Carry-on limit

Got a newsletter from United saying they were going to start enforcing their carry-on limits. That`s sounds great because of the dog and pony shows I have seen on some of their flights where passengers can barely board or leave for all the baggage and confusion. The crews on the Houston- mga leg are usually right on top of it, posting a guard at the plane door to catch the people that ignored their instructions to check excessive baggage.

Bad news is that their standard is a bag about 2 inches shorter than I have used in the past. Thought that was weird but checked on AAs website and they have the same limit--22 x 14 x 9 inches, plus personal item bags that will actually fit beneath the seat. No problem, bags are cheap at thrift stores in the US, I`ll just have to check the size more carefully.

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Shame, Because My

two carry ons are usually heavier than my checked bags :) I use one carryon that pushes the limit just a bit, but it's soft,, and I've never had trouble at the gate. The other carry on is a large computer bag with multiple compartments.

I learned the hard way the last time about TSA limitations: no power tools, actually no tools longer than 8 inches, no pesticides, a couple of others I can't remember. I always get a >> Bag Check!! because the bags are so dense, but generally don't get any grief.

Between the 2 checked bags and the carryons I get a bit over 200 lbs, which is really helpful. Checked bags I load up with light stuff, they don't seem to be all that concerned with size limitations. I use the large, square duffel bags that you often see. . .

TSA doesn't care about the weight as long as the bags fit through the X-Ray tunnel . . .they are generally pretty nice people if you treat them decently. I explain that I'm moving to Nicaragua, hence the odd collection of stuff.

I had my carry on weighed once on a Swiss Air flight from Milan, cost me $90 for the overage.

I seriously doubt that they are going to bust your chops for 2 inches.

Do what I do, buy and carry one of those light aluminum collapsible canes. Weigh nothing, tuck along the top of the bag. When they announce early boarding for those "needing a little extra help" , limp to the gate with your cane. You then have all the time you need to heft your carry ons into an empty overhead. Collapse the cane and fasten it to the top of your bag. You're not going to need it on the arrival end.

At Vegas

they weigh every bag before they check it, you never see TSA, and the costs for being 1 pound over are substantial.

In the bidding war for cheap seats, some airlines only see black ink for their charges for extras. But the real issue with the excessive stuff in the cabin by some passengers is the hassle and safety for all.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

I think if there's more than one bag per seat ...

…the staff should just toss it off the plane if none of the people seated on that row claim it. Say it was for security purposes as an abandoned bag.

Rebecca Brown

Bold and

Bold and Decisive!

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

Some People Are

minimalists, and others like their stuff. It's: Save The Planet - vs - Don't Have To Live Like A Refugee (or mochilero . .)

Some people like fish tanks and expensive cameras, others like tools, wide screens and dishwashers.

I don't judge,, to each his own. The world is big enough for all of us.

The airlines created this shortage of overhead space in their attempt to enhance revenue by charging for that second bag. It's been a huge boon for them, pushing a couple from red to black. Passengers responded in a true capitalist fashion, reducing their costs by moving more stuff into the overhead bins.

Getting old has few advantages (except avoiding the alternative). I do feel that I'm cut a bit of slack sometimes. More so in CR, old people get to go to the head of the line at the bank, for example.

This year I hope to get a Nica registered vehicle in place. With that I will be able to source much of my heavier needs closer to home. There is an amazing amount of stuff available in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. CA is small, even Mexico is not that far. Tapachula has a Wal Mart to die for, plus a lot of other good shopping opportunities.

I consider the camera a tool.

Next on the "buy it if I see it" list is a battery powered Makita drill.

Banks here have the line for pregnant women, people with infirmities, and the elderly. I like this line a lot when I have to pay taxes and duty on stuff. I've waived going to the head of the line when paying Claro depending on the length of the line (too long, I just wait for a better day).

I gleefully jump on lightly used camera gear that someone with more money than sense sold to buy the latest biggest and baddest shiny thing. And I met a expat woman in Esteli who bought a finca for the cost of building the house when the guy who built it bailed on Nicaragua.

