You’ve worked hard all year. Toiling away at your job, scrimping, saving, and the time has finally arrived for your tropical island vacation. You’ll have island views everywhere you go as you enjoy sand and surf, boat rides, delicious food, and sites galore. You’ve planned your itinerary and packed your swimsuit and shades; that should be it, right? Not exactly.
When traveling to any tropical island (especially one outside the United States), you must know about it. Start by researching your destination carefully. Look into the local laws and customs. Make sure you’re aware of the water situation. Be able to communicate a bit in the island’s native language. These are all important details to ensure your safety and for building bridges across cultures. In this blog, we will provide tips on thoroughly enjoying your well-deserved trip with island views.
1. Take Care on Boats
Few activities are better during a tropical vacation than a boat ride or cruise. You’ll be treated to the best island views as you take in the ocean air. Most islands offer group charters as well as private rentals. Sailboats, fishing vessels, catamarans, and even yachts are available for travelers.
But care should be taken to ensure your safety. Before you book your day on the water, research the safety record of the company and read the reviews. Companies with good safety records will make it part of their advertising. If you’re renting a boat, a safety kit must be on board, including a flashlight, flares, rope, first aid kit, whistle, bucket, and fire extinguisher.
Check the weather before departing; wind and choppy water may indicate a storm is brewing. Even if you’re a good swimmer, have a life jacket on hand at all times. Most of all, use common sense while you’re sailing around the island.
Don’t overconsume alcohol, maintain safe speeds, don’t engage in horseplay, and follow all the rules outlined by the captain and crew. Boats can be slippery, so wear rubber-bottomed shoes. One slip on the boat’s hard surface, and you may be calling a back injury attorney.
2. Find a Good Inn
One of the most crucial parts of planning your trip with the great island views is obtaining safe, quality accommodations. You may prefer a large hotel in a resort area. Hotels are great if you want a luxury experience with all the amenities. But if you’re looking for more of an authentic experience, a quaint inn is always an option.
A good inn is smaller, often family-owned, and more personal. Many inns will be right on the beach and have a lot of flora and fauna to enjoy. It’s important to remember that most smaller inns don’t enjoy the same revenue as well-known hotel chains, so you should research them carefully for upkeep.
If the online photos show the rooms need a good cleaning or the outside looks like it needs paint and roofing repairs, move on to the next one. Also, check to see if the inn has what you require, like Wi-Fi, a pool, room service, and cable. Some inns are pretty rustic, so don’t get caught off guard; know what they offer before you book.
3. Respect Local Laws
It’s easy to forget when you’re enjoying the beauty and excitement of a vacation with awesome island views that you’re in a foreign country. That means the laws may not correspond with what you’re used to in your home country. It’s vital to research the laws of the country and local areas. The last thing you want is to require a criminal law lawyer while on vacation.
You should also consider yourself a diplomat and bring goodwill from your home country, not the impression that it’s full of disrespectful people who don’t obey the law. When enjoying the culture of an island nation, you need to respect that what’s legal in one place may not be permitted there. Remember that the punishments may be more severe, and the fact you didn’t know is no excuse.
Be careful with medication; even with a prescription, some medicines are illegal to possess in certain countries. Do not under any circumstances, attempt to bring or buy illegal drugs to an island. Contrary to popular belief, it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in Jamaica. In the Caribbean, it’s illegal to swear. Rapper 50 Cent was arrested in St. Kitts over his flowery language.
In Grenada, don’t wear a swimsuit outside the beach or pool unless you want a hefty fine. Since the 1980s, wearing camouflage designs has been illegal on many islands since criminals would disguise themselves as soldiers. These are just a few examples of laws we may take for granted so you can see why research is essential.
4. Look Into Local Customs
While researching the laws of your island destination, please look at their local customs, too. Respecting the local people and their land is just as important as following their laws. Keep in mind that you are a guest. Look at it like this: you may not take your shoes off in your house, but if you visit the home of a friend who does, you hopefully respect their rule and remove your footwear.
Most Island residents are amiable and hospitable unless they feel disrespected; then, you may be shunned. While you won’t need an attorney in these cases, you could be denied access to things. Be mindful of things like dress codes, greetings, and eating practices. Learn some of the native languages of the country. You’re not being a corny tourist by doing this. Most people appreciate the effort and take it as a sign of respect.
If you happen to be going to the Bahamas, look people in the eye and finish everything on your plate. Understand that the local people enjoy self-deprecating humor. This form of entertainment is not meant to be offensive but rather a way of remaining humble, which is a big part of the culture there.
