First published in the “Summer in Haiti Vol. 1′ 2015 digital edition
Haiti is gaining popularity as a tourist destination, and if you are considering taking a summer vacation to this little gem in the Caribbean, here are some tips and tricks that will make your trip smooth and stress-free.
Before You Go
- Know what you want to do. Before you book your trip to Haiti, ask yourself what you want to do while you are there. If you prefer a Haitian resort experience, then you may want to head to La Côte des Arcadins, where you can enjoy the beaches and water sports. On the other hand, if you would like to learn more about the Haitian culture, then you may enjoy checking out the French colonial era architecture and colorful carnival in the city of Jacmel.
- Hunt for the best deal. Check out all the hotels and resorts listed on HaitiOpen.com to see if they offer any discounted rates. Many hotels offer early bird specials for guests who book in advance. Even if you don’t see any advertised discounts on the hotel/resort listing page, you can contact each hotel and resort to see if they can offer you a deal if you stay multiple nights.
“If you are not already a member of HaitiOpen.com, join now and start collecting OpenExperience Points. You can redeem these points for discounts on hotels, resorts, restaurants, and attractions.”
- Budget your activities. If you already know which attractions you’ll be visiting, you can check out their prices and opening hours in advance. If you can’t find the info online, contact your hotel or resort and they can usually help you out. If there are activities that you want to participate in, you may book in advance as sometimes you can get a better rate if you pre-book them. In addition, if you plan to use your credit cards on your trip, make sure that they are accepted.
- Charge your electronic devices. If you plan to travel with your electronic devices, including your cell phone, tablet, laptop computer, or camera, charge them beforehand. If you have an extra battery for your camera, bring it.
- Share your plan. Share your travel plan to Haiti with someone at home and make sure that they have a way to contact you in case of emergency.
- Arrange for transportation. If you’ve never been to Haiti before and don’t speak the language, it is best for you to arrange for airport pickup. Most resorts and hotels in Haiti can pick you up at the airport for a fee. If you are a bit more adventurous and would like to have your own transportation while you are in Haiti, you can rent a car at the airport. You can find car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget at the airport. Don’t forget to provide the car rental company with your OpenExperience Points voucher from your HaitiOpen.com for discounts.
- Wait in the airport. If your hotel is picking you up at the airport, wait at the designated area in the airport until your driver arrives.
While You Are There
- Check in at the hotel. When you check in at the hotel, ask about additional fees on top of your room rate. Some hotels may charge extra for amenities such as Wi-Fi, telephone calls, bottled water, and snacks. Make sure that you know about all the fees or you may be surprised when you receive your bill. You may be able to negotiate with the hotel to waive some of the fees if you stay for multiple nights. Check the hotel’s loyalty program, and you can use your OpenExperience Points vouchers for discounts.
- Check in with people at home. Once you have checked in at your hotel, it’s time to check in with your friends and family at home. Let them know that you are safe.
- Exchange for local currency. It’s always handy to have local currency with you, and most hotels offer currency exchange service. It’s also a good idea to ask your hotel about places where you can exchange money safely in case you run out of local currency while you’re out.
- Tip like a pro. When people provide you with good services, don’t forget to tip them. A simple gesture of appreciation can make someone’s day.
“Enjoy your stay. Go ahead and enjoy your activities as planned”
- Enjoy your stay. Go ahead and enjoy your activities as planned. If you want to take part in an unplanned activity, check with your hotel to make sure that it is safe. Also, let your family back home know about the change in itinerary.
- Leave reviews on HaitiOpen.com. Your reviews will help other travelers have a better experience when visiting Haiti.