My understanding is that you should get residency first, then car and Nicaragua drivers license (which in Jinotega, people can't get without residency). My other understanding is that once you have a residency application in progress, you are not allowed to leave Nicaragua unless you want to restart the application (what friends were told when they applied for residency). Whatever a lawyer tells you on that will be whatever the lawyer thinks you want to hear. Ask Intur and Migration about that. Since you're ex-military, Migracion will take a bit longer with your application. If the rule still is no license without residency, then first residency or plan on hiring a driver. A now late acquaintance went through this one with his vehicles. If what I say is accurate, then pick six months to a year when you can stay in country or set up whatever they call a corporation here to own the vehicle and hire a driver (rule change on drivers licenses happened in the last two years, at least in Jinotega) or make sure you can drive a Nicaraguan-registered vehicle on a US state issued driver's license. Ask your friends the transitos who can give you a definitive answer on this one.

Rebecca Brown

You don't know what you're talking about...

as usual. You can drive on a US license as long as it's valid, and nobody cares if the vehicle is registered to a Nica or a gringo as long as the documents are good and the insurance is current. You like spreading disinformation don't you Rebecca?

Wasn't what I heard from someone who actually had a car here

I also suggested that people check with Migration/Intur for current information on this.

There's a lot of disinformation spread around these parts -- like grass-fed and finished is less hassle than grass-fed and sold to finishing feed lots -- the magazine you referred me to said that in markets that paid more for beef, grass fed worked out well, which is what I heard.

People have gotten themselves very balled up here listening to people's advice, including lawyers' advice, rather than asking Migration or the guys who make and enforce the laws what is the situation here. I'd been told it's possible to drive for years on foreign licenses; I've also been told by a man who had to have his truck owned by his company that was what he had to do in at least 2010. Maybe that's changed. The rule about not being able to get a Nicaraguan license without residency seems to be recent (I knew someone who had this happen to him after several years of being able to get a motorcycle operator's license here.

So where in Nicaragua do you live full time?

Rebecca Brown

Thanks For That

piece of solid info by someone who has been there, done that.

If someone has a footprint in both countries, the whole idea of presenting a Nicaragua driver's license as identification in the US is ludicrous. I could make one in an hour with a $29 laminator and a color printer. I hope TSA is not accepting THAT as identification.

What is this fascination with residency? If someone is living 100% of the time in Nicaragua, and has no ties to the US, it makes sense. But otherwise, not that much. If someone is legitimately coming and going, and doesn't have to do the tourist reset, and has on-going reasons to be in US (work, business, spouse),, then residency in Nicaragua doesn't make a whole lot of sense. One of my issues is, you have to ask to leave, a là Cuba. Finally, I'm not sure I want to be identified that closely with Nicaragua (and by extension with North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Syria,, etc) ,,as a resident as opposed to simply doing business here). That could very well imperil my business relationships with come of my clients.

Even Nicaragua offers a 90 extension to the tourist visa; it's just a lot of people find it less expensive -and look for the vacation to a brighter, cleaner, more prosperous country -- to make the trip north or south for the reset. Not to mention the possibility of losing your passport in the process.

The residency makes exceptions for business or health

…if you're going to be away for more than whatever the max is.

Ask the US Embassy what they advise on getting residency if you have property here. What I heard at the town meeting was strongly advising people to get right with the Nicaraguan government if you were in fact a resident here.

Nicaragua offers one 90 day extension to the tourist visa. I got one and was accepted for residency the next week, Mheh.

If you are doing business here, you are not a tourist. Nicaragua may not want to go after people bringing money into the country, but the country can.

Nothing says you can't take the trips to Honduras, Costa Rica, or Paris. If you fly out, getting the visa to leave is about 10 minutes more at the airport, no questions asked about the purpose of your trip. If you're taking a bus, you can get the administrative visa at Migracion the day before you leave, or within thirty days of leaving by sending your passport to Managua through Gobernacion where you live.

