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Beyond passport requirements, the weather forecast and how they’ll get from the airport to the resort, there are other things your clients should know before they set off on their dream Caribbean vacation. As someone who’s lived in the region for several years, I’ve seen so many visitors make rookie mistakes that can potentially ruin their trip. So here are my “rules” to ponder while packing.

  1. Nix The Camouflage Clothing Did you know that it’s illegal in some Caribbean countries for civilians to wear camouflage. Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica are among about a dozen countries where you may be turned away at the airport if you arrive in camo-print gear. My advice: Wherever you’re headed, err on the side of caution and leave the camo at home.

    River tubing in Grenada.
  2. Leave The Resort There’s a rich and vibrant culture beyond the hotel gates, but you’ll never know it if you never leave the beach! Whether you take a guided tour or explore independently, it is well worth spending at least an afternoon discovering your home away from home. The beach will be there when you get back!
  3. Say Hello In the Caribbean, we always offer someone a greeting (hello, hi, good morning) before we make a request. So whether you’re asking a stranger for directions, ordering at a roadside stall or entering a shop, acknowledging them beforehand is expected and appreciated.

    The always lovely Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, aka JetSetSarah, knows a thing or two about the do’s and don’ts while vacationing in the Caribbean.
  4. Ask Before You Snap ­If you’d like to snap a photo of the vendor with the tray of colorful mangoes or a group of uniformed school children, always ask permission first. Not only is it rude and inconsiderate, it’s also intrusive—particularly where children are concerned. If in doubt, ask yourself: Would you like it if the tables were turned? Then act accordingly.
  5. Try Local It’s said that the cultures of the world meet around the table, and I firmly believe that eating (and drinking) local is one of the easiest ways to connect to the people and culture of your destination. So go ahead and try a callaloo patty in Jamaica; sample some iguana soup in Curaçao; buy a bottle of Bonaire’s cactus liqueur. You just might like it!
  6. Put Down The “Rasta Cap” Where do I begin?! Those knitted caps with the faux dreadlocks are, at best, incredibly unstylish and at worst, a flagrant display of cultural appropriation. You can do so much better! Instead, spend your money on made-in-the-destination mementoes such as rum, art, wood carvings or local liqueurs.

    Biking in the rainforest in Saint Lucia.
  7. Go Back The Caribbean is an incredibly diverse region, and there’s always something new to see and do. Discover a new island (Bequia, anyone?); learn to dive in the destination where SCUBA was invented (Grand Cayman); delve deeper into a place you only saw for a few traffic-filled hours on a cruise stop (looking at you, St. Maarten!). In the Caribbean, there’s always a reason to return.

For more Caribbean delights, a la JetSetSarah, click here.