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Travel Tips

Some useful information

You can easily reach major destinations in the Caribbean by plane. Many major cities in the US and Europe offer direct flights to Caribbean destinations. Once you’re in a Caribbean country, smaller, uninhabited islands can be accessed by boat.

Most Caribbean countries require only a passport and a tourist visa to visit (for US, Canadian, and many European countries). This visa is usually available in the airplane, or upon landing. Before you buy your ticket, check for exact visa requirements.

Most Caribbean countries have tropical climates. This means that temperatures are almost always in the 80s and 90s, and there’s plenty of sunshine to soak up year round.

Unlike many other regions in the world, the Caribbean doesn’t have four distinct seasons. As far as weather goes, the region has just two seasons: wet and dry. The dry season, which lasts from January to May, is the most popular time for tourists to visit the Caribbean. Read more about Caribbean weather here. 

Even if you see locals drinking tap water in the Caribbean, don’t assume that it’s safe for you. Their stomachs may be used to the substances found in the water, but yours will not.

Stick with bottled or filtered water during your trip. In most cases, it’s ok to brush your teeth with tap water, as long as you don’t swallow it.

If you want to cut down on wasteful plastic water bottles, bring a reusable water bottle, and buy a large jug of filtered water at a grocery store.

Transportation in the Caribbean varies greatly. You’ll need to reach Caribbean countries by boat or by plane, since most of them are islands.

Once on an island, you can rent a car, hire a driver, or use public transportation or taxis to get around. The most inexpensive option in the Caribbean will always be public transportation, but it is also normally the slowest option.

Some folks like to “island hop” — in other words, visit many Caribbean islands in one trip. See this guide for tips about island hopping.

Banks in the Caribbean vary by country, and there are 13 currencies in use across Caribbean countries.

It’s best to carry a credit card like Visa, Master Card, or American Express while traveling. You can pay for things with your card at most places.

Do not carry large sums of cash. Bring a small sum with you for smaller vendors, and take out cash at an ATM only when necessary. Keep in mind that you may be charged a fee for taking out money at an ATM in a bank in a foreign country.

To avoid these fees, open an account at a bank like Charles Schwab or Capital One. These banks have options to avoid foreign transaction fees.

There are 13 currencies in use across Caribbean countries. However, US Dollars are widely accepted. In many cases, USD is the official currency, or is preferred.

While traveling in the Caribbean, you should avoid carrying large sums of cash. Pickpockets often target unsuspecting tourists, especially in large cities and near tourist attractions. Use a debit or credit card, and take out cash only when necessary. Keep in mind that you may need cash for tips and smaller vendors.

In case you need to ship something to the Caribbean or ship it home, you can find postal services in every Caribbean country. Most post offices are open from 8 or 9 am to 4 or 5 pm. It will take your parcel anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks to reach its destination. Expedited shipping is not always available. However, some islands do have FedEx and DHL.

The Caribbean uses voltage between 100 and 125, which is the same as the United States. Depending on your home country, you may need a voltage converter in order to use your electrical appliances.

Most Caribbean countries use A/B plugs. If this type does not fit your appliances, you will need to bring an adaptor.

See a complete list of plugs and voltage standards by country here. 

The Caribbean islands are rich with history and mystery. You can find archaeological sites, museums, and exhibits throughout the region. In Belize, you can even explore ancient Mayan ruins. Here are some notable archaeological museums and sites in the Caribbean:

National Archaeological Museum Aruba

The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

Arikok National Park

Edgar Clerc Archaeological Museum

National History Park, Haiti

La Fortaleza, San Juan Puerto Rico


Be Flexible

It’s good to plan for delays and be able to “go with the flow”. Getting stressed out over traffic, rain, or other inevitable mishaps can ruin your vacation unnecessarily.

Learn Common Phrases in the Local Language

If you’re planning on visiting a country in which the locals don’t speak English, knowing a few simple foreign language phrases can be extremely helpful. Here are a few that might be worth looking up: “Thank you” ,”Please” , “Yes”, “No”, and the old standby: “Where’s the bathroom?”

Plan Before You Pack

Don’t just grab random items and shove them into your suitcase–find out what you’ll really need while on vacation and make a list! You can avoid overweight baggage fees by only packing what you really need. In addition, you’ll be less likely to forget essential items at home if you plan before you pack. For a helpful resource, check out What to Pack for a Trip to the Caribbean. 

Don’t Forget Your Charger

Everyone loves to whip out their phone and take the perfect insta-ready pic, but it’s a wasted opportunity when your phone’s battery has died. To avoid this, bring your charger, or a portable power pack everywhere you go. Portable power packs that can charge your phone without being plugged in are perfect for the beach!

 Do Your Research

It’s absolutely crucial to plan what you’ll do and see each day, BEFORE you get on the plane. If you don’t, you’ll probably end up doing much less than you’d like. That doesn’t mean you absolutely MUST do everything in the order you planned it, but it can save you from arriving at your destination and spending all your time searching the internet for things to do.

Check out this free resource: 6 Unusual Activities to Do in the Caribbean

Make Photocopies of Your Passport

Having an extra copy or two of the identification page of your passport can come in handy in emergency situations. In some cases, airlines may let you board your plane home if you have lost your passport but have a copy. It also makes it easier to get a replacement passport at an embassy.

Be sure to keep photocopies safe, and in a different location from your passport. Print your flight itinerary or keep it handy in your phone. You can also scan your passport and store it in your phone or computer.



Pack the Essentials in Your Carry-on

If you’ve ever had your luggage misplaced by an airline, you know how awful it is to go a day or two without the things you need. Avoid this situation by putting a change of clothes, essential toiletries, and an extra pair of underwear in your carry-on.

Pack Your Bags by Outfit

Lazy packers tend to just toss a bunch of clothes in, hoping to finagle a great outfit or two out of that mess later. That almost never works, and you’ll end up with a lot of items that you won’t even use. Instead of putting clothes in piece by piece, choose outfits, and place them together in your suitcase.

Bring a Plastic Baggie for Liquid Items

Airline cabins are extremely dry, so it’s tempting to throw a tube of lotion in your carry-on. However, airlines have strict rules about liquids and liquid-ish items. Avoid problems in the security checkpoint by using containers that hold 3 oz or less, and place them in a quart-size baggie.

Store Important Information in Your Phone

Before you land in many countries, you’ll most likely have to fill out a tourist visa card that will require you to write down the address of the place where you’ll be staying. Keep this information handy in your phone so it’s easy to access. This will also help when your trying to get back to your hotel late at night and need to give the address to a taxi driver.

Ask The Locals

As much as internet research can help, the locals are always the ones who know an area best. Don’t be afraid to ask them which are the best restaurants, excursions, and landmarks! You might even discover places that few tourists know about.


Don’t Leave the “Emergency Contact” Lines Blank

It’s extremely important to give emergency contact information to airlines when they ask for it, and to let people at home know about your plans. It’s even more important if you’re traveling alone.