While travel to Europe is on the rise, Mexico and the Caribbean continue to dominate the list of the top places for Americans traveling overseas. According to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), 85% of Americans plan to travel this season, as if current inflation needed competition with the added demand. Travel agents have warned customers they’ll likely be paying more: Gas prices are higher than they’ve been since 2014. USTA says travel costs overall are up 12% from 2019. Flight-booking app Hopper estimates that domestic airfares have increased 7% since that year, and almost 11% from February to March, according to the consumer price index. Undoubtedly, there’ll be more travelers returning to the air this summer, which is why we’ve got five tips for you ahead of booking your summer vacation to Belize — besides stretching that dollar just a bit further, it’s to also ensure you’re locked in for the trip you’ve been waiting for.
1. Don’t wait.
The best time to book—flight, tours, accommodation—is probably yesterday. The second best time is now. Cut through the chaos and jump on your vacation plans; demand isn’t expected to drop in the Caribbean, especially as more destinations make sweeping plans to relax entry requirements. On April 1, Belize stopped requiring face masks in public (whether indoors or outdoors) and waived testing for vaccinated travelers. Meanwhile, a vast majority of U.S. airlines and airports dropped their face mask mandates.
And with an increase in demand to travel, airlines have also been seeing staff shortages as routes return. Summer also means a pause on seasonal flights to Belize; cue WestJet’s direct service to Canada, SunCountry’s Minnesota service, United’s Chicago service, and more.
2. Brace yourself for (possible) rain.
It’s the Caribbean. You’re vacationing in the tropics, and Belize’s rainy season—with its only other season being the dry—also coincides with summer. There’s never a bad time to visit, but it is important to keep in mind that the Atlantic hurricane season stretches from June to November. Traveling during hurricane season doesn’t guarantee a storm will disrupt your trip, and summer typically means a dependable but short-lived afternoon shower. Keep the above in mind when packing; grab comfortable shoes that can double as waterproof and depending on the time of the year, consider a lightweight raincoat, or even a waterproof bag (which doubles perfectly for marine adventures, too).
3. There are discounts to be had, so don’t book anything at full price.
Summer, depending on the month, overlaps with both Belize’s shoulder season and low season for tourism, which means a vast majority of the industry extends their lowest rates of the year to drive traffic. A little flexibility can hold a big reward; jump into group tours, which won’t be crowded, to begin with, since there likely won’t be as many scheduled times with slower demand.
Resorts will either have a standard rack room rate for the season or even extend some sort of promo code or travel deal at checkout. For the best deal on booking your Belize summer vacation, you can either contact the hotel directly or book through a local travel agent (at no extra cost).
4. Double-check your documents and the current entry requirements.
You’ll need a valid passport to enter Belize, as well as an official reservation with a Gold Standard Certified Hotel. Unvaccinated? Then you’ll also need a negative COVID test; those entering without one or one outside the time frame can test inside Belize’s airport on arrival for US$50. All incoming travelers must purchase Belize’s mandatory travel insurance for US$18 each. Additionally, vaccinated travelers can skip needing a COVID test altogether. Entry requirements for Belize’s land borders are found here.
5. Be flexible, research beforehand, and have fun!
You’ll feel as though you have the beaches, Maya sites, and even resort all to yourself. But don’t forget to research before planning an itinerary, some places take a scheduled vacation for all staff when foot traffic is low and close. For example, Tutti Frutti Gelateria in Placencia Village—a traditional and tropical staple to try—closes as its owners head home to Italy for annual family time. Be flexible as opening hours change!
Summer or not, booking a vacation in Belize means you can fall in love with the destination — a very likely scenario — even without the full roster of experiences. After all, it’ll mean you’ll have enough places to explore for a lifetime of happy returns.