Wingin’ It With Kids – A No Plans Travel Approach

We’ve been wanting to explore more of the mainland in Belize for a while now but had not made it off the island yet.  Then we got word of a Christmas Day airfare sale – $25 BZ (that’s $12.50 US) flight segments to anywhere they fly. But, where do we go? As far as possible.

Laminated Boarding Passes

Laminated Boarding Passes

We purchased tickets to Punta Gorda, Belize, the southern-most city in Belize that Tropic Air flies to. It would take 2 flights, San Pedro to Belize City and Belize City to Punta Gorda. For $82.50 US we bought the whole family a one way flight to southern Belize. But that’s just one way. How do we get back? Where do we stay? What do we do? That is where the “no plans travel approach with kids” begins.

We thought we would be a little adventurous and tap into our pre-children days.  You remember those days, right?  Where you could do anything and go anywhere without consulting the biological nap schedule of a 1 yr old or the constant ‘need to run around really fast’ body of a 3 yr old.  Those memories of being free to just wing it seem so long ago.

And then we thought:  “Heck, let’s try it.  We have experience wingin’ other things.”  Ha!

No Plans with Kids?  Seriously?

We didn’t have any plans of where we were staying or what we were going to do.  There were certain things we wanted to do, but we hadn’t arranged anything prior to leaving.  Finding a place to stay on the fly was going to be interesting.  Could we do this and stay sane towing around a 3 & 1 year old?  We were traveling at one of the busiest tourist times of the year – the week between Christmas and New Year. We had no guide books, no recommendations.  We were going to rely on word of mouth, other backpackers and plain straight dumb luck.

This could be exciting, or the most stressful thing we could do with children.  If it was just us, the adults, that would be no problem, but we have young kids and we were planning on budget travels.  No staying in $100 US/night hotel rooms or eating at fancy restaurants, oh no.  We were attempting to be family backpackers, a rare breed.

There were many things we would have to overcome:

  • The uncertainty.  We were visiting some places that aren’t big tourist attractions.  What if we got there and there was nowhere to sleep? And being the holiday season, would places be open and buses be running? Where would we eat?
  • The Backpack.  Could we fit everything we needed for the four of us and a week’s worth of adventure in one backpack and small day pack, including diapers?
  • Last Minute Affordability.  Would we be able to find accommodations that didn’t take our weeks worth of money for one night? Would transportation be affordable?
  • The anticipation of the Breakdown moments.  I had images of many breakdowns waiting for buses.  I’m not referring to my children, but more to me, their mother.

Yet, the thought of the challenge gave us a shot of youthful adrenaline in our systems.

And we’re off!

So Christmas morning we boarded the 7 am plane for the short 17 minute flight to the mainland of Belize and then another 30 minute flight to Punta Gorda.  No plans.  We were just going to show up, find a place to stay and discover what there was to be discovered. We’d have the freedom to stay extra nights or to leave when we wanted (or when the bus schedule would allow us to).

We were going to spend the week traveling through Southern Coastal Belize with NO PLANS, no place to stay, no agenda…just a direction of where we were headed – north. Sort of a test for us to see if we are really as brave as we think, as strong as we seem, and capable of the impossible.

View of Caye Calker

View of Caye Calker

Stay tuned as we share our Week of Wingin’ It in Southern Belize.

Next post: Hearing the Silence in Punta Gorda on Christmas

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9 Responses to “Wingin’ It With Kids – A No Plans Travel Approach”

  1. Pat Murray January 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    I hope you liked our neck of the woods here in PG. We love it down here.

  2. Lisa wood January 7, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    I like how you were going to be a family of backpackers – and just give it a go! What better way to live 🙂
    Cheers
    Lisa

  3. Mamun Srizon January 7, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Just started traveling again and these credit belongs to you. Best of luck KINGS…

  4. Brandon Pearce January 11, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    I love this. I am historically a big planner, but last week we did the same thing — decided to wing it on a trip to Cameron Highlands and in moving to Kuala Lumpur. We didn’t book anything in advance, although I did research a couple places to stay and some activities. And I’m so glad we did. We ended up only wanting to stay one day in Cameron Highlands, instead of two, like we thought we would, and we also got to stay in the town of Ipoh along the way, which we had heard nothing about, but we’re very impress with. It feels good to wing it. The kids did get tired of looking at apartments in KL, but we were being picky about staying at a nice place, so took longer than just finding sufficient budget housing. I think we’ll be winging it more often from now on.

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