Tapping Out – Spring Trip Planning
It is time. Between the seemingly never ending winter rain, and the tedious demands of adult life in America, we are tapping out. It is time for a break. The gray days of this Pacific Northwest winter, the wettest winter ever, have us down. Time to put these passports to use.
We have been tossing around the idea of a few destinations. We are looking for somewhere warm, with palms, banana trees, and sunshine! Somewhere we will want to visit again, or maybe never leave. A place with long-term possibilities for overseas living. We are not just on vacation, we are on recon.
The possibilities? This time around we are looking at Central America. No particular reason, we have to start somewhere.
We have been looking into Ecuador. Did you know people retire in Ecuador for only $1000USD a month! Might be a bit on the minimalist side, but it can be done.
Costa Rica? Beautiful place, and there are monkeys!
Belize, maybe? The primary language is English and it just so happens that we are coming up on the best time to visit.
We decided on all of the above, but we have to start somewhere. And because we know approximately zero Spanish, a country whose official language is English sounds appealing.
So, Belize it is.
CHEAPEST TIME TO FLY
According to skyscsanner.com, the cheapest month to fly to Belize (from Seattle) is April at roughly $500 round trip.
Remember to always search in incognito mode in your browser when searching for flights so the site can’t track your travel plans and hike the prices on you. This is just one of the great tips we learned from fellow travelers over at Thrifty Nomads. For more great money saving tips check out their must-read article on how to book the cheapest flight possible to anywhere.
We used Skyscanner to find the cheapest dates to fly and then booked our flight using our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card so it was even cheaper. If you don’t have a travel rewards card yet, it is worth looking into. Just don’t get into debt, the trick is using it to rack up points, but paying it off IN FULL, every month.
WEATHER & WHEN TO GO
It is always good to check weather patterns for wherever you might want to visit. How depressing would it be to try to get away from all this rain, just to head into a tropical rainy season?
It just so happens that the cheapest time of year to fly to Belize coincides with some of the best weather, although it may mean higher prices for accommodations. According to lonelyplanet.com, “Expect sunny skies from January to April. Prices for accommodations increase by 30% to 50%. Extra-high ‘peak’ prices from mid-December to mid-January; reservations are essential during this period.”
PLACES TO STAY IN BELIZE
Whenever we go anywhere, Airbnb and Groupon Getaways are our two go-to sites for finding interesting and affordable places to stay.
If you have not yet experienced Airbnb, and you are into the like a local thing, then you really should give it a shot. Here is a little gift from us and Airbnb, a $20 credit for the first time you travel, and $80 for the first time you host!
There seems to be a little something for everyone in Belize. Here are two listings that caught my eye –
Organic Farm Stay in Cozy Cottages – ~ $60/night plus meals
A quick search at Groupon Getaways for ‘Belize’ brings up some very exotic and tropical looking options for accommodations.
We have used Groupon Getaways as our personal travel agent more than once. Close to home and around the world, there are some great deals to be found here. Buyer beware, however. While our experience has usually been good, once in a blue moon it can have a ‘discount’ travel kind of feel to it.If there ever is a problem with a Groupon, I’ve always had good luck with their customer service.
The trick with Groupon is in the timing. You have to be able to act fast and pull the trigger on your purchase before the deal expires. Just make sure to look over the fine print and also make sure your dates are going to be available when you want to travel.
No point in sharing the links because these deals will expire in a few hours, likely before this is posted, but here is an example of the sort of getaway you can find in Belize through Groupon –
Dream Valley Jungle Lodge – Belize 3 or 5 Nights for Up to Six with Optional Meal Plan and Ground Transportation at Dream Valley Jungle Lodge in Belize FROM $255
Maruba Resort Jungle Spa – $445 – Maskall Village, Belize – 3- or 4-Night Stay for Two with One-Way Airport Transfer at Maruba Resort Jungle Spa in Belize. Combine Up to 8 Nights.
EXCHANGE RATE and HOW FAR A U.S. BUCK WILL GET YOU
Currently exchanging at a favorable rate that gets travelers roughly 2 BZD for every 1 USD.
With exchange rates in mind, here is Nomadic Matt’s Belize Travel Guide in which he shares the typical costs of accommodations, food, transportation, and activities from someone who has been there. He also shares some good budget tips and plenty of activities to do while in Belize.
THINGS TO DO in BELIZE
Over the next few days or so, we will be working on our Belize Bucket List. We have always wanted to experience ancient Mayan ruins, so that will surely be close to the top. There are also the Caribean Sea and howler monkeys. Check back to see what adventures we might find to keep us busy while we are there.
Countdown to departure… exactly 3 weeks. That is only 21 days!
UPDATE: Here are a few of our post trip posts…