Planning a trip can be a channeling even with all the guides, travel blogs and apps out there to help you. No matter how well mapped out your travel arrangements are, you cannot always plan for the unexpected but you can do your best.
A good travel checklist can help you take the stress out of the adventure. Here are a few things to add to your list if they are not already there.
- Inform your credit card companies and banks that you are taking a trip out of the country. Lounging on the beach is way more fun than having to sit on the phone with your credit card company because an out of country transaction is being flagged as fraudulent or your card got blocked.
- While traveling it is always a good idea to keep a secret cash stash in an unlikely place. Do not keep it all in your wallet (same for cards), spread some around on your person if you are carrying it. A diversion wallet is a great idea, fill it with an old library card, expired license and a small bit of cash. That way pickpockets will think they got what they wanted but you come out with a win in the end. I have two great money belts that look like a regular belt to hold your pants up – no one would know there is a long zipper on the back side to make it an easy hiding spot. For luggage, toiletries bags make a great hiding spot. Click on travel safe for more useful ideas on where to stash cash while traveling.
- Although we do not like to think about bad things like theft happening on our trips, unfortunately, it happens sometimes. Make sure to include your technical devices in your travel plan. Back up all your important files and favorite pictures before you go away.
- Keep both digital and photocopies of all travel documents and a list important phone numbers in case of an emergency.
- If you find your international flight delayed by weather, it is a good idea to have easily accessible contact information for the places you want to inform on the other end. Also, a good idea to have a plan B option on the very rare chance you need to stay in Belize City overnight.
Travel Season Reminders
“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T.S. Eliot
As the high season is fast approaching, Tropic Air would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of airline procedures, and a few important issues that may affect you in your travels.
Tropic Air – Delayed Flight Procedures
Between November 15th and the end of April, on Saturday’s and peak demand days such as December 26th, Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA/BZE) can become very congested at arrivals and at security screening areas. To give it a bit of perspective, there are four U.S. based flights and one Canadian that are scheduled to arrive in Belize between 11:45 am and 1:35 pm.
While Tropic Air will make every effort to ensure a quick and smooth transfer, they suggest that you expect some congestion issues, especially if your arrivals are affected by international carrier arrival delays, air traffic control issues or inclement weather.
If your inbound flight is delayed, Tropic will rebook you on the next available flight at no charge. For those heading to the southern Belize, this may mean a flight the next day if daylight and lack of runway lighting are an issue. By law and strictly enforced, all flights must arrive at their non-lighted destination no later than 30 minutes after official sunset. In the event of international carrier arrival delays, Tropic Air will make every effort to expedite your immigration processing and your flight’s departure.
On time passengers will be processed first, then the rebooked passengers, again, with priority given to passengers headed south late in the evening. In rare circumstances, this can mean a wait of up to 2-3 hours. Tropic Air offers all delayed guests the ability to call their resort or hotel and encourages you to stay near the departure gate in the event that your flight is called early.
San Pedro (SPR) runway does have lights so Tropic Air will fly until the last passenger to San Pedro is taken care of.
Booking Times for Flights
On arrival leave 1 hour for grabbing your bags and clearing immigration and customs. Chances are good that you will be done sooner, however.
taco Tip #13
If you find yourself in a long line to get through customs, dash into the duty free shop (right beside you) and buy something to put yourself in a much likely shorter, “something to declare” line.
For your departure, you are encouraged to allow at least three hours to check-in and clear security at the PGIA on peak days. US Authorities now require all passengers departing to the USA go through a secondary level of security screening which may delay you further. Plan accordingly, with your carrier’s check-in policy in mind, or risk missing your outbound flights.
The reasoning behind 3-hour rule and why Tropic Air advises you follow it. Technically airlines flying back to the states are supposed to close their manifest 1 hour ahead of time so that everyone can be checked against the no-fly list.
Overall 335 days of the year 2 hours is more than enough. However, there are those random 30 days that it will not be, such as a busy Saturday in March. There are popular annual travel times when Tropic is always extra busy at whichever airport you are flying out of. This can generate minor delays to BZE and increased potential for long lineups at Philip Goldson International Airport check in.
Tropic Air – Check In Procedures
Tropic Air’s regular procedure for all domestic flights require check-in at least 30 minutes prior to departure. Their International flights require check-in at least one hour prior.
Cancelling or changing tickets: All cancellation or ticket change requests must be made at least 24 hours prior to departure or will be subject to change and/or rebooking fees.
Other useful information can also be found on Tropic’s travel info page.
In addition to an expanded fleet of aircraft (soon to be 12 Caravans), Tropic Air has once again secured additional lift capacity in the form of a 19-seat aircraft for the high season. This will mainly be dedicated to flying the Belize City International Airport to San Pedro and Placencia routes, and should help alleviate normal peak period traffic.
Tropic is also expanding their check-in facilities (from 4 to 12 positions) at PGIA ready the near future.
Seasonal Non-Stop Service to Belize – November Start Dates
Toronto (YYZ) – Wednesday and Saturday from November 1, 2017
NEW Calgary (YYC) – Friday November 3, 2017
Charlotte (CLT) – Saturday November 11, 2017
Denver (DEN) – Saturday, November 11, 2017
Chicago (ORD) – Saturday, November 4, 2017
Insert Yourself Here
In case you need some motivation to start planning a “Belize Trip” imagine laying in the hammocks below with two people of your choosing and sipping a cool cocktail or a Belikin Beer on the beach.
New Coupon Codes
After your International flights are booked you can save 10% on your flights in Belize but you better act fast, as of January 2018 the coupon code deal will be changing. While I am not at liberty to tell you exactly how just yet, I will say if you still want to save cash, within the next two months is the time to book (no matter when you plan to fly).