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Until Next Time - leaving Trinidad & Tobago
 

Travel Essentials

Passports

Passport must be valid for a minimum of three months after your proposed visit. You may be asked to prove that you have a return or onward travel ticket, or the means to purchase such travel and you will also be asked for a fixed address for the period of your stay.

Visa Requirements

Citizens from Caribbean CARICOM countries do not require visas for entry to Tobago. There are varying requirements for citizens of other countries, but the following list summarises current requirements. As a general guide, citizens of most countries do not require visas for stays on Tobago of up to 90 days.

  • EEC Countries: Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom
  • Commonwealth Countries: All - except Australia, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda
  • USA: On vacation for 3 months or less.
  • Other: Austria, Brazil, Colombia, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Finland (3 months or less), Israel, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Suriname, Sweden (3 months or less), Switzerland, Turkey, Venezuela (14 days or less)

Further Information: A full list of visa requirements can be downloaded here. For detailed information and/or to confirm or clarify the above informaiton, please visit www.immigration.gov.tt. This site also contains a full list of Trinidad & Tobago consulates and embassies is available.

Health Requirements

No vaccinations are necessary, unless you are arriving from a Yellow Fever infected area when an International Certificate of Vaccination against the disease will be required. Although not a T&T compulsory requirement, some advisory bodies recommend that you have an inoculation for Hepatitis A.

Insect protection is strongly recommended, even essential. There is a small risk of dengue fever, as in all tropical destinations. Cases of zika virus have been reported, so pregnant women should take further advice before visiting the island.

Medical facilities on Tobago are limited and treatment of anything complex may require transfer to Trinidad, where there are much better state and private medical facilities. Proof of ability to pay may be required before treatment is given. Medical insurance with provision for evacuation is advised.

Driving Licence

Don't forget to take a valid national driving licence if you intend to hire a vehicle. If your stay is for more than 90 days, you must apply for a local driving permit.

Official Advisory Sites

Please see the following websites for information on travel to Trinidad & Tobago:

Wherever you choose to stay, you'll find a few pairs of plain cotton trousers (linen's good, too) and a blouse or smart top for each evening more than sufficient. Shorts are ideal for day wear. Good manners dictate that you should cover up with shorts and a shirt, or a sarong, when walking through the hotel. And skirts are good, too, though trousers offer more protection from those pesky mossies.

Although there's nothing formal about Tobago, the upscale hotels will expect you respect their "smart casual" dress code. This does NOT include jeans (even Gucci), shorts of any length, t-shirts or other collarless shirts, or open-toed sandals. If you choose to break the dress code, you may find that you are refused admission, or more likely given a table in a dark corner and ignored for the rest of the evening.

It's probably not worth packing very smart stuff. That little black dress might even make you feel out of place. Better to dress your outfits up with jewellery if you're eating at a 'smart' restaurant. If you are out and about and haven't got a reservation to eat at one of the more expensive restaurants, anything really dressy, short or revealing will draw attention.

Remember that whilst you might feel a touch chilly on the plane, the heat will hit you like a wall when you leave the plane in Tobago. Pack shorts and a T-shirt, or something light and comfortable, in your hand luggage to prepare for this. Likewise, travellers returning to Europe or North America should have a jacket or long-sleeved top and trousers to hand.

What you can buy depends on how near you are to a supermarket. If you are in the south-west of the island you will be close to the main mall and supermarkets. However, if you are headed up the island to Castara, Speyside or Charlotteville, you need to be more prepared.

As long as you are not committed to specific brands, you will find that items like moisturiser, batteries, razors, sanitary towels, shampoo and conditioner, analgesics, washing powder and conditioner and mosquito repellent are readily available on Tobago. However, we would recommend adding all the following on your list of items to pack:

  • Make-up
  • Perfume
  • Sunscreen - do not rely on buying good brands of sun cream or sunblock on the island if you are of fair complextion
  • Hair products - as with sunscreen, you are advised to bring adequate hair product supplies
  • Shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Mosquito repellent – although there are some good local brands.
  • Sun hat
  • Shoes including trainers for trips around the island and/or rainforest tours
  • A small purse-bag that can hang round your neck and tuck in if need be. You should never carry passport and credit cards or more than US$50/£40 or equivalent with you, so a small purse is ideal. Failing that, wear trousers with pockets
  • All the clothes you'll need
  • Magazines/Books
  • Beach towels, unless staying at one of the larger hotels that provide them

What you won't need:

  • Heels - leave your Jimmy Choos at home
  • Strappy sandals/delicate court shoes - apart from in the luxury hotels you'll be pushed to find an occasion on which to wear them
  • Mini skirts - smart trousers and jeans are more practical and less likely to draw unwanted attention
  • Hair straighteners - the humidity makes these almost useless; step out of your room and your hair will do its own thing again so just go with the flow, tie it back or use lots of product to keep the frizz at bay

Other things to bear in mind:

Topless sunbathing is not only highly frowned upon on this very religious island, it is also against the law. Please respect local feelings and laws.