What the law was in 2010 may be different now. Always better to ask the Nicaraguans than someone who did something almost six years ago.

Rebecca Brown

Maria was "Identified that closely with Nicaragua" the USA made her get a visa to pass through. She didn't really want or think she needed it either, but she had no choice. I wish she could have said no thank you like you can.

Did she have to pay $160 for the interview just for

…a transit visa?

I've been trying to get a friend here to not try for the visa unless he gets a scholarship.

Japan seems more eager to have foreign computer techs than the US, which isn't most people's image of Japan -- and if the kid goes there, he'll be the third foreign computer I know who lives and works there. Fourth counting a guy who is now back in the US.

Rebecca Brown

How Do I

check my Interpol file?

WAIT, they do it every time I cross a CA border . . So much for that one. That's NOT the reason many here do not become residents.

I got legal advice about owning property as a tourist before I made my first purchase,, was assured that there is no problem. Nicaragua welcomes the investment.

Income reporting for non- US residents is only going to get more involved,, I don't want to go there.

So,, if I'm not flying out, as a resident, I have to make a trip to Managua to get the "exit visa". That sounds REALLY convenient. Or send them my passport? Wonderful.

If the country is SO against people coming and going as tourists, why am I not getting some push back when I go back and forth, both north AND south? I've been spending more and more time in Honduras for a variety of reasons, and the Nicaraguans re-up me every time I come back to Nicaragua -even though I don't need the re-up. I generally leave Nicaragua for time in the US well before my 90 days are up.

And finally, the fact is, I'm not a resident of Nicaragua. I spend more time in the US, Costa Rica, and Honduras at the moment than I do In Nicaragua. I do plan on obtaining residency at some point, but right now, it doesn't make any sense.

Others spend the Canadian winter here, then go back. I imagine the reasons for not seeing residency status are as varied as the individuals.

Basically, the snow birds aren't affected.

Long term tourists. Six months as a tourist is as it is now. Ecuador changed its rule to six months in and six months out. Snow birds (i.e. long term tourists) aren't affected; people who are actually residents but who were pretending to be tourists are.

Basically, the exit ticket or the tourist entry fee is a wash. I don't leave Nicaragua often enough to make the multiple exit ticket worth it, but some people do.

Some people after some years hear that the next time they cross the border, they need to have a residency in progress.

Don't worry, be happy, do extended tourism until someone tells you to have a residency application in progress the next time you cross the border.

Rebecca Brown


Exit visa is a nuisance tax. Hand the guy your passport, cedula, 200 cords and try to smile when you mumble ``exit visa`` If there is nobody in line at the airport it is a 1 minute deal, exact change, no bucks. Can`t remember doing it at t land border, but I`d allow 2 or 3 minutes.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

I did it entering CR

Most of the time was asking where the place was (across the parking lot) and walking there. The process was something like one minute. As I remember, it was a lot less than 200 cords for a one-time exit visa. There is no need to get one if you are going to Honduras as you are not leaving the CA-4. That was also the case when I was flying to Guatemala.

I wasn't sure that also applied for residents

…who travel on a US passport, but carry a cedula of residency. Easy enough to check with the local office on this. And if I don't need that, I think I can leave for Honduras on a King bus from Leon.

Rebecca Brown


Or, you can just read what I said that you are responding to. Of course I have only done it half a dozen times in the last few years and it was on Del Sol from Estelí and Managua so maybe I just imagined it.


…I like practicing my Spanish and talking to Nicaraguans.

Rebecca Brown

I've heard from people who go to CR from time to time….

…that you get it from Managua either by sending your passport there or going there in person. Someone else might have different information, but so far, I've only left by airplane. So, go to Managua the morning before the bus leaves, pay the exit tax at Metro Center or Migracion, go to the Tica Bus hotel and leave the next morning. If it can be done at the border, I'd like to know that since that would simplify a trip to Honduras that I plan to make sometime.

