you all so much for the great info. I had no idea...
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: Traveling with p.a. to Mexico?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 06:03:35 am »

Amazing some of the misinformation some people get about Mexico.

It is not close to being a failed state!  It is a modern country with all the same attributes as any other modern country.  If you go to certain regions of America you would feel we were in a failed state also.

I can't speak for travel by auto in any areas other than the state of Sonora.  It is quite safe in Sonora.  There are toll roads in some areas.  There are Army check points on common drug routes.  In some areas there are corrupt police that will pull you over and tell you the fine is $20.  That is getting a lot less common now than it was 20 years ago. 

My family has been traveling to Mexico since 1980.  We have never had any problems in hundreds of trips.  I have never been pulled over by the police! 

Remember, it's a foreign country with they're own laws.  Follow thier laws, not ours!

I would be very curious if you need an FM3 or other similar Visa for each of you to be able to perform at the wedding.  I would assume that you do but not totally sure.
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