How much stuff you should take with you when you move to Belize depends on how long you are staying here. If you are going to Belize on a trial basis like for six months to a year or less, I don’t think you have to bring a lot of stuff. You can bring some clothes and decent shoes that you can use for all kinds of terrain. But generally, like my father says, “If you don’t have it when you are traveling, you just buy it where you are.”
The only essential things that you need to bring to Belize would be your pharmaceutical things, if you need any, and toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, beauty products, etc. because they are not easy to obtain here in Belize. Another thing I have not been able to buy is contact lenses, but you can buy them online and have them sent to Belize. If you have prescription eyeglasses, bring a spare pair.
I would always recommend bringing an e-reader or any kind of tablet. People are very committed to their news sources and ultimately having access to the same news and other media that you have at your home country is a good way to ease into your new situation while still having access to the things that you love.
If you decide that you want to stay in Belize for a long time, other than your basics, you should bring your linens, because it is difficult to get decent linens here in Belize, unless you pay a fortune. If you have a hobby, you should bring the items you need for your hobby, like your fishing rods, golf clubs, hiking shoes, etc. If you are buying a car in Belize, you will pay double. So if you are coming to Belize on a Qualified Retired Person’s Residency, you could just bring your car to Belize duty free. You have a one year window to do that and that window is renewable after the third year.
My recommendation is to bring less. Just bring your essentials. Bring less than you think you are going to use. I am saying this from experience. I have a three-bedroom home in Canada that I packed up, and after numerous donations, garage sales, and friends coming to harvest, I kept the special stuff. I kept the dining table that my husband’s grandmother had given us and other essentials, and now, they are all just sitting in my mother’s basement for years because I have a small house in Belize. I do not even remember what we had, but now in hindsight, I realize I should have gotten rid of all of it, but we did not know that then. I had already gotten rid of so much of our stuff that I thought I was just keeping the essentials. It was a learning experience. So I would recommend for people to not bring lots of their stuff to Belize because you can buy most things here. You can also buy furniture here in Belize.
If you realize that you need something you left in your home country, then you can bring it into Belize later. Just because you have moved to another country, doesn’t mean you are not going back. And when you do go back, you will realize how much consumerism there is in North America; everything is “buy and buy and buy.” You have one thing and then you buy another one of that same thing. That doesn’t seem to exist in Belize nearly as much. When you move to Belize, your attitude about buying things changes. Out here, you live with less. You keep it simple, and it is a really freeing feeling. I will never forget those first few days when we were deciding what to keep and what to leave. I was panicked thinking that I could not sell my stuff; I needed them. I told myself that I would be back in three years. That’s what I said nine years ago. Now, I realize I am not going back, so I don’t need the things I used to think I needed and I can only farm them out to family members for a certain amount of time.
When you come here to Belize to live, your attitude really shifts about how much stuff you need, and I think it’s a really healthy thing. In North America, your “wants” become “needs”, but not here.
I would highly recommend that whoever comes to Belize over the age of 45 to get a Qualified Retired Person’s Residency because it is very easy and provides a lot of benefits. All you have to prove is that you have US $24,000 per year or $2,000 per month coming into your bank account; whether you spend it or not in Belize is up to you. They are just looking to make sure you have the ability to support yourself. Once you have that residency status, you don’t need a tourist visa, and you get that one-year window to bring in your goods duty free. Also, as I wrote above, it is renewable after the third year. You will not be able to import goods for two years after the first year. But then you can re-apply and start bringing in duty free goods again.