It has been on my mind to do a reminder post about traveling smart in Belize. It is also applicable no matter whether you are at home or on vacation and no matter where you are going. A few years back, my phone got hooked on my way to the store. A routine 10-minute walk turned into a really crappy experience. Another time previous to that someone tried a bicycle snatch and grab. Thankfully they did not get it and I was close to the main road and my destination; Crazy Canucks, and people. Both times I was not following an obvious rule. I Could have done one thing different that potentially would have stopped the thieves from targeting me. Put my bag on the inside facing shoulder as I was walking down the road. You can read more details on both incidents in the following write-ups – Romance to Reality and my Showdown With a Robber and Act Fast on a Stolen Cell Phone.
Travel Smart in Belize
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid walking, driving in dark and unknown areas at night – pack a small flashlight.
- Walk the main road over the beach unless you are in a large group.
- When withdrawing from the ATM at night, put your money away while still in private. If you are taking out larger amounts to save on fees, do it in the daytime.
- I am a big fan of cubic zirconia. You can sparkle without worry of theft. Go simple and do not wear anything a potential thief would want to bother with.
- Plan for emergency situations while traveling and depending what the situation is, a checklist can be handy.
- Do some advance planning.
Blog reader Shelley Bartley recently reached out to me wondering if I had heard of any Canadians having trouble using MasterCard in Belize. Her reason for asking was that she was getting denied paying for their Belize flights from Canada. She phoned MasterCard and they told her Belize was on the restricted list. They would not say but from the little info, she could get it had to do with fraud activity. Not having time to get a Visa before their trip she did some emergency planning by asking me. The seemingly incompatible credit card was a main part of their plan so they would not have to travel with excess cash. I decided the best way to find a good answer was to post in Ambergris Caye Expats group on Facebook. There was no shortage of great replies that I was able to share and reassure her they would be fine. Sure enough, I got a message yesterday. The couple is having a great time with zero credit card issues. Shelley sends thanks to the Ambergris Caye Facebook community for their helpful answers.
Read Helpful Tips and Issues With ATM Use at Belize Banks to help you with advance travel planning. It covers a lot about using foreign ATM cards and which machines are best.
taco Tip #14
Always make sure to give your bank and credit card companies advance notice that you will be spending time out the of the country. This way you are less likely to get shut down for suspicious activity. If you let them know by email as well as in person, you have a fast help option lined up should you need it.