September 18, 2019 – Border Binder

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons here in Saskatchewan.

Sitting with my morning coffee and watching the trees begin a new transformation in preparation for the upcoming winter. I find it so calming and therapeutic. The leaves magically begin changing colours, and then gracefully fall to the ground.

The morning air is so crisp and fresh, which usually sparks our conversations on our morning walks to include homemade soups, hearty stews and of course, plans for our winter snowbird trip south.

Several of our Canucks On Wheels followers have sent us messages and asked if we would share what makes up our border binder.

Since it is now less than 30 days till we head south, and we are in snowbird prep mode, now would be a good time to share.

A little background for those of you wondering how our border binder started.

Travelling with anxiety can be difficult at the best of time. Now, crossing the border sends me (Becky) into a tailspin of what-ifs!

What if I didn’t have a document that can be requested! What if I lost our credit card or even worse our passports!

This says it all!

Before our first snowbird trip back in 2014, I had all our documents stuffed in a big brown envelope. It held everything that I thought we needed, but I started to get anxious that I didn’t have everything or that I could lose something important. Hence, why we put together this border binder, it contains copies of all our pertinent documents that could be requested by border security officers at the border.

I decided a binder with a zipper would be the most logical, and bright pink would be easy to spot if misplaced.

Get a binder with a zipper

Plastic sheet protectors work great for keeping everything organized.

Plastic sheet dividers

Here is the list of the documents we have in our collection.

~Canadian Passport

~Driver’s License

~Birth Certificates

~ Provincial Health Cards

~ Vehicle registration and copies of package polices (extra insurance)

~bill of sale for our truck and trailer

~ tenant lease agreement (as we no longer have utilities in our name as our lease agreement included all utilities)

~ Copy of our tenant policy

~ Travel insurance documents

~ Detail dates of days in Canada, Mexico and the USA.

~ Copies of our Bank and credit cards. (I also have a copy of our most recent bank, credit card and investment statements).

~ Records of our investments and Pensions.

~ Pet records, with copies of Veterinary certificate and copies of microchip data.

Being we spend our winters in the USA, we are required to annually file an 8840 form (Closer Connection Exemption Statement) with the American Government. I always keep a copy of those in our binder.

Not only is this binder for when crossing into the USA, but it is also for holding documents and receipts for coming back home to Canada.

I have 4 sleeves dedicated to receipts, each sleeve has a pre-printed excel sheet to record purchases.

~ receipts for any extra equipment we have previously installed on our Truck or trailer. ( We do not want to have to pay duty twice)

~ Purchases of items coming home. (we tend to find lots of good deals for the grandkids while south)

~ Repairs for Truck and Trailer. (Keep all receipts separate for Emergency repairs as these are duty free) We seem to have something that needs replacing while we are south.

~ Alcohol -I break down each purchase into categories. Wines, liquors, and hard alcohol. ( I break this down because each is charge a different duty)

Always keep your receipts to prove what you paid. Without the receipts, they assign a price.

All of this may appear to be overboard. I find being organized helps keep my anxiety in check!