Hi everyone, I haven’t been to the Caribbean in years but after reading Eunice Nisbett’s guest blog post I have put it back on my bucket list.
Know Before You Go:
Tips for Travelling to the Eastern Caribbean
By Eunice Nisbett
You’ve longed to visit the Caribbean and have been saving up for that trip. You have decided to visit the Eastern Caribbean this time. (For the purpose of this article the Eastern Caribbean refers to the countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines — eight countries tied by a common currency). The time is approaching for you to make the necessary arrangements. What should you know before you go? In this article we are going to provide you with some guidance, to help make this, a trip of a lifetime.
1. Expenses and Funding
It’s time to work out a budget for your trip. Think about:
How will you be travelling? Do you plan to go on a Cruise or will you travel by plane?
Which islands do you plan to see?
How much will you need for accommodation, travel, meals, entertainment and spending money? In planning your budget decide what is important to you. Are you looking for entertainment or relaxation, or do you plan to go sight-seeing or hiking? Some countries have great hiking trails and natural beauty spots that you might wish to see. Then again, a number of island festivities occur throughout the year so if you are interested in participating, you should check the Ministry of Tourism’s website for a calendar of events.
Include funds for emergencies and unplanned activities. If you have travelled before, use your experience to guide your budget and add a percentage to give you flexibility. Otherwise research that country and visit either the website of a Tour Guide or that of the Ministry of Tourism to get an idea of the cost of tours and taxis. You will also need to get an idea of general hotel rates, if you plan to stay in one. Note that in most countries a service charge is normally included in hotel bills. The rate may vary between countries.
Do not forget your credit cards, as major credit cards are accepted at most establishments. If you can, why not make an advance payment to your card to allow you to cover some of your expenses while abroad.
2. It’s Ticket Time
There are many options for purchasing your ticket. However, much will depend on which countries you plan to visit on your trip. If you start planning early you could benefit from promotional fares. Bear in mind though, that many promotional fares restrict you from making changes to your itinerary. You might only be able to do so for a fee. Check an online travel agent to see what’s available. Travel between the islands can be done via LIAT, the main airline serving the region. Check out liat.com to see what’s available and book your flight online.
3. What to Take
Check with your selected airline on your baggage entitlements, as this may change over time. Some airlines will allow you to check two pieces of luggage on transatlantic flights. For local inter-island flights you will generally be allowed one piece at 20kg. Confirm baggage entitlements before you go.
4. To Your Health
Seek medical advice before travelling to the islands, to ensure that your immunizations are up to date. Some countries recommend Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. Dengue fever is common across the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause a feverish illness associated with headache, muscle aches and pains, and rash. Some cases of dengue are severe. Dengue can be prevented by avoiding being bitten by the disease-carrying mosquitoes that feed predominately during daylight hours. Do remember to obtain insect repellants.
Generally the water in the islands is drinkable. Bottled water is also available.
5. Getting In and Out
Documentation requirements for entry may vary depending on your country of origin. Do confirm entry requirements with your airline before you start your trip. Generally, a valid passport (in some instanced the passport must be valid for a stated minimum period from the date of entry) is a required travel document when travelling to the Eastern Caribbean. In addition the following might be required:
A government issued photo ID, where a birth certificate is presented.
Proof of sufficient funds and a return or onward passage.
A valid visa.
(Tip: Copy the page of your passport with the photo, and the relevant entry stamp. Keep these in a safe location should your documents be stolen.)
Departure taxes vary between the islands and range from about US$20-US$35 per traveler. Departure taxes are payable in cash; some countries may accept credit card payments – Visa or MasterCard – at the airport. In some instances Departure Taxes may be included in the cost of your ticket.
As a point of note, if you are travelling by air from one country to a next and need to be in transit on a third, before a change of flight; you may need to undergo security checks. This is because each country is an independent state; and in many instances you will meet other travelers onboard as you take your onward connections.
The information presented in this article is general and for informational purposes only. Please check with the website for the Ministry of Tourism in each country, for specific information. Then you will be all set for your trip. Know Before You Go and have a great vacation.
Eunice Nisbett is an independent Administrative Services Consultant/Virtual Assistant and owner of Savvy Corporate Planners+. A savvy, dependable, skilled and dedicated virtual entrepreneur with over twenty (20) years experience in coordinating, planning and supporting operational and administrative functions, Eunice presents a proven track record of professionalism and commitment to excellence. She works with entrepreneurs and corporate institutions globally to provide effective and innovative administrative support solutions to take their businesses to the next level.
Need a Virtual Assistant while in the Caribbean? Contact us today. Visit www.savvyvirtuals.com.
Happy travel everyone,
Carol Ann Quibell is a travel writer, columnist and photographer who shares tips on writing, travel and her experiences. Sign up on the right hand side of this page to receive her very helpful and informative newsletter.