Having the opportunity to go on an island getaway is really a treat! There are many wonderful experiences you can have with friends or family. However, if you want to enjoy your vacation, there are a few things you need to do and consider beforehand. There is a lot to think about for this type of vacation. Take plenty of time to prepare for your trip so you can have a safe, fun, and stress-free time.
Confirm Your Reservations
When traveling, there are many reservations that you need to keep track of. This could include flights, hotels, other transportation, and even tours or appointments at your destination. After you made these reservations, you should have gotten a phone or email confirmation. However, it is still a good idea to reconfirm your reservations before you leave home. This is especially true if you made them several months in advance. Sometimes, reservations can be lost or perhaps they weren’t fully confirmed in the beginning. It would be better to find out there’s a problem before you’ve already started traveling. Additionally, if you reconfirm in advance, you have more time to address any issues and get everything in order.
If you are flying to your destination, there is one important distinction to be aware of. There is a difference between a confirmed reservation and a ticketed one. A confirmed reservation means that there is a spot saved for you. However, you also need a ticket to actually get that space. If you purchase tickets for your flight in a group, you might all have the same confirmation number, but everyone needs their own individual ticket. It’s important that you check that everyone has a ticket number as well as a confirmation number. Otherwise, you might go to check in for your flight and discover you need to buy the tickets there which can be very expensive.
Make a List of Must-Sees
Before you travel to the island(s) of your choice, you need to have an idea of what you will be doing while there. If you don’t do research before you go, then you’ll end up wasting time once you reach your destination as you try to find out what to do. There are several approaches you can take to making your must-see list. If you’re going with a group, have everyone do some research on their own and ask them to come up with one or two things they are interested in doing. This will give you a variety to choose from.
You can also do some research to see what is most popular for other travelers. For example, if you’re traveling to the Caribbean, you visit the Dunns River Falls in Jamaica or swim with stingrays in the Cayman Islands. There are many lists out there that you can review to give your ideas for your trip. Make sure you have a robust list. It might be helpful to list more items than you have time for just in case there are destinations you can’t make it to. Plans are always subject to change depending on how your group is feeling or what they are most interested in. It’s better to have an abundance of options so you can fit everyone’s needs.
Work Out Your Financial Situation
When traveling, it’s important to take some time to get all of your finances in order. First and foremost, you should notify your bank about your travel. With them informed, you don’t need to worry about them canceling your credit card due to suspicious activity. Similarly, you can get debit cards or credit cards that are more conducive to travel. For example, some credit cards will charge higher interest rates for purchases made outside the country. Look into some options so you don’t end up paying more than you need to. If you are traveling internationally, you should also look into the exchange rate. It’s best to research this in advance so you can be prepared. Lastly, if you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, you should set up automatic payments for bills, so you don’t need to worry about them while you travel.
Additionally, you should contact your cell phone company. You need to know if you are covered at your destination and if there will be any additional charges. International travel especially can be expensive. You wouldn’t want to have a fun vacation and then come home to a hefty phone bill. When you contact your cell phone company, you can even look into a plan that works better for travel.
What to Pack
As you pack, you need to think ahead to your vacation. You want to make things as easy as possible for you. This is another area where it may be helpful to research the area ahead of time, so you are prepared. When traveling to some islands, it can be common for your luggage to be delayed. Make sure your carry on has your essentials as well as a change of clothes and a bathing suit. If your luggage is delayed, you want to have everything with you that will keep you comfortable until everything else arrives. Some locations may also have a long walk, or you might deplane on the tarmac. If this is the case for your destination, make sure you have rolling luggage, so you don’t get tired from carrying everything. When packing your luggage, you should be sure to pack light and leave room for any souvenirs you find along the way. Use packing tips such as rolling your clothes instead of folding them.
When it comes to what you actually need to pack, make sure you are realistic about what activities you’ll be doing. Stick to light weight clothes like t-shirts, linen/cotton pants, and shorts. If you plan on having an evening out, plan on bringing one nice outfit. In some cases, you might want to bring things you wouldn’t want to rent. For example, you might prefer to bring your own snorkeling equipment. Since you will be outside for a majority of your time, pack plenty of sunscreen, aloe, and anything to keep you moisturized. Sunglasses and sun hats will also be useful to have. Lastly, you should be mindful of water proofing some of your belongings. A waterproof phone case would be especially useful so you don’t need to worry about it becoming damaged while on vacation.
