Travel? Favourite countries?

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Michael
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Michael »

Cuba was a lot more doable before Trump cracked down on travel there. If that hadn't happened I'd be going there instead of Belize next week.

/first world problems

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lukethedrifter
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by lukethedrifter »

My buddy went in June and I just checked Google flights. Can fly from STL to Havana for $375 in January.

Am I missing the tariffs?

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Swirls
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Swirls »

lukethedrifter wrote:My buddy went in June and I just checked Google flights. Can fly from STL to Havana for $375 in January.

Am I missing the tariffs?
I think you still have to meet one of the 12 (or whatever the number is) visa restrictions on travel, right? You can't just buy a plane ticket and hop on a plane. Even when Obama removed the embargo, there were still a substantial number of travel restrictions on obtaining a visa. The easiest one to select is the arts/music festival one. Just find some no-name local festival going on for when you want to travel and provide documentation for said festival when you go to apply for your visa.

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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Michael »

Over Xmas week my wife and I traveled to Belize. Overall, we had a great time. Getting there was easy from Chicago - just a 4 hour direct flight and there was no time adjustment period due to the same timezone. Another factor that makes it an easy travel destination is English is the official language. For the first half of the trip we went to a beach resort with snorkeling/diving. The diving in Belize is world class, but the beaches aren't at the same level as a place like the Cayman Islands. The upside to this is we got a beach cabana for a relatively low price.

The 2nd half of the trip we went to the jungle to hike and explore the Mayan ruins. My favorite experience of the trip was spelunking the ATM cave. The cave has remnants of Mayan rituals including skeletons from human sacrifices. In my opinion, this is one of the most unique historical sites in the world.

I think Belize offers an interesting counterpoint to Costa Rica. Belize beaches are a bit weaker, but the diving is better. Overall Costa Rica has better adventure travel options, but Belize excels with Mayan culture/history. The food in Belize was better, but that may have been a function of where we stayed/dined. I slightly prefer Cosa Rica and my wife slightly prefers Belize. I think Belize is a very worthwhile destination particularly if you've already traveled to Costa Rica.
Last edited by Michael on January 7 19, 1:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Swirls
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Swirls »

Yeah, Belize routinely ranks as one of the top 2-3 snorkeling and SCUBA diving spots in the world. I think their reef system is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

EDIT: and I definitely agree on the benefit of English being the native language. That's one of the reasons the wife and I chose Barbados for our honeymoon destination. English was the native language and the USD was one of the official forms of currency (the Barbados dollar was the other, and it came with a simple 2:1 permanent conversion ratio to the US dollar).

The "worth" of knowing right off the bat that you won't have to deal at all with any sort of language or currency barrier once you arrive at a foreign destination is a huge averted roadblock that can be hard to measure in terms of money if you're trying to plan a trip. How much is it worth to not have to deal with that potential hassle?

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lukethedrifter
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by lukethedrifter »

Swirls wrote:Yeah, Belize routinely ranks as one of the top 2-3 snorkeling and SCUBA diving spots in the world. I think their reef system is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

EDIT: and I definitely agree on the benefit of English being the native language. That's one of the reasons the wife and I chose Barbados for our honeymoon destination. English was the native language and the USD was one of the official forms of currency (the Barbados dollar was the other, and it came with a simple 2:1 permanent conversion ratio to the US dollar).

The "worth" of knowing right off the bat that you won't have to deal at all with any sort of language or currency barrier once you arrive at a foreign destination is a huge averted roadblock that can be hard to measure in terms of money if you're trying to plan a trip. How much is it worth to not have to deal with that potential hassle?

The great “there’s two kinds of people” travel dichotomy. Some people like to travel to get out of their comfort zone, others want to do new and different stuff but in their comfort zone.

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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Michael »

For a honeymoon destination I think comfort is pretty important. That's why we went to New Zealand.

As for currency - Belize pegs their dollar 2:1 to the US Dollar. Due to the easy conversion you can use US dollars everywhere.

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Swirls
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Swirls »

Michael wrote:For a honeymoon destination I think comfort is pretty important. That's why we went to New Zealand.

As for currency - Belize pegs their dollar 2:1 to the US Dollar. Due to the easy conversion you can use US dollars everywhere.
Bingo. Plus in today's society, it can often be difficult to get more than a week or so off at a time for vacation - especially if you're doing your honeymoon immediately following your wedding, which you've likely already taken a few days of vacation off for as well. The wife and I were originally planning on going to Panama for our honeymoon **insert Van Halen song here** and it was an easy nonstop flight from Atlanta. English is fluently spoken, US dollar is widely accepted, etc etc. The "comfort" was there. The best resorts were pretty far off the beaten path from the big Panama City airport. Like an 8 hour Jeep ride far. They had fantastic reviews and were no-doubt incredible, but we only had a week total. We didn't want to spend essentially another 2 full days of riding a bumpy Jeep just to get to/from the resort plus the long flight each way. We'll definitely go there at some point. But we'll go when we can plan a 10 day trip so we can get a full 7 days at the resort.

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Corky
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Corky »

Not really a world traveler. Hunted and fished in Canada. Went to the Lesser Antilles about 15 years ago. Went by ship. Islands were great. If I never have to fly again it won’t make me mad, I hate it. Went to Bermuda in July, had a wonderful time.
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Corky
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Re: Travel? Favourite countries?

Post by Corky »

I was in Cuba, Port au Prince Haiti and Kingston Jamaica a very long time ago, 1968.

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