Blog Archives

Tag Archives: Travel Tips

Travel Tips: What to Expect at the Airport

Cheap Flights to the Caribbean - CheapCaribbean.com

Congratulations! You’ve just booked your first trip to the Caribbean. While you’re probably overly excited at the moment, you may also be wondering, “What happens next?”

Air travel can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time on a plane. You probably have a ton of questions about what goes down in an airport, but you may not be sure of where to look for answers. It’s ALWAYS better to be prepared, so we’ve gathered up a step-by-step list of what to expect at an airport.

  1. Pack Carefully - learn everything you need to know about packing for air travel (links to Packing for Air Travel article) before you head out to the airport.
  2. Timing Is Key – you won’t know where anything is, so give yourself plenty of time to make it from the airport parking lot, through long check-in and security lines, and to your gate on time. Nothing feels worse than missing your first flight.
  3. Keep Your Documentation On Hand – you’re going to be asked to present your passport and boarding pass multiple times, so you’ll need to find a way to keep them handy without risking losing them (a neck pouch usually does the trick).
  4. Head to the Check-In Desk – there are signs that guide you from the entry to your airline’s check-in area. But in case you need more detailed instructions of how to get to the check-in desk, feel free to ask attendants for help.
  5. Go Through Security – there’ll be plenty of signs to guide you along the process. Once you get to the screening machines, you’ll need to take your shoes and jacket off and place them in a plastic bin along with the plastic bags in which you’re carrying your 3-ounce liquids. If you have a laptop, you’ll need to place it in a bin by itself, outside of any case or carrying bag. Then you’ll place the bins on a conveyor belt so that they can be screened. An attendant will then ask you to step through the metal detector and once you’re cleared, you can pick your belongings up at the other end of the conveyor belt. There’ll be tables where you can place your bins if you need some time to get your shoes back on and put everything back where it belongs.
  6. Find Your Gate – look for your gate number on your boarding pass. If you can’t find it, just look for the electronic displays and find your flight and gate number there. Once you know your gate number, just follow the signs to get to your gate’s waiting area and then take a seat. Depending on how early you got to the airport, you might have to wait a while.
  7. Keep An Ear Out – important messages, like flight delays, will be announced over the PA system. Make sure you listen to what’s being said while you wait for your flight.
  8. Know Your Seat Number – once your flight is ready to board, a gate attendant will begin to call for boarding. Airlines usually board by row, so you’ll have to wait until your row is called. Once you’re in the plane, find your seat by checking the numbers above the rows.
  9. Know Where Your Carry-Ons Go – carry-on luggage can go in two places; large bags go in the overhead compartment and smaller bags go under the seat in front of you. Don’t close the overhead compartments, a flight attendant will come around and do that for you.
  10. Collect Your Checked Bags – once you land, exit the plane and follow signs leading you to baggage claim. Your flight number and departure city will be listed on electronic displays. Wait at the conveyor belt until you’ve collected your bags. If one is missing, talk to the airport staff.

Is there anything else you'd add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Roberto Jaimes is a Texas A&M graduate and a Web Content Editor at CheapCaribbean.com. Roberto can do a thing or two in Adobe Creative Suite and spends his free time watching/playing soccer and exploring Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Beach Bum 101: How to Ace Your Beach Vacation

So you want to be a beach bum. You want to laze the day away on a comfy lounger, letting your feet graze the soothing sand below while the sun warms your increasingly-more-golden skin. Sure, there are basic things we all know about going to the beach, like packing swimwear and inevitably getting sand everywhere (and we mean everywhere.) But, there are tips and tricks that separate the newb from the pro. It takes a few trips out onto the shore to get the experience and knowledge one needs to refer to him/herself as a beach bum.

Lucky for you, you’ve got a beach lover to show you the ropes. I started out young, a little 8-month-old thing eating sand with a side of juice off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A dozen or so trips to the Riviera Maya later, throw in some trips to Florida and California and a couple more to Punta Cana, and I’m not eating sand anymore (on purpose) but I do have some beach tips to share.

Tips for Beach Vacations - CheapCaribbean.com

For your own sake and mine, I’m skipping the obvious points today and digging in deeper:

Lesson 1: Pack like a pro

  • Don’t under any circumstances forget sunblock and insect repellant. Your resort’s shop will likely sell them to you but you won’t be happy about the price.
  • Sometimes resorts will serve your drinks in small plastic cups. And if you’re someone who needs quick refills, you may be better off taking your own insulated thermos for the beach staff to serve you in.
  • Low-key entertainment to heighten your beach lounging experience. Take a book, a crossword puzzle, your favorite jams, whatever’s enjoyable to you.
  • Pack some empty plastic bags in your suitcase. You can put your swimwear in them if they’re still damp when you check out.

Lesson 2: Prepare for tropical weather

  • On the day that you travel, dress in layers that you can take off as you deplane so you don’t sweat through too much clothing at customs.
  • A lightweight scarf triples as a way to keep you warm in transit, a blanket if you’re cold on the plane, and a cover-up on the beach or by the pool.
  • Keep your sunglasses in your carry-on so you can slide them on as soon as the sun greets your skin at the airport.