Rebecca Brown

Requisitos Visa de Salida Residentes Extranjeros

Foreign residents exit Visa requirements

Departure of foreign residents visa requirements

Application form: C$ 5.00 Payment of the duties corresponding to the visa: Regular (one time): $ 200.00; three months: $ 400.00; six months: $ 800.00; one year: $ 1,600.00

The ordinary visa may be requested at the immigration services offices and may be granted at the border posts

The multiple visa to foreign residents will be subject to the validity of your certificate of residence.

Rebecca, go to the local office and get it done there: Click on graphic for address.

I mostly leave by plane so the airport works for me

I'm not sure I'd leave the country more than once by bus in the next year. Local office seems to be where it was when I got the extension of my tourist visa.

Rebecca Brown



Desde la boca del caballo....

Formulario de visa, valor C$ 5.00

Pago de aranceles correspondiente a la visa: ordinaria :C$ 200.00; tres meses: C$ 400.00; seis meses: C$ 800.00; un año: C$ 1,600.00

What Other Countries

require exit visas?

Cuba, North Korea, Saudi Arabia -- no wait, Cuba eliminated their exit visa in January of 2013.

"— In a country of limits, it is the restriction that many Cubans hate the most: the exit visa that the government requires for travel ..."

Does this apply equally to Nicaraguan citizens? Does visiting a C4 country require the exit visa?

Those numbers could really add up for someone who does a lot of traveling (and who happened to be a resident of Nicaragua).


First, Juanno's "prices" were in cords, not $. Thus, the most you would need to pay is 1600 cords/year -- even if you left Nicaragua every day. If you get more than a single-use visa, it is put in your passport as a stamp. So, for example, if you lived in Sapoa and worked in La Cruz Costa Rica, in a year you would pay Nicaragua about $62 and Costa Rica about $6000.

It has nothing to do with Nicaraguan citizens. If you are a Nicaraguan citizen you are either traveling on your cédula (within the CA-4) or your Nicaraguan passport. Again, this is not a restriction, it is a tax. On the other side, you don't have to pay any fee to re-enter Nicaragua. It seems unlikely it even pays for the administrative overhead to keep track of your movements in and out of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is not perfect but picking on a $62/year tax is not ... um ... important.

Where Does The

$6000 charged by Costa Rica come into play? Is this a special charge applied to ex-pat residents of Nicaragua?

Costa Rica currently charges tourists nothing to enter and exit at land borders -- (unless they have recently reinstated that short lived exit tax).

Nicaragua currently charges tourists $2 to leave (at land borders) and $12 to enter, again at land borders. So, the resident coming and going to Honduras would have a net saving of $6 over the cost of exiting and re-entering Nicaragua?

Thank you for clearing up the C-4 question.

I stand corrected

The last time I had to go to Costa Rica (long ago now) I flew. You do pay $20 to enter. I guess they figure if you can afford to fly then you can afford to pay.

That said, if you are a Nicaraguan citizen you get to pay $20 (or maybe more now) to get a Costa Rica visa.


for up to one month as a tourist.

Get caught working and its $100 and a ban for 3 times the time you were doing it and a red flag on the passport.

What Do The

Nicaraguans pay for work visas?

I met quite a few working on tourist visas, that $34 is substantial, more than 10% of their typical monthly pay.

Others I met are simply there illegally, and go back and forth "por monte". There seems to be little harassment of Nicaraguans working in Guanacaste (other than the poor money paid for long hours -- $10 /day for 12 hours for hotel workers was typical). Commuting to an affordable living area away from the tourist centers added to the length of the day. Some I met had settled into Guaacaste and rarely returned to Nicaragua, others returned regularly to spend time with family.

I met a couple of people from the Right Side, where there is no steady work (according to them). I think one of the attractions of CR is the steadiness of the work.

