Packing for Your Move To Belize: 2023 Update
What to Bring, What to Leave, What to Pack For Your Move to Belize
There are so many questions to research and consider and research some more when you finally make the decision to make the move to Belize.
Hopefully, you have visited as much as you can before you’ve made the decision and you have your answers to the biggies that are important to you like: Is Belize a good place to live? Are there jobs for expats/foreigners? Is Belize a safe place to live?
It can be challenging because well…you don’t even know what you do not know no matter how many times you’ve visited. And the only way to see what it is really like is just to dive in!
And how do you even START figuring out how to whittle down your apartment or house in the US or Canada full of clothing, appliances, knick-knacks, furniture, keepsakes, all your belongings from decades of life into a few suitcases?
The keys to have in mind: 1. Hopefully you don’t need to do it all at once and thankfully 2. You can buy some/many necessities once you arrive in Belize (either in Belize or you can ship from States) and 3. You really are going to need waaay less – especially when it comes to all non-summer clothing
For #1 above. Ideally, you can arrange an in-between spot – a storage unit, a basement in a friend’s home…just a space where you can store your maybes. Most maybes turn into hard NOs after a few months or a year.
I rented, overpriced storage space for a year – with my maybes because I moved to Belize thinking maybe it wouldn’t work out – I’d try for a year. I ended up getting rid of/selling 99% of that stuff at a garage sale.
And a big part of packing for this move is going to be emotional – things that are not strict necessities but items, products, books, keep-sakes, photos, blankies…whatever you will wish you brought when you moved to Belize or anywhere.
What do you wish you would have brought to Belize when you moved?
When I moved from NYC almost 16 years ago, I visited Ambergris Caye two times in my first few months…both times with two large over-packed suitcases…both dangerously teetering on the 50lbs limit. All my other belongings were either donated/thrown away, sold at a garage sale or put into one box that now sits in my mother’s attic in NJ (2023 update: That stuff was all tossed when she sold her house in 2022 – let’s be honest…I’m never ever going to look at my middle school yearbook again)
But now that I look back, there are things that I probably should have packed and there are definitely things that I could have left behind.
One note I have for myself: KEEP A LIST OF THINGS YOU WANT PEOPLE TO BRING DOWN. Visitors are lovely…and ask me what they can bring down for me. And often…I can’t think of a thing. Even though I KNOW I need some things.
Write it down!
Things To Know As You Are Planning
- Shopping over the past 16 years has changed A LOT. Mirabs in Belize City, Caye Supplies in San Pedro, and now Courts in San Pedro – you can get lots – from kitchenware to good white towels to small appliances. Clothing, I find, is a different story: clothing is usually really small and made up very unnatural fibers. I generally either order clothes from the states when friends visit or hit the “pacas” – the used clothing stores. Read: Ship It, Pack It, Buy It in Belize? Furnishing Your New Place on Ambergris Caye
- Things can deteriorate here quickly! Clothes that you don’t wear for a few months can get moldy, belts can get rusty, and leathers and elastics can just fall apart. Humidity and super-salty air are TOUGH on all things!
- Often when you are renting or even buying a place, the basics are included. Don’t bring glasses or silverware or plates…you can find them here.
- Don’t listen to the people that just say “As LITTLE AS POSSIBLE”…sure it sounds romantic to throw caution to the wind and just pack flip-flops and your bikini but trust me…unless you lived like a hermit or a cloistered nunnery in your home country, you are going to miss some “little things”
Things I Took that I am Glad to Have
- Crucial kitchenware. Specialty stuff that you love. I am always glad I have it. Your great knife set. A baking pan, your favorite spatula.
- Power tools – ones that you know you are going to use. It’s nice to have them.
- Sheets. Good cotton sheets and bedding. It is hard to find here. If you need a down pillow, you should bring it.
- Your kindle,your camera, and your computer/tablet/phone…all that stuff. You can buy a basic printer here or forgotten cords but the computer stuff? You are going to want to bring it. If your phone needs a new battery or service, do that before you come. There is no Apple Store in Belize or Bestbuy.
- Belts. You can’t really find them here. Not sure why.
- Photos/artwork you LOVE. I’ve purchased art I love down here. LOVE. But bring the things that are special to you.
- Your pets. Duh. And anything special that they need – leashes, harnesses, special toys, medication. There are some things here but the selection is quite limited.
- Things you just love. LOVE. That make you happy. Your favorite body wash. The soap that you love. Little collectibles. You’ll be glad that you have them. Perfume? Not needed. Unless you enjoy attracting mosquitos.
- Turbo-sized Advil or a similar painkiller. 1000 tablets minimum. Basic cold meds, Pepto. If you are used to having it when you need it, bring it. You don’t want to be sick shopping at ten different stores around town. Same with vitamins. Bring them with you.
- An extra pair of flip-flops that you LOVE. You wear them every day… After trying a bunch, I am a big fan of these. That little arch makes a huge difference to my 49-year-old foot.
- Underwear – yes OF COURSE YOU PACK UNDERWEAR. But bring some extra – bras, briefs, whatever it is you wear because it’s hard/impossible to find replacements in Belize. I’d bring the PJs you love too. Same reason.
- A genuine rain jacket – waterproof/hood, the whole deal. Just because riding in a golf cart or boat in oncoming rain can be an unpleasant experience and it’s nice to have at least a part of you dry.
Things I Recommend That I Didn’t Bring
- Specialty sporting equipment – your dive stuff, your fitting snorkeling mask, your flyfishing rod and flies, your favorite yoga mat, your running shoes those Bala Bangles you love to workout in.
- Contact lenses, reading glasses, any prescription item you aren’t sure you can get in Belize.
Things I brought that I didn’t need to
- Too many clothes. You don’t need them down here. If you bring something that you never wear at home, you DEFINITELY will not wear it here. You need 2 sweatshirts max – not the 15 you have in the states. One pair of long pants? Dressy cloths – not needed no matter how you LOVE that velvet dress you wore to that one Christmas party. Plus, clothes are easy to send down with friends that visit. I way overpacked in the clothes department.
- Smaller electronics: Alarm clock or scale for example. Totally not needed…you can buy it here.
- Knick-knacks…Christmas ornaments…unless they have VERY high sentimental/I can’t live without this value
That’s it for now…let me know if you have any other suggestions – this is obviously a highly personal post. I’d love to hear what you brought or wish you brought or what you are thinking of bringing…