Though I, to use a cliché, live where you vacation; I still love to visit the other Caribbean islands whenever I possibly can. So whether you’re a local doing some island hopping or a foreigner trying to escape the chilly weather, here are some of my tips to having the ultimate island getaway.
- Do your homework. Do some research about the country you’re going to visit before you get there. Find out about the local languages and customs to help you get around easily. Check the current weather patterns to pack the most appropriate clothes so you don’t end up like me freezing during a 2016 Miami cold front with mostly tank tops in your suitcase.
- Avoid all inclusive hotels. When staying in an all inclusive hotel you tend to avoid venturing out of the hotel itself since all your amenities can be found there. However you can’t truly experience a country and culture like this. One of the best ways in my opinion to see a country is to drive around and visit different towns, go to as many beaches and restaurants as you can, and even try some of the street food.
- Do the ‘tourist things’. Visit museums, nature trails, waterfalls, historic landmarks and everything in between. Learn something about the country you’re visiting by experiencing the history and flora and fauna.
- Have a plan. Plan your activities and transport before you get there. Use a GPS or road map and check the routes you’d most likely use if you’re using your own means of transport. However try not to stick to your plan too rigidly. Allow for some flexibility if you see someplace you’d like to stop at along the way or would just like a rest day. It’s a vacation so enjoy it to the fullest.
- Travel comfortably. Try not to over-pack (I always do) and stress yourself out over having everything. Forgotten necessities can always be picked up while you’re there. Wear comfortable clothes to the airport that would remain convenient when you arrive. By this I mean, don’t wear thick sweaters because you might feel cold in the airport or on the plane but will boil and need to change ASAP as you land. Try layering with cardigans or socks to avoid this.
- Be safe. Though the Caribbean really is a paradise, crime remains an issue as it does in other parts of the world. Find out from locals, a concierge or a tourist guide which areas are the safest for visitors and which areas are best to be avoided. Also pay attention to signage and/or warnings such as roads signs to keep yourself safe as well.
P.S a bonus tip I learnt on my last vacation is that Off! Spray can be used as nail polish remover in a pinch.