Take a Vacation with a Direct Flight Out of Houston
We all could use a vacation, and there’s nothing like an international getaway to take you out of your comfort zone. If you’re put off by how long it may take to fly to and from your destination, plan to take a direct flight—which will also cut the time you spend in stuffy airports. There are flights out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) that’ll take you straight to Belize City or nonstop to Mexico City in under three hours. Or take a straight flight from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to the Caribbean island of Aruba in under five hours.Houston’s status as one of the largest cities in the US comes with the benefit of having the fourth-largest multi-airport system in the country. Nearly 40,000 passengers traveled through IAH in May alone, and with summer just about here, you can expect that monthly tally to increase. In all, flights out of IAH connect travelers directly to some three dozen foreign countries—including more than 40 different destinations in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean—and HOU offers direct service to 10 non-US destinations around the region as well.While the world is still grappling with COVID-19 restrictions and travel bans, below are five tempting destinations you can visit now, via a direct flight out of Houston.
Aruba (4.5 hours)
On clear days it is possible to see the mainland from the southeastern side of the island. There is enough sightseeing on the island to fill a monthlong vacation. The cheapest thing to do is to experience the beaches in Aruba. Eagle Beach is a spacious white-sand beach with plenty of shaded areas to sit down under a tree. There are influences from more than 90 nationalities and cultures in the cuisine of the small island of Aruba. Sopi di pisca is a locals favorite dish. Travelers are no longer required to present a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccine in order to enter the US. Visit the travel information website for more updates.
Belize City (2.5 hours)
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the beautiful country of Belize. From zip-lining through the jungle to relaxing on the Caribbean shoreline, and from pounding on a Garifuna drum to diving deep beneath the sea, Belize is an outdoors lover’s dream. Creole, Mestizo, Garifuna, and Maya are just a few of the influences that make up the culture. You can eat a spiced-up version of beans and rice, snack on tiny fried corn tortillas with a delicious mix of cabbage, chicken, and avocados, or you can make your own hot sauce. Travelers without a negative COVID-19 test can experience the lively nightlife with dancing on the beach all night long if they show proof of vaccinations. To get more travel updates, visit the website.
Dubai (14.5 hours)
Home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the modern and luxurious emirate of Dubai can make you feel like you’re in the future. You will be blown away by the magnificent cityscapes, beautiful desert, and unparalleled coastline of D.C. The Museum of the Future is an exhibition space that features innovative tech and a futuristic outlook. You can take an Edge Walk atop a 53-story tower to get a panoramic view of the landscape, or you can watch the sunrise from The View at The Palm. The Coffee Museum in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is a great place to learn about Arabic culture and the bean. There is more information on the country’s website.
Istanbul (12 hours)
Istanbul has earned its place as Turkey’s go-to hub and as a dream destination for travelers due to its rich history, beautiful geography, and distinct culture. The Hagia Sophia mosque, the Basilica Cistern, and the minarets and tiled domes of the minarets are all examples of the city’s built marvels. Istanbul has more to offer than its Byzantine and Ottoman history, and visitors can either hop on a ferry to tour the deep blue waters of the Bosporus Strait or simply relax on the bright teal beaches of the Prince Islands. Pick out some unique spices, eclectic jewelry, a hand-woven rug, and more at some of the 4,000 shops at the Grand Bazaar. Turkish street food, like simit, a twisted circular bread otherwise known as a Turkish bagel, or halka, a fried dessert coated in sugar, is good to eat. Turkey has guidelines for COVID-19.
Mexico City (2.5 hours)
Houston is just a hop away from Mexico City because the Lone Star State borders the country of Mexico. The ruins of Templo Mayor, an Aztec temple, and the Palacio Nacional, which houses Mexico’s Federal Treasury and National Archives, can be seen in the Centro Historico neighborhood. There are murals depicting four phases of Mexican history on the walls of the palace. Take a deep breath and eat some tortillas at the Mexico City Cathedral, Palacio de Bellas Artes, and Chapultepec Park. The neighborhoods of Condesa, Polanco, and Roma have great art and nightlife. There are many things to do in and around the capital city. An unforgettable Mexico City moment is being serenaded by mariachis in Plaza Garibaldi, which is not required for entry. Health screening procedures may be in place at airports. You can find a list of international direct flights out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport on the Mexico Embassy website. There are more international destinations accessible from the William P. Hobby Airport.