Packing for Belize

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My stuff so far. Really, how many button down  stripped shirts can you wear in Belize?
My stuff so far. Really, how many button down stripped shirts can you wear in Belize?

Rose is already packed, even though we now won’t be leaving for San Pedro, Belize, until Feb. 12. Her allotted two suitcases are by the front door. She has also packed two different winter bags to be left with various friends for our brief return to the states around Christmas time. And she has a bag of stuff to wear between now and Feb. 12.

I’m a bit behind, to put it politely. What I have is various piles – clothes to donate, clothes for Belize, clothes for next winter, clothes that I don’t know what to do with.

The most coherent pile of clothes is the one for Belize. This is what I have so far and, honestly, I’m not sure it will all fit in my self-allotted one military-surplus dufflebag.

When I said I won’t be bringing a second bag, Rose said she would add it to her luggage set and fill it with shoes. Too late I remembered the words I heard as a child from my life mentor: “Never criticize the number of pairs of shoes a woman wishes to bring to a foreign posting. Never. Not ever. Not even in jest or sarcasm.”

I’ll let you know how that one works out.

I think we are at the point in our transition to Belize where such things as jest, humor, sarcasm, teasing and just kidding are viewed as unproductive … or worse.

The lesson here is: If something strikes you as funny while your wife is trying to winnow down a lifetime of lovely possessions to two suitcases – just shut the (bleep) up and be unflinchingly supportive.

Your partner is looking for a rock, not a stand-up comic.

Maybe in 10 years jokes about too many shoes will be funny – probably not, but maybe – just not now.


Let me know what you think about my own packing job: Too much for a first year in Belize. Not enough? What’s missing? What will never get worn — ever? What will I run out of and wish I’d packed some more?

  •  2 Hawaiian print silk shirts
  • 4 polo shirts, various colors
  • 1 long-sleeve polo shirt
  • 1 blue plaid short-sleeve shirt
  • 2 Rugby jerseys
  • 4 button-down long-sleeve shirts: 2 pin-stripe, 1 powder blue, 1 plaid
  • 1 denim long-sleeve shirt
  • 9 t-shirts various colors/prints
  • 3 sleeveless t-shirts
  • 1 Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers football jersey
  •  3 swim suits
  • 2 pair khaki pants
  • 3 pair cotton shorts
  • 2 pair blue jeans
  • 1 lightweight blue sports coat
  • 2 light sweaters
  • 2 pair nylon running shorts
  • 3 nylon running shirts
  • 8 pair underwear
  • 3 pair dress socks
  • 3 pair white socks
  • 2 pair running shoes
  • TextVisual1 pair casual loafers
  • 1 pair hiking boots
  • 1 pair river shoes
  • 1 pair sandals
  • 4 ballcaps
  • 1 rain poncho
  • 3 belts
  • 1 pair sunglasses

Of course there are obvious things like toiletries, flashlight, binoculars, mini-tool kit, sewing kit, Kindle, laptop, cellphone, camera, battery charger, bug repellent …

I do know his for certain: For the first time in my life I am expecting to use an airport cart to transport everything from the curb.

13 thoughts on “Packing for Belize

    Belize Blog (@SanPedroScoop) said:
    February 3, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Here is what I know…not enough undies. My washing machine here chews up clothes and spits them out in much rougher condition. And maybe it’s the water? I swear, it bleaches things. And for me? Not enough sandals. I never EVER wear a closed toe shoe. Or a long pant for that matter. I hope the cotton sheets and towels are in another bag…Rebecca


      Miranda said:
      February 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Too many long sleeves and sweaters. What do you need a sports coat for? In Belize? No. I agree with Rebecca, way more undies. Too many long pants. Why dress socks? And you don’t really need those loafers, unless you LOVE them and live in them.
      As for Rose’s shoes, have you seen how many pairs of shoes Tacogirl has? You can always bring an extra case and pay the $40 bucks, and look at it as shipping costs.
      And where ARE those linens and towels? I’m bringing down two BIG suitcases with nothing but a king-sized comforter set, sheets, and towels.