Lesson 3: Protect your bronzed bod

  • Recoat your sunblock every few hours, instead of just once in the morning. You’ll still get tan and you’ll protect your skin from burning.
  • Take aloe vera or a cooling lotion to soothe your skin at the end of the day. Just trust me.
  • While we all love to drink cocktails in the Caribbean, make sure to drink just as much water while you’re lounging. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re out in the sun all day and that’s the last thing you want on vacation.

There you have it! Your 10 tips from a seasoned beach goer should make you the Mary Poppins of beach bummin’ on your next trip to the Caribbean. So go show off your skills! And if you have any tips you'd add to this list, be sure to leave them in the comments below. Class is dismissed.

By Cristy Angulo

How to Live the Good Life at the Beach

Jimmy Buffett isn’t just known for singing a song or two about living life on the beach. He doesn’t just sing about “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville,” he genuinely lives the island life. That’s why, here at CheapCaribbean.com, we’re self-proclaimed “parrot heads” and talking you through ways you can live the good life on the beach this week.

Best beaches to relax on - CheapCaribbean.com

1. Pack the Perfect Bag.

First things first, to take on the beach the right way you’ve got to make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Packing the best beach bag is an absolute must and something you might want to take on before you hit the beach.

Start by asking around for the best beach reads and make sure to stock your iPod with tons of beach appropriate tunes. Some of our favorite beach songs include “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett (obviously), “Some Beach” by Blake Shelton and “One Love” by Bob Marley, for example. Our entire list of perfect beach songs can be found on our Beach Tunes playlist.

You’ll also want to make sure to include a solid sunscreen, a great pair of shades and flip flops, just to name a few things. A towel is important too, but if you’re staying at a fabulous all-inclusive resort as we suggest you do, these will usually be provided for you. You’ll just want to get with the front desk or concierge to confirm where beach towels can be located. An ice-cold beverage and great beach snacks are also important, but we’ll get to that later.

2. Find the Best Spot.

Now that you’ve got a bag full of all the essentials, the next step is to venture out to your destination’s beach and see what it’s made of! Don’t worry about bringing your own lounger, if you do the beach the right way, then a perfectly placed palapa or chair awaits with your name on it.

But you’ve got to decide what’s most important to you. Do you prefer to be closer to your resort so you can pop between the ocean and the pool? Do you need to be close to the water activities coordinator so you can plan what water sport you’re going to try next? Or are you simply looking for some good old-fashioned R&R and just need a great view and beach bar nearby? As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into the location of where you spend your day at the beach. The good news is – at the right beach, all of these options are available and ready.

3. Sample Some Beach Fare.

And of course, what could be more important than making sure you’ve got easy access to delicious grub and thirst-quenching sips? No matter how you plan on spending your days on the beach, you’ve got to stay hydrated and don’t want to go hungry.

We suggest trying something that’s local to the beach you’re at - mofongo in Puerto Rico or jerk chicken in Jamaica, for example. And when it comes to drinking, we’re big fans of a refreshing Mount Gay Rum mojito or Havana Lights Cocktail, made special at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. Sometimes the best experiences come from asking the locals or your resort staff for their favorites and trying their suggestions.

4. Find the Right Beach.

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle is finding the ideal beach to live the good life on. This is where the resort and all its amenities come into play. Here’s a few resorts that are home to some of the best beaches and make living the good life almost a given.

Live Aqua Cancun: Located right on the Cancun beach, this 5-star luxury all-inclusive is the perfect place to live the good life. There are eight infinity pools with beachfront views, plenty of beach loungers and even cabana beds that come with daily foot massages. And don't worry, there’s a full staff of cabana waiters bringing you your choice of food and beverage all day long.

Best Beach Resort - Live Aqua - Cheap Caribbean

Barcelo Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic: This adults-only luxury fortress is located right on Bavaro Beach, one of the Dominican Republic's best beaches. Barcelo Bavaro Beach is the perfect beach if you're looking to indulge and get in some quality rest & relaxation. You can also hang out at the Bahio pool after the beach and when nighttime falls, test out your dancing skills at Disco Bavaro.

Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic - Barcelo Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

Seven Stars Resort, Turks & Caicos: A stay at this resort and an afternoon on Grace Bay Beach is the epitome of living the good life at the beach. This resort rests upon TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Award for the top rated beach and promises nothing but luxe. We suggest grabbing a mojito from Sand Dollar bar, taking a dip in the heated saltwater pool and then head to claim your spot on the satin-like sands of Grace Bay Beach.

Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos - Seven Sands Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

So there you have it, folks. As you can see adopting a lifestyle of a permanent beach bum or "parrot head" couldn't be easier. Just a few simple steps and you're on your way to being a beach expert. What do you think? Did we leave anything out? Let us know how you'd live the good life at the beach in the comments below.