In the dark days of February, nothing sounds better than an escape to a Caribbean resort! It’s the classic definition of a vacation – sunny skies, white sand beaches, palm trees, and tropical cocktails. When you’re feeling energetic, there are plenty of activities available, like snorkeling and tennis. And if you just want to chill out, no shame in that game, there’s a lounge chair on the beach waiting for you!
If you are ready to make your dreams of a Caribbean resort vacation a reality, check out our tips to make the most of your trip.
Tip 1: Make Sure Your Passport is Up to Date
At PassportInfo.com, we get a lot of questions about what kind of passports are needed for travel to the Caribbean. Passport cards can be used if you are entering many Caribbean countries by sea, but let’s face it — not many of us have the luxury of sailing our yacht to a Caribbean paradise! If you are flying to any country, including all the countries of the Caribbean, you will need a valid passport book.
But wait, you say, I actually am planning to sail my yacht around the Caribbean! If that’s the case, you can use a US Passport Card to enter the following Caribbean nations by sea: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos. These countries are all part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
There are some Caribbean destinations you can visit without a passport at all. As a US citizen, you don’t need a passport to enter Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands. These islands are US territories! You will need to have identification to board your flight, though.
Tip 2: Choose the Caribbean Resort That’s Right For You
These days, you can find resorts that cater to just about every type of traveler!
- Families with kids will enjoy a trip to a family-friendly
resort. Look for a resort that has a kid’s club where you can drop off the kids — they’ll have fun, while you have a chance to relax on your own! All-inclusive resorts are a great choice for families. With all meals and snacks included, it means that Mom actually gets a vacation from doing all the cooking and cleaning up! Some family-friendly resorts even have over-the-top amenities like water parks on site.
- Fitness fanatics can consider a trip to a yoga retreat. If you’d rather burn your calories enjoying the sun and surf rather than doing sun salutes, look for an all-inclusive resort that doesn’t charge for activities like windsurfing, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.
- Lovebirds looking for a romantic escape will find it at an adults-only resort. You’ll be able to hold hands and watch the sunset, and enjoy decadent dinners uninterrupted by noisy kids!
- Nature lovers can explore the rich tropical environment at an eco-resort.
Tip 3: Find Out What’s Included in Your “All-Inclusive” Resort
- Specialty dining
- Alcoholic drinks
- Child care
- Activities like golf or sailing
- Beach chairs or loungers
- Tips and gratuities
- Airport transfers
Take these possible hidden costs into consideration when you compare the prices of resorts. What looks like a great bargain might not be, if you have to pay extra for things that other resorts include in their base price.
Tip 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Leave the Resort
Hey, we don’t blame you if you don’t want to stray any farther than the resort’s beach or the swim-up bar… but you’re also free to explore beyond the gates of the resort! If you want to shop for souvenirs, you’ll find way more options in town than in the resort gift shop. You might also want to check out nearby attractions, try some authentic restaurants, or go to hear live music from local bands!
Tip 5: Pack Like a Pro
It’s worth it to do a bit of research before you leave to find out what you should pack. Check out your resort’s website as well as forums like TripAdvisor to get advice from other guests. There, you’ll be able to find out if you need to pack your own hairdryer, or if you need jackets or cocktail dresses for the more upscale dining options at your resort.
Another thing to decide is whether you need to bring your own sports equipment. Does your resort charge to rent snorkeling equipment? If it does, you might want to pop your mask and fins in your suitcase! Avid golfers and tennis players will also need to decide if you’ll use the resort’s equipment or bring your own.
You may also want to consider bringing your own beach toys for the kids, if the resort doesn’t supply them. It’ll be a lot cheaper to pick them up at the dollar store at home than to buy pails and shovels at the resort store! Best of all, you won’t feel guilty leaving them behind, which gives you more room in your suitcase so you can shop for treasures.