When we go abroad for our holidays, we are only concerned with having a good time. The last thing on our mind is 'What will happen if I am ill?' or 'What if my luggage ends up in Iceland and I'm in Tobago?' Thankfully, most holidays pass without such incidents, but, as we all know, things can, and do, go wrong. There's nothing you can do to avoid fate, but there is a precaution that you can take to minimise the effects of Sod's law. So, here are a few golden rules on the enthralling subject of travel insurance.

The Golden Rule is not to travel abroad without adequate travel insurance. The risks covered, such as loss of luggage, delay, personal liability and of course medical assistance, are the kinds of occurrence guaranteed to ruin any holiday. The pain is just that little bit more bearable if you have cover and can claim some monetary recompense.

Don't Skimp on the Cover. The cheapest (sometimes free) policies offer basic cover only and seldom extend to areas such as the Caribbean. Numerous exclusions and sky-high excesses sometimes make these policies not worth the paper they are written on. If you are buying your cover through a broker (including travel agents or your flight agent) tell them that you want WORLD-WIDE cover and a comprehensive range of benefits. Perhaps the most essential risk is the medical expenses section. If you suffer a heart attack, a stroke or have a serious accident it will cost many thousands of pounds to get you home again. In severe cases, an air ambulance may need to be chartered to repatriate you. Charter flights will not carry anyone who poses a potential lawsuit to them. You may need to be flown to the USA for treatment. Can you afford the bills? The most expensive isn't always the best either, but you generally get what you pay for with travel insurance. Stick with the well-known companies. You have less risk of having a VALID claim rejected and will have less hassle sorting things out.

Don't Leave it until the last minute. An invaluable component of travel insurance policies includes cancellation due to illness, injury or bereavement. If you book your flights or package holiday in March but aren't travelling until August, anything could happen in the following six months, which might force you to cancel. If you have no insurance in place, you could not only lose your deposit, but be liable for the balance as well. Ouch!

Be Warned. Most travel insurance policies do not cover injuries, illness or death sustained whilst participating in 'dangerous' sports. Bungee jumping is out, as is free-fall parachute diving, although travellers to Tobago shouldn't worry too much about that. Diving (not snorkelling), horse riding and water skiing are all likely to be excluded sports. Surfing, including wind and kite surfing, and mountain biking may be excluded from certain policies. If you are likely to be participating in, or are arranging your holiday around any of these sports, check with your insurance company BEFORE you go.

Check annual policies before departure. If you have a policy offering 'family cover', these often only include children up to the age of 18. If your kids are now at or above this age, they may need to seek cover independently. Notify your insurer if you have suffered any deterioration in health e.g. if you've had a heart attack, since you took the policy out. If you haven't told them, they are likely to reject a claim if you have another attack whilst on holiday. This would be a perfectly valid reason for rejection of a claim as you have withheld a material fact, which should have been disclosed and may have resulted in an increase in premium at renewal. The same goes for the more 'mature' traveller. Many insurers charge additional premiums for the over 65's. Don't be tempted to fib about your age to get a lower premium (as if you would). Any claim could be deemed invalid; once the insurance company suss that you are not as young as you thought you were (based on your medical records or copy of your passport). At the very least, the claim won't be honoured, at worst; you could find yourself in trouble for fraud.

Read your policy before departure. Ensure that you are familiar with what is and what is not covered. I know it's boring, but it can save time and confusion and you should know what to do in the event of an insured incident e.g. if your camera is stolen, report its theft to the local police and obtain a crime report receipt. Most insurance companies will, naturally, require you to comply with their procedures before they will cough up. Retain any receipts for medical care or replacement of baggage or personal effects. If your plane is delayed or your baggage is lost, get confirmation from your carrier in writing to substantiate your claim. If you are part of a package trip, get the local rep to write a report.

Don't leave home without it. Take your policy document, or a photocopy, on holiday with you. In an emergency, it will tell you what you should do and how to ensure that any claim can be met. It will tell you who to contact for assistance and the limits for replacements of delayed or lost luggage or alternative accommodation if your flight is delayed or cancelled. This way you will be able to make any of these unfortunate, but all too common problems, tolerable.

Enjoy your holiday, safe in the knowledge that, if you are unlucky enough to require assistance, your insurance company have contracted to come to your rescue - but only for those risks that they have agreed to insure against.