10 Things You Need to Know About Visiting The Bahamas
Posted by: Nassau Paradise Island on October 22, 2014
Getting to The Bahamas is easy! You can book a non-stop flight to The Bahamas from many major cities in the United States and Canada. We’re less than three hours from New York City, just over three hours from Chicago, and less than an hour from Miami. No matter where you are, you’re never far from Paradise.
When traveling internationally, it’s always good to plan ahead and make sure you’ve got the right forms of identification, the proper currency, and the appropriate paperwork on hand to avoid any surprises at the customs desk or during check-in. Here are 10 things you need to know before joining us in Nassau Paradise Island:
1. Bring a passport that’s valid for at least six months after travel. Generally, US passport processing takes four to six weeks, so if you don’t have a passport or it’s expired, make sure you give yourself enough time to obtain one before your departure date.
2. The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar – no need to exchange currency! However, if you’re visiting from outside the US, plan to take some time at the airport for currency exchange. Visa, Mastercard, and most debit cards are also widely accepted throughout Nassau Paradise Island, as well as travelers’ cheques. Banks in The Bahamas are open Monday-Thursday from 9:30-3:00 and on Fridays 9:30-5:00.
3. Don’t forget to bring proof of your return ticket. You may be required to show proof that you will be returning home, so make sure you’re prepared to show your return plane ticket when entering The Bahamas. (Yes, you do need to go home…eventually.)
4. Don’t worry about electronics. If you’re traveling from North America, your electronics will plug into our outlets, so there’s no need to pack adapters.
5. Be aware of customs limits. Travelers from the US can take home up to $800 of duty-free goods if they’ve been in The Bahamas for 48 hours or more. Those who are here for less than 48 hours can take home up to $200 in purchases.
6. Gratuities are usually included. Restaurant and bar bills in The Bahamas have a 15% gratuity added so you don’t need to leave a tip, unless the service was exceptional and you’d like to leave something extra.
7. Set your watch to Eastern Standard Time. All of The Bahamas operates on EST and observes Daylight Savings Time.
8. English is spoken everywhere in The Bahamas. No Rosetta Stone required – you’ll be able to communicate with everyone!
9. Stay left! Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road in The Bahamas, which can be a tricky adjustment for North American drivers. Consider cabs or car service rather than renting cars or scooters to avoid unfamiliar driving practices.
10. Nassau Paradise Island provides pre-clearance for US Customs and Immigration Services. This means passengers on departing flights to the US are able to enter the United States and bypass the US Customs and Immigration clearance normally encountered on most returns from an international destination.
Visitors love coming to The Bahamas because everything is so easy: English is spoken, there are no complicated currency exchanges, and the people are friendly and welcoming. Getting here is nearly as easy and familiar as simply visiting another state or province, but our culture and climate make it exotic and exciting.
Check out current travel deals or view our electronic visitors’ guide now to start planning your dream vacation! Bookmark our Travel Tips & What You Need To Know page for additional information about visiting The Bahamas.