One individual I became friendly with, Felix, had a wife in Managua who was a government doctor. He made $350 /month working for the hotel I favored. He would return every three weeks, and had it pretty well figured out: bus to just south of Peñas Blancas, hike across, bus just north of Peñas Blancas to Managua.

Varies but after you have paid to get all the doc's they want

and a lot of Nicas don't have a certified birth certificate, a current cedula etc...

Its roughly

$50 to open the file in Migration $86 for a security deposit $25 for the Social Fund $48 process app. $240 annual health insurance (Caja)

Odd quirk on Maria's US Tourist Visa is that it allows the $34 CR tourist visa to be waived. So well worth having.

Thats what I did

I pushed it until I was told to get one. They were right. I was no longer a tourist.

Until Key West starts earning money off his farming then I guess, as he says, he is in and out enough to confuse the issue.

He is bending the truth as he sees fit and he regularly confuses/misleads the various US, CR, Nicaraguan and Honduran authorities but so far nobody cares enough or its not important enough.

He is in Vegas terms; A Whale... with a truck full of wares and a bulging wallet. Lots to trade for a stamp or paper.

As and when it suits them and after they have milked his generosity, he will pay the piper.

We'll find out in due course

There will be blaming the perfidious commies, of course, if he finds a border between him and his property for six months.

Rebecca Brown

Yes, I remember it was a non refundable payment

It was just as they switched to Citibank from BanPro

They changed the rules on the transit visa, they are all tourist visas now.

careful ...

... or we'll again get the (expanded, 1000+ word) missive on how brutally she was initially treated here, how she did the residency on her own, how lawyers are a waste of money, and mucho mas palavering in a sad, almost pathetic attempt to assert her superiority over the misguided and uninformed.

This one time, at band camp ...

Oh wait, there was a topic!

After 12 years here, I don't have residency nor want it -- no benefits for me personally . Travel is my passion and I have only once overstayed my 90 days (by 13 days IIRC). My "stuff" lives here -- at least the "stuff" that doesn't live in Hawaii, Virginia and Wengen.

I don't drive -- one can hire people to do that. But about 10 years ago, when I still had a US license, I printed a bunch of fake licenses and laminated them. Gave them out like candy when the transitos waved me over for DWG -- driving whilst gringo -- an all too frequent occurrence then and now..

ETA: See this old post:

I got the residency the way the US Embassy recommends

I suspect that half the people who live here and don't get residency have interesting Interpol files.

Since not using a full-service immigration lawyer, I have heard of no one who would repeat the experience with one, and some who were flagrantly lied to and one whose US documents expired while waiting on his lawyer. I used a lawyer (two actually) for the notary work and just the notary work.

I got crap advice here and recently had people trying to tell me that a professional European-trained carpenter didn't know what he was doing.

Man-splainers to a man.

Rebecca Brown

You and Rebecca

You are both so good at adjusting reality in the direction you want. I try to ignore most of this BS but it fills the site with mis-information.

  • You cannot make a Nicaraguan driver's license (or a Costa Rican one) with a $29 laminator. If you think you can then you have never looked at one closely.
  • While Nicaragua continues to be very flexible, the idea is that a tourist visa is for tourism. Residency doesn't mean you renounced anything else -- just that you have non-tourist ties to Nicaragua. Like, for example, owning property.
  • You don't have to ask to leave. You do have to pay an administrative fee -- either for one-time or for a period of time.

Now, there are lots of people who elect to pretend they are a tourist -- for years at a time. I know, I did (for a strange assortment of reasons). People will continue to do that. They should know that is an option (and should know that it is getting harder and harder to do as time goes on) but alternatives do make sense. Including being honest with Nicaragua.

BTW, Rebecca is correct about bank lines. I considered correcting your mis-statement earlier.


You do the same thing.

But yeah, I agree with you on what residency means and doesn't mean. It's always priceless when the excuses come from someone who isn't trying to break down barriers to Nicaraguan immigration to the US.

And, the bank lines.