5. Take Photos of Interesting Sights
There’s no better way to keep those island views alive long after your vacation than to take a lot of photos while you’re there. Take care to protect your gear. Investing in a waterproof phone case and cover is an excellent place to start. While shooting all the fantastic island views and landmarks, here are a few tips to remember.
Take photos with your back to the sun. This will prevent dark pictures. Consider using filters when near the water to reduce glare. Remember the Golden Hour, the time right before sunset, when you’ll get a warm and flattering glow for family photos. Include photos of unique items like wildlife, flowers, cuisine, car graphics, transportation, and architecture.
6. Carefully Consider Water Sources
Many tropical islands have water sources and treatment practices that differ from your home country. Great care should be taken when drinking the water while on vacation. This is not to say that the water is dirty. Still, visitors are often not used to the water and haven’t built up an immunity to the specific bacteria and parasites that might exist in the water supply.
This can happen in any country and even within your own. If you’ve ever traveled to a different area of your land, you may notice a distinct difference in the taste or quality of the water. So, as a general rule, it’s best to drink, cook, and brush your teeth with bottled water. Don’t forget to order drinks without ice and ask if tap water was used to make them.
Another water-related issue to consider is when using toilet paper in the bathroom. Many countries have septic and sewer systems very different from what you may be used to. Frequently, islands don’t have the infrastructure to sustain or update quality pipes. The act of flushing toilet paper is prohibited in many places. Many public bathrooms will have signs telling you to throw the paper away in the trash rather than flush it.
Other places may not provide toilet paper at all. Be aware before traveling if you need to pack some Charmin. If you’re staying in a high-end hotel, chances are you won’t need to do this, but be aware that this is a problem for the country and behave accordingly.
7. Respect the Environment
It should go without saying that we need to respect the environment wherever we are, but it’s imperative when traveling. Local residents go to great lengths to maintain the beautiful island views for guests. So we all need to honor that work, and it’s home to a lot of wildlife and unique greenery that depends on a balanced ecosystem.
Some things you can do to help include conserving water, disposing of waste according to the island’s rules, walking whenever possible, and helping out if you can. Volunteering a half day of your vacation can be great for your soul. It can also go a long way in building cultural bridges.
It could be as easy as helping to pick up trash or do some scrap metal recycling and donate the money. In essence, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want visitors doing in your hometown. As a guest, do your part to help keep the area environmentally sound for others to enjoy for years to come.
8. Keep Cool
Before traveling to your island paradise, check the weather. Tropical climates are typically hot and humid. They’re also closer to the equator, so the sun will be much stronger.
You’ll need to pack accordingly for your trip, including lots of sunscreen, hats, and, sunglasses. Other tips for keeping cool during your journey with island views include wearing light-colored loose clothing, don’t wear sneakers or leather shoes unless you have to, and stay hydrated. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol and caffeine before going out for the day.
Check the air conditioning and windows as soon as you check into your room. If the unit requires AC repair, call the front desk immediately. If there’s no air conditioning, keep the fans on and the windows open.
9. Have an Energy Source
It might not be the first thing you think of when planning your tropical vacation, but having the proper (and alternative) energy sources is vital when visiting the tropics. If you’re unprepared, those lovely island views can soon turn dark and dismal. First, check to see if you’ll need adapters for your electronics. Many countries have electrical and outlet systems that differ from yours.
Bring along some batteries and a flashlight. Islands are prone to unexpected storms and power outages, so it is better to be safe. Then, check with the hotel and see their energy source in an emergency. Do they have generators, propane for cooking, or solar resources? If you happen to be staying in a private rental home, it’s essential to know where the fuse box is, if the grill uses propane or charcoal, and if you need to provide that.
10. Eat at Local Restaurants
No vacation would be complete without partaking in local cuisine. Most tropical locales have some of the best food on the planet. From freshly caught seafood and exotic fruits, the spicy dishes are loaded with flavors never before tasted.
The combinations of meats will have your mouth watering, as will the healthy vegetarian options. From the barbecue to tasty sauces, you’re in for a treat when visiting local restaurants. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous in your food choices. Vacation is all about new experiences; food should be no exception.
Enjoy your food while taking in the local culture, island views, and the warmth of the people who are graciously preparing and serving your meals. One serious tip is to learn some food-related words or have a translation app on your phone. It’s crucial if you have allergies to be able to read signage, menus and communicate your needs. Otherwise, enjoy the fantastic food and take plenty of pictures to show your friends.
Traveling to a destination with island views can be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many people. It’s exciting, fun, and full of new experiences. Following the tips presented here can help maximize your enjoyment and make it a trio you’ll remember forever.