(Houstonia) — We all could use a vacation, and there’s nothing like an international getaway to take you out of your comfort zone. If you’re put off by how long it may take to fly to and from your destination, plan to take a direct flight—which will also cut the time you spend in stuffy airports. There are flights out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) that’ll take you straight to Belize City or nonstop to Mexico City in under three hours. Or take a straight flight from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to the Caribbean island of Aruba in under five hours.
Houston’s status as one of the largest cities in the US comes with the benefit of having the fourth-largest multi-airport system in the country. Nearly 40,000 passengers traveled through IAH in May alone, and with summer just about here, you can expect that monthly tally to increase. In all, flights out of IAH connect travelers directly to some three dozen foreign countries—including more than 40 different destinations in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean—and HOU offers direct service to 10 non-US destinations around the region as well.
While the world is still grappling with COVID-19 restrictions and travel bans, below are five tempting destinations you can visit now, via a direct flight out of Houston.
Belize (2.5 hours)
Direct flights via: United Airlines, Southwest Airlines
Take a break from the bustling city life by exploring the beautiful country of Belize. From zip-lining through the jungle to relaxing on the Caribbean shoreline and from pounding on a Garifuna drum to diving deep beneath the sea, Belize is an outdoors lover’s dream. Belizean culture is a dynamic mix of influences (notably Creole, Mestizo, Garifuna, and Maya), and the food reflects that heritage.
Eat ceviche or a spiced-up version of beans and rice, or snack on salbutes, tiny fried corn tortillas topped with a delicious mix of cabbage, chicken, avocado, and locally made hot sauce. Once you’re done tasting Belizean cuisine, experience the lively nightlife by dancing on the beach all night long.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Fully vaccinated travelers no longer require a negative COVID-19 test, but they must show proof of vaccination for entry into Belize. Otherwise, travelers can test on arrival before customs and immigration for US$50 per traveler. For more travel updates, visit the Belize Tourism Board website here.