Ah, the Caribbean. Just saying the word invokes a tropical paradise experience. However, before we start fantasizing and planning out the perfect Caribbean holiday, it's important to not only plan ahead but to get your documents and other important needs in order before booking your flight.
People have been taking Caribbean travel vacations since colonial times. Today, millions of U.S. citizens visit the islands each year to experience the tropical extravaganza that a Caribbean journey usually has in store for all its visitors. Below are some Caribbean travel tips to help you get the most out of your tropical excursion:
Get An Early Start
If there is anything you absolutely must do when you go on a Caribbean vacation it is to get a start early. There are a few essentials you will need to take care of before you arrive in paradise.
Trip planning can be a tough nut to crack. Often, a passport may be required before you can enter the country you are planning to travel to. One Caribbean travel tip you ought to consider is to prepare all your travel documents as early as now - if you are planning to travel this summer.
It is also a great idea to inform a family member or close friend of your travels. You will want to make sure they have your departure and return dates. Where you are staying, and an emergency contact number. Having these things organized before you travel will create peace of mind.
Choose An Island
Culture-shock!!! That is bound to happen if you don’t do your research beforehand. One thing you should remember about the Caribbean is that it has a culture that is as widely diverse as its people.
So take this Caribbean travel tip: read up on the culture and people for the places you will travel.
Be a wise and smart traveler by registering you and your family in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It only takes only a few minutes, and certainly invaluable in case of emergency. In addition, you can also get up-to-date Caribbean travel tips and information on any country in the world by obtaining the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet.
Every island in the Caribbean has its own entry requirements. That is why your first Caribbean travel tip is to prepare all your documents before you leave home. If you can show proof that you are a U.S. citizen and a return or onward ticket, most countries will allow you to visit for up to two or three months.
Also, some airports may require a departure tax of up to $25.
There are some Caribbean countries that require only your birth certificate as an entry requirement. However, this should be the reason for you to slack off on your travel documents. Remember that U.S. Immigration requires that you document both your U.S. citizenship and identity. Take this Caribbean travel tip and make sure you can return to the United States with both these documents.
But what is the best document that can prove your U.S. citizenship? The best proof is a valid U.S. passport. However, other travelers give these Caribbean travel tips as documents you can use besides that to prove U.S. citizenship:
* Expired U.S. passport
* Certified copy of the birth certificate
* Certificate of Naturalization
* Certificate of Citizenship
* Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen
What Type of Experience Are You Seeking?
Now that we have the important parts of your trip out in the open. It's time to consider what type of Caribbean experience are you seeking.
Are you single? A newlywed couple? Or a family looking for a kid-friendly environment?
No matter what type of traveler you are, the Caribbean has something for everyone.
If you are the type of person that likes to pick out every detail of a vacation, you may want to look for great resorts that have connections to island activities. That way you can pick and choose what you would like to do. If you're looking for the ultimate all-inclusive deal, you will discover many resorts that may offer families the following:
* Beach and water sports
* Luxurious swimming pools and water slides
* Kid-friendly programs and family activities
* Meal-time convenience and drinks on tap
* Grown-up pampering like spas, dining, cocktail parties, etc.
* Baby-sitting and other services
* Great family rates
However, there are times when there are just too many all-inclusive Caribbean family travel resorts out there that it’s difficult to choose just one. So how do you know which one suits you and your family best?
When you say all-inclusive, it’s natural to assume that the package includes everything. But remember that an all-inclusive Caribbean family journey includes almost but not quite everything. So you got all meals and snacks, drinks, kids programs, and certain water sports and other activities but not all of them.
For example, the Hilton La Romana, in the Dominican Republic has it all. It's the perfect family friendly all-inclusive resort.
Take note of the following:
* Non-motorized water sports are generally included, such as kayaks, windsurfing, aqua-trikes, etc. If you want the motorized ones, like jet skis and water skis, it may cost you.
* Gear for snorkeling is often free, but there may be a limit as to how long you can use them. And if you want to join a snorkeling boat trip on your Caribbean family travel, it may cost you extra.
* Scuba is generally extra.
* Spas are always extra unless otherwise stated in the package you purchased.
* Off-property outings are extra, though a shuttle bus to a nearby town may be free.
* Some non-all-inclusive offer plans that include meals and/or activities.
Every all-inclusive Caribbean family travel package offers this. Many are friendly little clubs, cute spots with one or two rooms with toys and TV, and maybe video games for kids ages 4-12. A warm and friendly staff is always there to provide them with care.
But if you want your kids to enjoy the multi-program type, most all-inclusive resorts have this actually. Here, there are different places and programs for different ages.
Babies and Toddlers?
More and more Caribbean family travel resorts are now providing nurseries and infant care for guests traveling with their babies or toddlers. This is a welcomed break for you, moms because even if you only leave your kid for a few hours in the nursery during nap time, that short amount of time can be invigorating and gives you a chance to enjoy your Caribbean family travel vacation yourself.
If you’re worried about whether on-site doctors or nurses are available, try one of the bigger Caribbean family travel resorts. They’re your best bet. And lastly, as a miscellaneous tip, be sure to double-check the site where you booked your Caribbean family travel to make sure that the baby-club will be up and running during your trip.