As one might expect, our move to Merida, Mexico, is more of a process than just packing a bag and going. It took quite a bit of planning and organizing to get to this point in the story.
Our Friday, April 29th Deadline
In the months leading up to Friday, April 29th, we crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s applying for Permanent
Residency in Mexico. Chuck retired from his job, and Mark closed his ghostwriting business and finished up with his clients.
We sold, donated, or gave away about 70% of our belongings. This included two vehicles and our home in St Pete.
Moving and Storage
On the morning of the 29th, the movers came and took everything and moved them to their storage facility in St Pete except for the four (2 each) large suitcases with our clothes, cameras, laptops, and personal necessities.
We can’t say enough good things about the Smart Moving and Storage team. They were incredibly friendly, very professional, and communicated with us every step of the way. When we have a permanent rental here in Mexico, a shipping container will arrive at their location at some point in the next four months or so. They will pack everything for the trip across the Gulf of Mexico to the port of Progresso – but more on that later.
Closing On Our House
Dan Casper with Smith and Associates Real Estate in St. Petersburg, our dear friend, and incredible realtor, was a God-send. Every step of the listing, showing, selling, and closing on our home was as easy as we could have hoped for. This was very much needed because the stress of moving out of the country is way more complicated than moving from state to state.
After the movers left, we headed over to Luxe Title Services and pre-signed closing paperwork as the new owners would do their final walkthrough and closing paperwork after we arrived in Mexico.
Heading Across Florida
After signing off on everything, we packed up our cats and luggage for the long drive to Miami. We knew we would need to have an Airbnb for a few days and chose to take one in Miami rather than move the cats the morning of the flight.
In doing our final health check for the cats, our vet gave us something to help them relax for the trip as they have not done well on previous, much shorter trips. They made out well on the nearly four-hour drive to Miami. And they had a couple of days to chill before the flight.
Returning Our Rental
We had a rental car the last week in St Pete after selling our second car. We’d need it for errands and to get to Miami.
Chuck made the brilliant suggestion to return the car early. He suggested hiring a private driver to get us from the Airbnb to their airport.
Juggling two large suitcases, two large duffle bags, two backpacks with personal items, and two cat carriers would be no easy feat on our own. Either one of us would sit on the curb at their airport with everything while the other returned the car, or we’d return the car with everything and struggle with a shuttle bus or hiking through their airport with everything.
This was a genius move on Chuck’s part, and LIMOPEDIA in Miami could not have been more amazing. The driver was on time, a huge help, and got us all situated when we arrived curbside.
Thank You, TSA Miami
TSA in Miami was AMAZING! We both have Global Entry, so we knew going through screening would be expedited. However, pets must be removed from their carriers so the carrier can be inspected.
By some blessing, the agent Mark had said, “if you think this will be challenging for the cats, we can do this screening in a private room.”
They took the two of us, the two cats, and the carriers into a private inspection room. One by one, we took the cats out of the carrier, and they took the carrier to run it through the scanner. It could not have been any easier. This is ABSOLUTELY something you should ask TSA agents for when flying with cats.
Flying To Merida
American Airlines flies nonstop to Merida from Miami every day, and most days, there are two flights.
We knew that flying with pets was reasonably limited, so we booked well in advance and upgraded our seats to Business Class. This would give us pre-boarding and a little more space, but we knew we’d have no one next to us and few people around us to disturb if the boys got loud. In the end an excellent choice!
The flight crew was kind and friendly. The people around us were super sweet as Chip, the bravest of the two cats, did not fly well. He was a bit loud and fought to get out of the carrier a few times.
But we made it! We took a quick taxi ride to our temporary home. A beautiful Airbnb in the Santiago neighborhood of Merida, and we started to settle in.