Updated: Feb 3
A place in the sun
I visited Antigua in October and spent two weeks in this amazing country I would love to one day call home. Here are my top 10 tips if you plan to visit.
1) Prepare an itinerary - Luckily I'm quite organized and find myself preparing an itinerary for every country I visit, especially if i'm traveling alone or with a small child. I wrote out a list of all the places I wanted to visit and 9/10 were achieved. The tenth thing on my itinerary was not achieved and that was only because I had run out of money! and that brings me to tip No.2
2) Bring MORE than enough money- (Especially if you have children) I booked an all inclusive hotel, but it's not everyday you fancy eating the hotel food. It's most likely you want to get out, eat in town and go out to dinner. Let alone all the trips and excursions you have planned and all this adds up! Always bring more money than you think you would need, as it's better to be safe than sorry. Yeah, you want to live life but don't take the pounds- to- dollar conversion for granted as things can quickly get very expensive, especially with the transport and excursions.
3) Live like a local - Do not make the same mistake I made at the beginning of my trip. I quickly learned not to do that again. Taking taxi like a typical tourist! I took taxi to the town, and taxi home which cost me $50, when I quickly learned the bus was $5 for both me an my son each way.. I was really pissed but I quickly learned from my mistake, and began taking bus everywhere- even an hour and a half away to Nelson's Dockyard for the amazing views.
4) Face your fears - Do something that you want to do but are a little afraid too. Ok so i'm not afraid of traveling alone, but I can't swim. I so badly wanted to do a Jet ski excursion but worried way to much about falling off into the sea and begging my 9 year old son to save me! I wish I had faced my fears and took the plunge (figuratively speaking!)
5) Find out about every country BEFORE you visit - This is a must. I do this every time I plan a trip. You must educate yourself about the country you are traveling to so that you are aware of rules in the country, respect you must pay, and laws you need to obey. The more you learn about the country, the more you appreciate and respect the culture. Without being paranoid or skeptical about anything, it will help you with what to do, what to avoid and advise you on how to stay safe.
6) Don't be afraid to make friends - A holiday is something you will remember for the rest of your life. I've never forgotten any of mine- considering I have a pretty bad memory. Making friends abroad is important. It brings out a real confidence in you, and helps you to enjoy your holiday just that tiny bit more.
7) Be safe - In every possible way you can think of. Remember you are a tourist. A visitor. A guest. Be safe, have respect and don't be too over-friendly, especially if you are traveling alone. Be kind but always be cautious. Inform friends and family of the hotel you are staying in, the hotel address and all flight details BEFORE leave your country to set off.
8) Bring Medication - Even if you are not sick, be 100% prepared. Think like a parent! Bring paracetmol, aloe vera gel, sun-cream, Vicks (rub), cough-sweets, Calpol (for kids), Citronella oil, Mosquito repellant and anything else you can think off! But of course, only take what you need if you get sick, flueey or you get a migraine! Unfortunately, I brought everything or so I thought, and ended up with a swollen ankle due to the allergic reaction of mosquito or sunflies bites. And yes, I know i'm allergic as this happens to me every time I get to the carribean, but I still forgot my allergy tablets. Better to over-pack then under-pack!
9) Use the countries local currency - Sometimes the locals will try to extort you in asking for U.S Dollars or Euros depending on where you are. For some reasons or the other, they believe they can make more with taking the U.S dollar/ Euro, but paying them in their local currency is easier for us to work out and stick to, rather than converting two currencies and making mistakes with the exchange rates. Change your money at the Bureau de change before you travel and don't leave it to change at the airport or a low paying post office. Be prepared...
10) Explore the country - Do Not lounge in the hotel for the entire duration of your trip. If you do this, you did not see the country, and you practically haven't been there! Hotels are for Bedtime, get out and about. Visit the city, the town, the attractions and the countries landmarks, as you never know when you will be back. Explore the country as much as possible, as a holiday is something you will remember forever.
BONUS TIP- If you are of a darker skin tone, Do not take sunscreen for granted. I thought I didn't need any, because my skin was very dark. Unfortunately, I came home with very painful sunburn on my back. Although I have always travelled without this, Antigua's sun, was scorching.