5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Cuba

Since the United States relaxed the travel ban to Cuba, there has been a surge in tourists who want to visit the country. People are curious about what the island nation has to offer. They want to see the beautiful sights, visit the picturesque beaches and take part in the vibrant culture.

While a trip to Cuba is sure to be one that you won’t forget, it’s important that you educate yourself about visiting the country before you actually plan a trip. Why? – Because Cuba is not like any other country you may have visited before. Though travel is now allowed, there are rules that still exist. Also, it is important to have an understanding of the culture and the country is like so that you can have a real understanding of what to expect.

If you a vacation to Cuba is one that you hope will be in your future, here is a look at 5 very important things that you are going to want to know before you plan your trip.

Embargo Has Not Been Lifted

Though former President Obama did lift travel restrictions, allowing American citizens to travel to Cuba, many are unaware that the embargo does still exist. What does this mean? – It means that technically, the United States law still does prohibit American citizens from traveling to the island nation for tourist-related reasons. In other words, if you are planning a trip to Cuba to simply sit on the beaches and soak up the culture, you won’t be allowed to travel. In order to travel to the country, you have to be able to verifiably declare that your trip is for one of the 12 reasons that have been approved by the US Department of Treasury. Additionally, you will have to acquire a visa before you go, and again, in order to do so, you will have to certify that your reason for traveling fits into one of the 12 approved reasons issued by the US Treasury Department. While this may sound like a pain, it’s actually pretty straightforward; you just have to fill out a form at the airport and pay a fee for your Cuban visa.

The issue with embargo is that American citizens are not allowed to legally make any financial transactions in Cuba. And, even if transactions were legal to make, American debit, credit and ATM cards don’t work there (so make sure you bring plenty of cash.)

  1. You should purchase travel insurance. Before you go on any trip, purchasing travel insurance is always a wise idea; however, before you travel to Cuba, it is particularly important to make sure that you have coverage. Since traveling to the country has only been allowed recently, there is a greater chance that something could happen that would impact your trip. For example, your trip might be canceled, and without travel insurance, you will end up having to pay for the trip, despite not being able to go. With coverage, should something happen, like a cancellation, the money that you invested will be reimbursed.
  2. Using the bathroom is a different experience. In the United States, using the bathroom is a pretty straightforward process that is pretty much the same in every part of the country. However, in Cuba, using the bathroom is a bit different. While there are toilets, toilet seats are not common; in fact, they are considered a luxury. Also, toilet paper is rare in some locations, which means that it may be rationed out to you, if it is available at all. As such, bringing your own tissue or wipes is a wise idea.
  3. You’ll be disconnected. In the US, being connected is so commonplace; you can easily check Facebook or Snapchat whenever you like; however, in Cuba, being connected isn’t as common. WiFi isn’t readily available, and while you can buy a government issued WiFi card, which will grant you an hour of access, connection is limited to specific public hotspots, so you will need to make sure that you are in those locations when you want to connect. Take this as a time to enjoy being disconnected for a while; it will be good for you!
  4. Always be aware. Unfortunately, there are a lot of con-artists lurking in Cuba. These people are very aware that Americans are drawn into the mystery of the island, and they are looking to cash in on it. Make sure that you are always on the lookout for these con-artists. They may offer to sell you one-of-a-kind artifacts, which are nothing more than trash, and will walk away with your money. Or, they may simply walk up to you and swipe your purse or wallet.

A trip to Cuba will be an amazing adventure, so long as you are aware of what to expect when you are traveling to the country.

Backpacking Milan

London, England: The City’s Best Spots for Backpackers

Many people have the misconception that London, England is a busy city, which is overwhelming by vehicles and pedestrians. While this might be true, within some of the city’s areas, this isn’t the case, with others. In fact, it is possible to find some very secluded locations throughout the city, when backpacking. Once you’ve packed an adequate supply, you’ll want to set out and explore the city, while traveling on foot. Within this guide, you will discover the top 10 spots in the city for backpackers. Backpackers typically stay in hostels and truth be told that there are some really interesting hostels in London.

The British National Museum

Although this one might be well known, it is still definitely worth a visit. The museum is a wonderful option, since it can be accessed for free. Inside, you will find a wide range of different artifacts, which date back far into history.

Free Art Galleries

If you’re interested in saving money, during your trip, you’ll want to check out the free art galleries, such as the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. Obviously, the Tate Modern is jammed full of modern works of art, but this shouldn’t stop you from checking out these amazing pieces, since it offers free admission.

The Green Park

If you find yourself near the Buckingham Palace, you’ll want to turn around and check out the Green Park. There is plenty to like about this beautiful park. If you’ve got a camera, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to show off your skills.

Purchasing from the Markets

Although you won’t be able to purchase big items, you should still pick up a souvenir, in order to remember your journey. In order to do this, you will want to check out one of the city’s markets, whether it is the Camden Market or the Petticoat Lane Market.

Explore the Waterfront

London’s waterfront offers plenty of excellent opportunities for backpackers. Obviously, it is a good choice for people, who wish to watch others. On the other hand, there are some excellent waterscapes to explore from here.

The Tower of London

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to pull off the greatest heist of all time? Don’t even think about it. However, you should still check out the Tower of London, which is home to the infamous Crown Jewels.

The Hylands House

If you’re looking to explore some excellent architecture, you will want to check out the amazing Hylands House, which is located near Essex. The house is three hundred years old and is surrounded by a massive and beautiful landscape.

Flamingo Land

Are you up for a little fun and excitement, while exploring London? If you’re feeling a little bit childish, you should definitely check out the Flamingo Land theme park. You’ll be able to observe landscapes, while enjoying plenty of fun rides.

Stonehenge

What exactly is Stonehenge? Quite honestly, nobody really knows, but nobody really seems to care and you shouldn’t either. Instead, you should head there and check it out, since it is one of the more unique places in all of Britain.

Take a Windermere Boat Cruise

Last, but not least, you should consider checking out the amazing Lake Windermere. You may even want to take a ride on one of the boats. Either way, this is a very peaceful location, where you’ll be able to relax and clear your head.