As a working mama, I know the starting school struggle is a real thing! Registration, supply/clothes shopping, and events like “Meet the Teacher” and physicals fill our calendars until we take that first day picture, filled with a mixed bag of emotions. For me, one of the strongest of those is bittersweet at the ending of summer. The lack of schedules, homework and extracurricular activities truly makes summer a magical time where families can just enjoy time together.
I saw a shirt recently that said, “stop waiting for Friday.” Isn’t that the truth! If you have read my previous posts, you can imagine that this resonates with my Belizean dreams. As a parent, why not step it up further and say, “stop waiting for summer.” Summer will always be magical and worry-free but it does not have to be the only time for memory making adventures. The magic does not have to end when that first school bell rings!
My family and I love traveling together. Making memories in different settings and experiencing the culture of various locations has grown us as a family and individuals. These trips range from a couple hour car drive to plane trips across oceans. People often ask us how we can make this happen. We definitely do not have a Kardashian (or Jenner) travel budget but there are tips and tricks to it! One of the biggest ones for us is to travel to a location during their off season. There are pros and cons to this strategy and this post will be dedicated to sharing some of those with you to see if this option has potential for you and your family.
Off season for locations in the Caribbean, like Belize, begin after US holiday Labor Day in September and extend until before Thanksgiving in November (9/7 – 11/14). Typically, schools have multiple one day holidays that create several long weekends before the big winter ones. Use one of these times to make a quick getaway and feel that summer magic again while enjoying some offseason perks!
Steep Cost Savings
Like Belize, many locations depend on tourism as the backbone of their economy. As a result, deep cost cuts are often applied to both hotels and VRBO locations to entice tourists. These discounts range from 35 – 50%! Oftentimes, the accommodation fees dominate the travel budget. But coupled with a shorter time period and discounts, the total cost can be shockingly affordable.
Traveling with family can get exhausting very quickly! I don’t know about you but I find myself obsessively counting heads, terrified we will recreate Home Alone and leave someone behind. For me, wrangling family members in a busy travel destination only creates stress and anxiety.
Traveling during off season means the typical amount of tourists you are sharing streets, restaurants and popular locales is dramatically less. That obsessive counting can be replaced by a quick glance at the faces around you. Getting into restaurants and venues is also easier and the wait time much less.
While you will know your “keep the magic alive” getaway is much cheaper than typical trips, you will feel like a VIP. With the lack of typical crowds and patrons, the attention from the servers and owners will be focused on you and your group.
Excursions that are typically booked out months in advance will not only have availability, they will be less crowded. You and your family will feel like you are on a private event.
There are some cons to traveling in the off-season. Some businesses choose to close during this time to save the overhead and cost with the lack of tourists. Or they use the time to make repairs and prepare for the next tourist season.
Also, some people find the lack of other tourists to be disappointing. My husband and mother in law love to meet and talk to new people while traveling. I rank this “con” fairly low since extroverts like my family members typically never have a problem finding a new person to befriend. (I keep telling my husband there are so many potential friends at the grocery store if he wanted to pick up the weekly shopping but he’s not taking the bait 😉 )
Recently, I shared about, what I now see, as our second home in San Pedro, Belize. While I would love to spend the entire off-season there, these pesky “jobs” and school year are keeping us in the states for most of it. But I want you to experience it! So our property managers agreed to slash the nightly cost in the hopes you may enjoy it too.
Remember! send me a quick note if you book after reading my post for a special incentive upon arrival!