I have been fortunate to go to a lot of different places…some for fun and others for work…and I have learned a LOT about great places to go (that people may not think are good places) and tricks and tips to ensure you have a great time. Below are my Top 8 Tips for a great Caribbean Trip.
Tip 1 – Know the weight restrictions the airline you are flying has on your luggage. Nothing will start a trip off on the wrong foot more than you and your travel buddy mad about having to pay extra $$ to check your heavy luggage. Also some airlines charge you for EVERY checked bag regardless of weight so also know that information so you can budget accordingly. And if you purchase any alcohol, even at the airport you will need to pack it in your checked bag because once you clear customs in the US you have to go back through TSA and your booze will be over 3 ounces. I've had very good luck (knocking on wood) wrapping bottles up in clothes and placing them in the middle of my suitcase.
Tip 2 – Chewable Pepto Bismol…I don’t have a medical reason for this (I’m sure someone with a medical degree could help with that) but I know if one or two tablets chewed every morning or before every meal will help coat your stomach and help prevent illness. Now is it 100%, NO, but it is an international travel agent trick and every time I’ve used it (Mexico, Jamaica) I’ve never had a problem.
Tip 3 – Pack your own sunscreen, SPF lip balm and after sun lotion. You are going to pay MUCH less for it at home, you know it will be FDA approved. The other benefit is that you will use it and leave the containers in your destination country freeing up space for souvenirs to come home. Pack your sunscreen in a zip lock baggie to prevent spillage.
Tip 4 – Pack ALL liquids, creams, gels, etc. in zip lock baggies and bring extras in case you bring something home that is liquid (ie. Vanilla or Tequila from Mexico or Rum from Jamaica). If you know you are going to possibly bring home something like alcohol also throw in some bubble wrap.
Tip 5 – Make sure your passport expires at least 6 months after the date of your return. For example, if you return on March 15, your passport HAS to expire on September 16 or after. Also make a copy of your passport and place in a separate place from your actual passport in the off chance something happens to yours.
Tip 6 – Snacks. I am a wake-up-after-drinking-and-need-food-immediately person. I also sometimes just want something that reminds me of home. I typically pack cheese/peanut butter sandwich crackers for a snack because I can eat them morning, noon or night. One thing you can’t take is fresh fruit or meat so DO NOT try and take those items with you.
Tip 7 – If you are going to an all-inclusive resort take a bunch of $1 bills with you. If you tip your waiter or waitress or whomever is bringing you drinks, you will get drinks much faster than you cheap friends sitting beside you. I’m not saying flip them a $5 every time you get a drink, but if you give them a $1 every time you and your travel buddy/friends get a round they will take care of you. Even if the country you are in doesn’t work in dollars, they will still take them, trust me.
Tip 8 – If you are going to a country that does not use dollars as their currency…exchange ONLY the money you think you will use when you get to the airport currency exchange OR use the ATM and withdraw the money you need. Currency exchange leaving the country is never as good as when you arrived.
Here are some other posts I have that might help as well:
And my friend at Crystal Cattle posted a great post on how to get the most from your airline miles...check it out!