How to Get A Sewing Machine From Ohio To San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala in 15 Easy Steps


1. If you want to transport a sewing machine (or more than one) to Guatemala, you must first buy a sewing machine. If you plan on taking a used machine, you only need to worry about buying bubblewrap. 

2. Next, map route. If this doesn’t deter you, proceed to next steps.

3. If bringing more than one machine, convince friend, family, or foe to join you and carry other machines in their luggage.

4. Leave any new machine in its packaging for safety. Do not throw away invoice. Pack used sewing machines with personal belongings as to avoid issues with customs agents.

5. Depart at Cleveland airport, check bags, board flight, sit back, and relax… this will be your last opportunity to do so.

6. Arrive at airport in Guatemala City. Wait for bags at baggage claim… keep waiting… and wait some more. If all bags have been removed by other passengers from the conveyor belt and no more appear after 10 minutes, your luggage and machines have not arrived with your flight and your new status is #nakedinguatemala.

7. Do not believe that your bags will arrive in a few hours, that night, or the next day. Have no expectations and pass time enjoying the sights and sounds of Antigua.

8. Return to airport 2 days later.

9. Do not be alarmed that your boxes have already been opened when you arrive. Answer all of the customs agent’s questions. Open boxes for customs agent. Show invoices for new machines. Describe purpose. Close boxes. Wait for customs agent to research your claim. Open boxes for new customs agent, wait for them to discuss. Repeat process 3 more times.

10. Pay taxes on new machines. In order to avoid paying taxes, make sure combined value of your items is less than $500. 

11. Load boxes into taxi, leave airport, and return to Antigua.

12. Schedule shuttle to San Pedro La Laguna because there is no direct to San Juan La Laguna. Do not be surprised that shuttle driver refuses your extra boxes, then checks tire pressure, and then asks for extra money to carry your extra boxes. Give shuttle driver money and pray that your items do not fall off the roof during the next 5 hours.


13. Arrive in San Pedro La Laguna. Hire tuk tuk to take you, your friend, luggage, and machines to hotel. Somehow, it all will fit. 


14. Drop off luggage. Hire new tuk tuk. Pay extra because the road is not well maintained. Fit two machines in “trunk” and one on each lap… hold on to your hats… tuk tuks do not have four wheel drive.


15. Arrive at cooperative. Receive thanks and smiles and excitement. Frustration from previous complications disappear and it's finally time to get to work.

Hilary Dell