The Caribbean has long been a Passport Application Review favorite destination for American tourists. Acclaimed for its scenery and family-friendly vibe, the Caribbean is one of the safest travel destinations for millions of American tourists every year.
Anywhere in the world, however, some travelers experience occasional travel headaches. Many times, these travel troubles are the result of poor travel planning. Therefore, the key to a successful Caribbean vacation is preparation, from passports to knowing the important details of your destination and knowing how to pack.
To ensure your Caribbean vacation is a success, here are some travel tips you need to consider when planning your trip:
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Apply for a passport as soon as the Passport Application Review is possible. Since all Caribbean destinations—except St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands—require passports for air travel, each member of your family will need to apply. Since this is the first year of the new passport regulations, delays have increased (some estimates take 10 weeks to complete the application). Since you don’t want to miss your vacation due to losing your passport, please complete this step before arranging your vacation details.
Do some research before traveling. Try to learn about the culture and places of interest in your destination. Check out reviews of hotels, restaurants, and events. Once you have an idea of your Caribbean destination, you can make informed decisions about resorts and activities.
Since family activities abound in the Caribbean, try to involve your child in the planning process as much as possible. Your kids will be happy to know they played a part in your family vacation and you don’t have to worry about disappointment.
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Try to book a resort with useful services near your point of interest. Throughout the Caribbean, reliable resorts can often offer guests shuttle services, activity packages, and even special opportunities. Also, try to utilize your resort’s local contacts. From car rentals to scuba diving trips, everything can be arranged directly through your resort.
If you plan to visit the Caribbean during peak season (usually December to mid-April), book your hotel approximately 2-3 months in advance. During the low season (June to November), booking at popular resorts is easier and more affordable.
Depending on where you plan to travel in the Caribbean, you may not need a currency exchange as many islands accept US currency in addition to local currency. However, in many cases, it is beneficial to carry the official currency of the destination – especially when traveling outside the tourist crowd. If you are not sure whether you need to exchange currency, please consult your resort concierge. Your concierge can also direct you to a reliable redemption location.
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Throughout the Caribbean, food and drinking water are generally safe for your entire family. Even so, if you’re taking the time to explore outside the main tourist areas—like the unique desert beaches of western Aruba—be sure to bring some bottled water.
Wear sunscreen. By far the most common health problem for tourists in the Caribbean is overexposure to the sun. However, this risk is also the easiest to avoid. Just bring some good sunscreen and cover-up for when you’re playing at the beach or outdoors.
If you experience difficulties for any reason while vacationing in the Caribbean, please contact the U.S. embassy or consulate. Almost all islands in the area have offices with helpful travel information and staff are able to solve many common travel challenges.
The US Department of State also provides detailed consular information sheets for all Caribbean countries. These information packs can help you understand immigration requirements, currency exchange, the locations of consulates and embassies throughout the region, and many other local issues. Use the information from the U.S. State Department with your travel guide to prepare for your vacation and avoid unnecessary stress associated with international travel.
Review travel insurance plans before finalizing your vacation details. Travel insurance can protect you (and your money) if you need to cancel your vacation, have travel delays, or have a medical problem. Check your current homeowners and medical insurance plans before you travel to see if these situations are covered.