Prepare For the Boat Ride
Since you’ll be on an island, it’s likely you’ll encounter many boat rides. You may even need to take a boat to get to the island. Not everyone has spent a lot of time on boats, so you should be aware of how to prepare for a boat ride. On boats, it can get very windy. Make sure all of your belongings are secured so you don’t lose anything. You should also be mindful of what you’re wearing including hats and sunglasses. Even though you’re out on the water, it’s still important to stay hydrated. Bring water bottles with you, especially if it’ll be a longer boat ride. One of the most important things you should plan for is your reaction on the boat. If you’re prone to getting seasick, you should take a Dramamine tablet to reduce the effects. Doing so beforehand will allow more time for the Dramamine to kick in and you can feel more comfortable on the boat.
Research the Culture
In addition to determining what activities you should do, you also need to do research on the culture of your destination. This can include many different things. First, you should look into the language(s) spoken at your destination. This can help you know what to expect and whether or not you’ll find people who speak your same language. It’s also important to be aware of certain customs on the island(s) you will be visiting. For example, if you are traveling to Hawaii, you need to make yourself aware of traditions, customs, and expectations. In Hawaii, respect is very important. The locals expect you to be respectful of the land and the ocean while you are visiting. You also need to be respectful of the different aspects of their culture. One example of this is the Hula which is very sacred to them. Wherever you end up traveling, take some time to get to know the area and the people before you go. This way you can set yourself up for a more enjoyable trip and you can be considerate of the people who live there.
Get Your Travel Documents in Order
As a part of your packing, you need to remember all your travel documents. These documents need to be easily accessible, but you also need to keep them well protected. Some documents you will need include your passport, driver’s license, travel visa, and other forms of identification. It is also a good idea to make copies of your documents. This can be helpful in many situations. For example, you can create copies to go in each of your bags. If a bag is lost, you aren’t left without your documents. Additionally, the missing bag will have proof inside that it belongs to you. If the document itself is lost, a copy will help you still get around and get home. Some other documents to keep on hand include any travel insurance you have purchased as well as hard copies of your itinerary or tickets. Having hard copies can be useful in case there is no internet access and you can’t view them on your phone.
Check the Weather
When you see pictures of islands, it’s usually always sunny. Of course, that’s not always the case. Islands are subject to inclement weather just like any other destination. Before you leave on your trip, make sure you check the weather. Depending on how long you’ll be staying, looking at the upcoming week should give you a rough idea of what to plan for. Even if it says sunny, you should bring some rain gear just in case. It is better to be prepared. Islands can also experience serious storms or even hurricanes. While there is weather tracking, some storms can come up unexpectedly. It is a good idea to take some precautions in case you are caught in a storm while traveling. You should pack some essentials for emergencies. Having cash on hand will be helpful as well as batteries, flashlights, and even portable chargers to keep your phones charged. You might also want to bring a small first aid kit with you.
As mentioned, you want to be prepared for the sun since you will be spending a lot of time outside. It can’t be stressed enough that you need to bring plenty of sunscreen. You should also be aware of how often you need to reapply. As you get closer to the equator, you are more exposed to UV rays. Because of this, you need to be more vigilant and use high SPF sunscreen. You can also protect yourself from the sun with large hats, sunglasses, and coverups. While on the beach, you might want to use a beach umbrella to give your skin a break from the sun. Throughout your stay, you also need to drink lots of water. After your day in the sun, make sure you moisturize your skin well and continue to drink water.
In addition to sun protection, there are other things you should keep in mind. Since you’ll be outside, you should also consider getting some bug spray. This is especially important if you’ll be exploring more inland. You should also pack anything to treat bug bites as well as creams or ointments to reduce itching. Lastly, some islands will require or recommend you get certain vaccines before traveling. This just helps you stay protected from any diseases you may be exposed to while traveling.
Plan Out Your Travel Options
Once you get to your destination, you’ll need a way to get around. This is another area to research beforehand. In some cases, there will be shuttles or buses provided that will take you around the island. Make sure you are aware of the cost of these options. In some locations, you might have the option to rent a car. This may be a good idea if you are on a larger island and have many destinations to get to. Of course, there is also good old-fashioned walking. If you are on a smaller island, this may be a feasible option.
When you travel to islands, such as the Caribbean, you can try island hopping so you can see even more sights. There are many ways you can do this. Traditionally, many people will simply book a cruise so they can easily see everything and be comfortable while traveling. You can also hop islands on your own. There are plenty of boats and ferries that move between islands, and you can use these as you travel. Some islands can even be reached by plane. However, this should typically be used as a last resort. Flying between the islands isn’t the most environmentally conscious choice. Make sure you explore all other options before you decide on flying.
Traveling to an island can bring you many unique experiences. You can lounge on the beach, stay in luxury hotels, experience nature, visit a spa, and so much more. You want to make sure you do everything you can to have an enjoyable trip. This means that you need to do lots of planning. Take some time to learn about the island(s) you’ll be staying at and create a plan for what you will do. These factors will help you guide the rest of your decisions and then you can be prepared for a wonderful trip.
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