The road trip is the quintessential American vacation. But what if you’ve already hauled the family to Yellowstone, skirted North Carolina’s Outer Banks and seen the country’s other iconic sights?
Well, why not experience what’s on offer at one of America’s neighbors, Canada and Mexico? Both countries are home to stunning sights and vibrant cultures that are easy to reach with the family minivan.
Taking an international road trip does require a little more planning than shooting off down Route 66. But if you prepare in advance, you should have a great time.
Most typical U.S. auto insurance policies aren’t valid in Mexico. So, if you’re heading south of the border, you’ll need additional coverage for the family wagon. GEICO, for example, has partners that offer Mexico-specific policies for cars, RVs and motorcycles. You can buy those plans for only as long as you’re in the country.
Keep a Paper Trail
Exploring Canada is a little simpler than visiting Mexico. If you’re a GEICO customer, your regular auto insurance policy will cover you in the Great White North. Just remember to bring along proof of insurance, like your standard GEICO identification card. For Mexico, don’t forget to bring your proof of insurance and a copy of your policy along for the trip.
Paper maps may be going the way of the dodo, but they’re great to have on an international road trip. Unlike online apps, they’ll work anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about racking up roaming charges or your battery power dying out.
Don’t Forget Your ID
Whenever crossing an international border, make sure you have proof of your American citizenship. For most, that will mean a passport. Children under 16 can use their birth certificate or their citizenship and naturalization cards. Finally, don’t forget your vehicle’s registration. Border agents may want you to prove that your car isn’t stolen and that it’s not being imported illegally. Take advantage of GEICO’s handy mobile app, which allows you to download your vehicle’s registration, and other necessary documents, to your device.
Have a Backup Plan
Nothing would be worse than locking your keys in the car on a desolate stretch of foreign road. So, always have a second set of keys handy. While we’re talking about backup plans, make sure your emergency kit is stocked with a flashlight, flares, matches, a blanket and non-perishable snacks. Finally, passports and other government IDs have a nasty habit of going missing at the worst possible time. So make a couple of photocopies. Keep one set with you and leave the other in an easy-to-find place at home; if you lose everything, an emergency contact will be able to get them to you.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Should the worst happen and you get into an accident, try not to panic. If you’re in Mexico, you should report the crash while you’re still in the country (call 1-800-861-8380), and try reaching out to consular officials, who can walk you through the legal process. (Sometimes, it can be complicated.)
If you’re in Canada, it’s a little less complicated. You can report the accident as you normally would by calling GEICO at 1-800-861-8380 or logging into geico.com.
By Andrew Raven