        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        February 3, 2014 at 9:09 am

        Hi Miranda! Regarding the sports coat, I think I was having visions of being a tropical James Mason being invited to an embassy function in Belmopan or being invited to the prime minister’s to talk about new ways to solve the nation’s economic problems …. did I mention that I tend to fantasize a lot?
        The first piece of advice I got when I moved to San Diego in 1981 was from the newspaper’s theatre critic: “Buy yourself a tuxedo. You’ll get invited to a whole new level of parties.” Never took him up on it, and never got invited to those parties. Which was probably just as well. I would have stuck out in tux and sandals ….
        We should probably double down on the linens and towels we’re taking. Thanks for that tip! And i’ll cut back on long sleeves and long pants! Thanks!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 3, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Thanks, Rebecca! More underwear, fewer pants. Check! Rose packed the linens and towels in her bag, wich is probably why she should have my self-allotted second bag. Fair is fair.


    Dan said:
    February 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    You’ll never wear the socks ;- )


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      You can’t imagine how good that sounds, Dan! I’m cutting back to a couple of pair for running and one dark pair on the outside chance the prime minister wants to meet me….
      Thanks for the note!


    jodivin said:
    February 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Oh Boy! The joy of packing for Belize.
    Glad to see the mention of linens and towels. My personal Do Not Forgets: Several tubes of an antibiotics type ointment, Current meds in original bottles with labels intact, a letter from your physician with any health concerns and mentioning your current Rxs, Afterbite for those little pesky no-see-ums, and remember you are going to A. Caye where many ex-pats roam, and will probably have access to much of what you need.
    The habits of a lifetime of packing for the in-case-of scenarios, are hard to conquer! You may be the most important person where you are going and never need more than one button down long sleeve anything in Belize. Unless you are meeting with the Prime Minister.
    From my point of view and experience in Belize (just an opinion), you have too many long pants, dress shirts, dress socks, and not enough room left for an extra pair(s) of shoes for Rose. And!!! don’t forget it is easier for you to buy a pair of long britches than it will be for the love of your life to find the shoes she needs. You will be amazed at how often having anything but your shorts, T, and sandals on becomes an imposition on your personal comfort. All these posters are correct. More underwear. Consider shopping for some of your things local. You may be surprised at what is available.

    The laundry detergent can tear up your clothes if they are delicates. We try to hang everything to dry because dryers are tougher on fabrics in the long run.

    Travel easy.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks Jodi,
      Afterbite is a great idea.With every new message I make a pass at the Belize pile. Couple more shirts and slacks and Rose will have room for three more pair of comfortable shoes! I am learning not to mess with the Divine Directive when it comes to women’s shoes…. Thanks!
      Actually wouldn’t mind meeting Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Seems like a pretty sharp guy in a very difficult role, although I wouldn’t dream of treading into political waters before I’ve even landed in the country!


    Emily said:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Have to agree with the other comments. Button-down shirts? Absolutely not needed — way too hot and formal. Blazer, ditto. If you get invited to an embassy dinner, you can wear the silk Hawaiian shirt and khakis and will be in good company. Socks for athletic pursuits only. Two pair long pants max (one khakis, one jeans, plus one sweat pants). The rest should be athletic gear, shorts, casual shirts, and swimsuits. We brought way too many clothes and toted some of them back to the US never worn once in 18 months in Belize. Then again, we didn’t get invited to any embassy dinners! 😉 Good luck with your move!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 3, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Emily, I bow to the collective wisdom! The blazer is out. So are a couple of pair of slacks and shirts. I was hoping to start losing a few pounds when I got to Belize. Looks like I’m starting earlier …


    ryan said:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:36 am

    31 shirts of varying degree seems excessive. I’m pretty sure they’ll have laundry facilities there…the Chargers jersey stays…


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Right on the shirts (and laundry), Ryan. I’ve cut them in half. I’ll cling to the Chargers jersey ans a mark of the unbridled optimism that keeps me thinking they will actually be a great team some day. (Same optimism that tells me moving to Belize is a cinch ….except for the hard work involved ….)


    […] With the help of our readers I actually managed to slim my life down so that all I need fits within the green duffel bag. I will have a carry-on bag for a few changes of clothes and electronics, documents, etc. […]


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