Well, as many of you know, I’m moving to Mexico in about 4 weeks. We’re going for a year, maybe more (perhaps less, if my wife has anything to say about it). A lot of my clients and friends have asked me how the heck I’m doing it. What follows is part of an ongoing series on what it takes to get moving, and basically get out of the country.
By the way, while I’m in Mexico, I do anticipate working somewhere between 12 and 30 hours per week, so I’m not exactly retiring. We’re beginning our trip in Cabo San Lucas, down in the state of Baja Sur, but I think it’s possible that we may spend time in Mexico City or Guadalajara.
Here’s 5 things you’ll need to do if you want to spend a year or two in Mexico, and still, you know, make money or have a job, of sorts, in the U.S.A.
1. CVS or Walgreens for $30. These “burners,” as they called them on HBO’s The Wire are actually rather handy during international travel. As far as US carriers go, Verizon has the best Mexico phone plans, but their Mexico data plans are very poor. Stick to cities with wi-fi if at all possible, or only use the data plans for email, NOT web-surfing.
3. Virtual Post Mail – This is what allows you to essentially remain a U.S. Mail Citizen. For an average of about $8/mo, you can get your mail, anywhere in the world. Even paychecks and client checks – they’ll deposit them for you. They require a simple U.S. Postal service form that takes 20 minutes to get notarized.
4. A Place To “Land” In Mexico – We’re staying at a condo-hotel called Marina Sol for our first 5 weeks in Cabo. The idea is to use Marina Sol to figure out where to go next. It’s a total steal. We’re paying about $1800 for 35 nights, so it cracks out to $51 a night. That’s for a 1400 square foot 2-bedroom in a very safe area, 1 block from the beach. It’s also got a bar, restaurant, mini-mart and a great swimming pool. For the same place in, say, San Francisco, you’d pay at least $3k/mo. NYC would cost $4k for the same place. For us, it comes out at $1542. If you want a free night or two there, just leave a comment here or email me.
5. A Plan For What You’re Gonna Do Next – As you can tell, lodging in Mexico is about 33-50% of what you’d expect to pay in any metro area in the USA. So, if you need to budget, figure on $500-1k per person, per month, for a nice place. If you can deal with more modest accommodations, you can rent for $250-500 per month, per person, although a family of four could do great in Mexico for $1.5k. Craigslist has a fairly good selection of rentals, and most of the agents are based in the USA. The agents that I’ve been most impressed with in Cabo are the Suens (Mark and Monica). They’re two Americans who came down about 9 years ago for six months, and simply stayed on. They’re super-professional, and they even have great tips about where to get a $3 haircut and a $12 massage.
In the next chapter, I’ll talk about places to get a $200-400 office in Mexico, so you can work in a nice space.