Traveling overseas to another country can be daunting. Finding ways to stay safe, even when you may be in a location deemed safe by authorities, is always a smart step to take when traveling. Learning all that you can about the area is also ideal to do before you arrive. A trip to, or even a move to Belize can be a great adventure to go on and one way to enjoy it more is by knowing the area, the local customs and places to go for entertainment. It is also a good idea to get to know some of your new neighbors when you move. Having local friends goes a long way when you need to know the safest places to visit and the best ways to have fun while in Belize.
Getting Around Safely in Belize
There are always bad things happening throughout the world, including Belize. However, all things aside, Belize is one of the safest places for you to visit. It is still advised that you practice caution while walking the streets, as you normally would when walking down any street worldwide or when leaving your home country to live abroad.
If you’re going to be driving, make sure to hire a reputable vehicle shipping company to bring your car over to you. While some people bring a personal car during an extended vacation or for a permanent move, you will find that there is public transportation in Belize although it’s not the best in Central America. Charter flights such as Tropic Air are great ways to travel around the country if you’re short on time.
Walking is always an option when you want to get around locally in Belize, you can also hail a cab, take a bus or even rent a horse or a motorbike to tour the more rugged, out of the way areas. You can even rent a helicopter to see the area from above. Nothing compares to a helicopter tour of Belize. If you plan to island hop, you can always grab a water taxi or even fly in that small charter plane from one location to the next. During your time traveling in Belize, no matter which mode of transport you decide to take, be sure to take precautions to stay safe during your time in the country.
Money & Important Documents
This should go without saying. You don’t want to leave your documents and money laying around in the open, nor would you want to have them on you when you head out for an evening on the town. One way to keep them safe is by keeping them in a safe in your hotel room when you go out. You can also leave most of your cash at your hotel, carry some with you and carry a decoy wallet.
Moving to Belize? The best thing to do is have important documents placed in a local bank or keep them locked away in a private area of your home. With money, it is fine to carry a small amount of cash on you when you go out, but be careful when paying for items so no one sees the money. Keep your wallet close to your body where potential muggers cannot grab it and run.
The best way to avoid a mugging is to avoid it in the first place. Muggers target preys who appear to lack awareness or look small. If you’re exhibiting a sense of culture shock that has you feeling and looking scared or looking unimpressed, be careful because if it shows on your face, it can offend someone or worse, make you an easy target. Here are some quick tips on posture:
- When you’re out and about, no slouching, no looking on the ground, no playing with your phone, eyes on the road!
- When passing other people, check in with them. This means making the briefest nonchalant eye contact with anyone who is on your path. This sends the message: I notice you noticing me so I’m putting you in notice that, I notice you too.
- Walk with purpose. It’s okay to wander but if you have somewhere to go, especially when you’re heading back to your hotel or to a bar to meet with friends in the evening, walking with purpose can deter hustlers from your path.
- Whether walking with a sense of purpose or you’re checking in, DO NOT SMILE. Say, “Good evening” or “good morning” when it’s warranted. But when evening falls and few people are languishing on the streets, nobody has any business to talk to you. For this reason, do not smile. Smiling invites unwanted attention and can send out the signal that you’re either nervous or scared.
- Keep hands out of your pocket, have them out. Keeping your hands hidden sends signals that you’re scared.
- Do not wear anything flashy, especially at night!
Great Accommodations and Plenty of Fun
You don’t want to blindly choose where to stay. Get recommendations, read reviews and plan for the hotel you stay in. You want to stay somewhere comfortable and safe and checking for a secure location before you arrive will help keep you safe during your stay.
AirBnB properties are available throughout Belize. Unlike the impersonal hotel, these domiciles are usually run by locals or expats who know the lay of the land. In an effort to make your experience positive, these hosts make themselves available to answer any questions and offer local tips.
If you plan to be out and about whether taking a day to enjoy a scenic drive, lounging on the beach or even spending time shopping in a local market, be aware of your surroundings and the people you meet. Never flash money or wear expensive jewelry when you are out touring the country. Things like that are sure to garner the attention of not only people you may want to impress, but also thieves who may be looking for an opportune time to grab what you have to run. This is, of course, no different than taking precaution in the United States or any other country.
Use a Tour Guide
When you hire a local tour guide, you have someone you can trust while in Belize to show you the sights and let you know the local customs. Taking time to speak to your guide will allow you time to get to know the local area while also learning more about the country, its many customs and the best areas for sightseeing, dining out and having plenty of fun during your stay. Even if you have made a permanent move to Belize, a tour guide can be a great way to start in the local area because they will often have insider knowledge of the best things to do locally.
Enjoy your trip in Belize and safe travels!
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