One woman in Granada gave as her excuse for not getting residency that she couldn't leave in an emergency during a national holiday. If passport control is open and the planes are flying, the guy who takes your money and hands you the exit ticket is there. Driving out or taking a bus wouldn't get you to your emergency back in the States or the UK in a timely fashion, so most people leaving the country for emergencies back home are going to be flying. And the passport control people on the return to here don't even ask to see the thing -- it's on the computer.

For people who must bend every rule they come across, applying for residency here means actually following the precise instructions without deviation given them by a bunch of people who are not just foreign but often women.

Rebecca Brown

It's a socialism problem

The space under the seat in front of you is yours; the overhead bins are socialistic. Just eliminate the overhead bins and the "too much carry-on" problem solves itself.

nice idea...

hell with the guy sitting beside..he dosent need a place to put his stuff..i luv it when i see a asshole thats going to the back of the plane..put his stuff up front....


Yes that bugs me as well--people putting their stuff up front..and then off they goto the rear! Which I say happen last Friday from Houston to Managua! Then the guy that was up front--had no place to put his baggage, so he had to walk back to the middle of the plane! Which meant on de-embarkation, he had to sit and wait and wait and wait to get off the plane! and of course one can't really say anything--as that initial dude may be sitting in that area!

BUT when I left MGA to Canada, a stewardess saw a guy doing that and called him out!! I almost stood up and clapped!

In Houston en-route MGA, the front desk people did make some kind of announcement that people would NOT be allowed down the gangway if they had too much baggage!

I'm always amazed by people who appear ….

….to have more than two carry-ons, none of which fit under the seats.

What I noticed is that the people who couldn't actually lift their carry-ons tended to get called to check the baggage. Also, one leg of my flights to Charlotte, NC, involve small Brazilian jets and lots of people have to check stuff on those flights. I haven't had to.

Rebecca Brown

Key West...

Do you ever follow any rules or do you make it your priority to try and bend, go around or otherwise disrespect every rule, law or regulation you come across?

Handicap Parking

His car had handicap plates. He once parked in a blue lane and a woman approached him and said, “You don’t look handicapped to me.”

He said, “Madam, can you see inside my mind?”

It's a true story. He was the comedian Jonathan Winters who'd spent some time in a mental institution.

Hey Juanno, Key West calls himself a 'pirate' - hardy, har, har - it gives him license, maybe not to pillage, plunder & rape, but, at least, to bend some rules (as long as he wears his black eye patch).

I've driven a car with handicapped plates for someone

…in a wheel chair. We couldn't find a handicapped spot vacant and none of the cars in those spots had handicapped plates. The mall is legally required to have the spots, just not legally required to enforce the mandated spots, apparently.

Shooting people who park in handicapped spots without handicapped plates should be legal.

Rebecca Brown


"... do you make it your priority to try and bend, go around or otherwise disrespect every rule, law or regulation you come across?"


Well, We Are

"old" guys, the poster who started the thread, and me,, at least in body. My mind still thinks I'm twenty -which gets me in trouble from time to time. You and Mike are still spring chickens, but I notice I'm starting to move a bit slower.

As far as breaking rules: My rule is not to impose on anyone else during the rule breaking process. ..."anyone needing a little extra time.." could certainly apply to me some days, and there's a lull in the boarding process that I take advantage of. I prefer to think of it as "massaging" the rules, rather than outright breaking them. And It's not a priority, it's a means to an end.

As far as the extra weight in the carry ons goes, the plane can handle it, and the carry ons I use are dimensionally smaller than what I see a lot of people bring on board. If things go south, as they did on a flight to CR last year (TSA guy says: " You can't take power tools in your carry-on"), I pay the extra freight with a smile. The extra weight in the carry ons is less than the extra weight the fat lady brought on the plane,, I feel I'm entitled :)

As long as we don't have to listen to a

"Free Key West Pirate" show on Anderson F@#$%*&^ Cooper!!