Preparing For the Plane: 9 Things to Do Before Heading to Antigua

By on October 1, 2015

By Claire Lovesti−

Catching rays is on my list for top ten things that I love most, and even though I’m not picky about where the sun’s coming from, there’s something special about Antigua that I just can’t put my finger on (though it probably has something to do with crystal clear waters, gorgeous beaches, pristine sand, gorgeous beaches, snorkeling, gorgeous beaches…you get my drift).

Whether you’ve already planned a cruise with Antigua as your final destination or you’re at the very beginning of turning your wanderlust into an actual vacation, take it from a frequent traveler like me and cross these off your to-do list before checking into your flight.

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  1. Feel the heat at travel hotspots

Hell’s gate, Devil’s bridge…where exactly did I decide to take a vacation, Dante’s Inferno? Though neither of these places is an actual hot spot—unless you count those equatorial sun rays—my sense of adventure was absolutely piqued by these hair-raising names and optimum-level photos ops. Just don’t forget the selfie-stick!

  1. Get over your fear

Take a dip with Stingray City and get comfy with stingray snuggles, because this excursion drop-off point is an area sporting more than 40 stingrays that you can pet, and feed, if you’re so inclined. The waist deep water is also kid-friendly so it’s a great spot for taking the ante up a notch from swimming with dolphins.

  1. Internationalize your phone with a local SIM card.

Want to beat those annoying international roaming charges? Think about how you’re going to be communicating before heading out of country and you can save yourself hassle and precious beach cocktail money.

The easiest thing to do while you’re traveling, especially if you’re going to be gone more than two days and don’t want to be tied to the wifi, is to get a local SIM card with cheap international rate. They’re cheap and readily available and they’ll save you thousands. Just make sure you unlock your phone before you head overseas otherwise all that local sim will do is rattle around in your wallet for a week.

  1. Research the local haunts.

Beach culture is the most vibrant around—they’ve made taking it easy a profitable business—and it’s one of my favorites to get the local take on.

So don’t settle for a travel book or a magazine, get out and ask the people you see in the street where to get the best mojito. Not only are you going to get widely different answers—and thereby lots and lots of options—but you might pick up a drinking buddy on the way. Just don’t forget your bar manners.

  1. Brush up on your nautical terminology.

Starboard side, mates! With everything in Antigua happening at the beach it’s a no-brainer that you’re going to need to know a little marine lingo. So before booking that two day excursion around the island, make sure you’re up to date on what’s up, what’s down, and what’s panic (just in case) so you’ll be completely above board before leaving the dock.

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  1. Get Scuba certified.

This one requires a lot of planning and a bit of extra cash but wouldn’t it be great to live like Jean Cousteau for a day.

I took a Scuba certification class back home over the course of a couple of months with my friends who were also planning on traveling to places where we could find Nemo and it was one of the best ideas we’ve ever had.

If you’re thinking of taking a friends vacation or just hanging on the beach with your bestie for a few weeks, why not start the vacation early and try a new hobby that you can do for the rest of your life?

  1. Exchange a little money and bring your ATM card.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that exchange rates suck. So how to beat the prices while you’re travelling abroad? Change a little money at your bank before leaving and pack your card.

Not only will changing money at your bank alert them you’ll be using your card abroad, it will also be the best exchange rate you can get. Ditto for the ATM card—you’re not going to be a better deal than from the automatic machines that don’t take commission and if you’re like me, you will sleep better at night knowing your entire vacation budget isn’t in your fanny pack.

  1. Prepare to always be in the sun.

With jaw-dropping beautiful beaches literally all around Antigua, count on never being dry as soon as the jet’s wheels drop down on the tarmac. From Half Moon Bay to Darkwood Beach, the top 10 things to do in Antigua are all at the beach so there’s no getting around being teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini ready.

But how to prepare? Get in the holiday mood early and head to the spa before heading to the beach. Exfoliate, wax, moisturize and settle into your chilled-out, vacation glow before even packing your back. You’ll thank me later.

  1. Book a spin around the island in high speed

There’s really only one right way to see Antigua; and that’s from the water. Part-history lesson and part rollercoaster water ride, the Thriller High Speed tour with Thriller Tours Antigua takes to remote beaches from Deep Bluff to Curtain Bay.

Want to take a breather while on your 2 and a half hour speed cruise? Ask to stop by a deserted beach for a swim and have a round of the complimentary Rum Punch—does it feel like vacation yet?

If it’s your first time in Antigua, you’re in for a wild ride, and if you’re a veteran like me, I think you’re in for an even better time, because isn’t it true that things just get better with time? Either way, a great vacation is a great vacation so share your adventures or travel tips below!

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Preparing For the Plane: 9 Things to Do Before Heading to Antigua