Getting here is easy. There are several major airlines that fly regularly scheduled service into Barbados from North America, Europe and South America. The two major airlines that come to Barbados from the United States are American Airlines and British West Indies Airlines (BWIA International).
Primary departure points are New York, Miami and Puerto Rico. Air Canada and BWIA fly from Montreal and Toronto, and BWIA also flies out of London and Frankfurt. British Airways flies into Barbados from Europe and the Concorde flies out of Europe directly to Barbados during the winter season and occasionally during the high point of the summer months. South American connections into Barbados include BWIA from Guyana and Caracas, Venezuela as well as regional carriers from both the Caribbean and South America. You may also find good deals on charters coming out of Europe and North America, primarily during the winter months.
Whichever airline you fly, you will land at the Grantley Adams International Airport on the southern tip of the island. Barbados boasts not only one of the longest runways in the region, but also one of the most modern airport facilities. The airport is open 24 hours a day.
*TIP: No vaccinations are necessary for entry into Barbados or returning home from Barbados.
On arrival you will pass through immigration and customs. You should have a valid passport and return ticket to show to the Immigration authorities as well as information on where you will be staying. Visas are not required for North Americans, Europeans or persons from Commonwealth countries. Check the nearest consulate or your travel agent on visa requirements for citizens of other countries, as the list changes frequently.
After retrieving your bags you pass through customs. They may ask you to open your luggage for a search, which is not unusual. Most often officials will send you on your way after a quick look if you have nothing to declare.
*TIP: Freelance Red Caps available at the baggage carousel to assist you if you require one.
WHAT YOU CAN'T BRING INTO THE ISLAND
Remember that you cannot bring in plant matter, fruits and certain other perishable goods without prior permission. Pets and other live animals are also not allowed without prior permission and most must first come from England due to quarantine requirements because Barbados is a Rabies-free country.
DUTY FREE ON ENTRY
Barbados has a small but adequate in-bound duty free shop that is stocked with liqueurs, cigarettes, cigars, perfumes and chocolates. The in-bound shop, located just off from immigration, is very competitively priced.
Customs limits are 200 cigarettes (one carton) or 50 cigars and one liter of spirits.
ARRIVALS HALL TOURISM INFORMATION
When you arrive if you have any questions about your stay the Tourism Authority has a booth at the arrivals hall entrance just before immigration. There is also a phone at the booth if you need to make a call.
Once outside the arrivals hall a fleet of taxis awaits. Prices to specific areas and hotels are pre-set and up to five people can ride in a taxi for the same price. However, it is best to ascertain the price and agree on it before you begin your journey. And don't be too shocked when your driver pulls out into the left lane - we drive on the left-hand side of the road!
Barbados is balmy most of the time, boasting some 3 000 hours of sun each year. Average temperatures run from 84 to 88 F (29-31 C) during the day and about 75 to 70 F (24-26 C) at night. Cooling tradewinds keep temperatures pleasant most of the year.
The rainy (hurricane) season starts in June and ends in November with the greatest concentration of rain usually occurring from August through October.
Dry season is from December to June, when apart from the odd, passing shower, the sun rules.
*TIP: During the winter months you may want to carry a light jacket or wrap because the night air can get cool.
COMMON SENSE RULES
Although Barbados is not a crime-prone nation, you should secure yourself and your belongings just as you would at home or in any large city. In other words, while vacationing here, invoke the 'common sense' rules so you will not invite crime.
For example, do not leave valuables of any kind on the beach unattended. Do not walk the streets heavily laden with valuable jewellry or with large wads of cash. Ensure valuables and documents are safely secured in your room and take advantage of your hotel's safe facilities if it has them.
Follow the guidance of hotel staff regarding where you can and cannot venture on foot at night and be especially cautious walking any lonely roads or beaches after dark.
Lastly, if you are renting a vehicle that does not lock-such as a mini moke-take all your valuables with you when you leave the vehicle.
Everyone loves an even, richly brown tan. However, very few people enjoy getting sun burned.
Barbados has its own currency, which is tied to the US dollar. The exchange rate is pre-set at BDS $1.98 to the US dollar. The rate varies slightly according to the form of currency you are using (traveler's checks, cash, wire transfers), and of course other currencies fluctuate against the US dollar. Check the bank or print media for daily rates on other currencies.
You can usually pay in US or local cash when dealing with most ancillary services such as taxis and vendors. On the street the US rate of exchange is generally two to one.
Hotels, restaurants, department and duty free stores, along with most shops catering to visitors readily accept most major credit cards.
Barbados has a fleet of banks around the island-the greatest concentration being in Bridgetown, and many banks now sport ATM machines. You need your PIN# to get a credit card cash advance and the machines dispense local currency only. However, if your credit card does not have a PIN# you can get cash advances in most banks.
As a rule, bank hours are open Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 3 pm and on Fridays from 8 am to 5 pm.
*TIP: Banks generally require customers to show their passport and ticket when converting foreign dollars, particularly when converting back to your home currency. This is because Barbadians are allowed a fixed amount of foreign exchange each year. You should also carry your passport to do cash advances off your credit card in the bank.
Each parish has a branch post office and the main post office is located just on the edge of Bridgetown next to the Cheapside Market.
In addition, may of the hotels and tourist outlets carry postcards and stamps. Mailboxes, often deep red boxes set in guard walls along the roadside, are safe and cleared frequently.
Barbados has lots of religious denominations and sects. More than 100 of them, actually. The major religion is Anglican. Other principle religions including Roman Catholic, Baptist, Christian Science, Jewish, Methodist, Moravian, Muslim and Pentecostal.
The electricity supply here is dependable. Barbados runs on the odd system of 110 volts/50 cycles and uses the North American style 2-prong plug and outlet. Most 60 cycle items will work here, and many hotels provide a 220 volt outlet in the bathrooms.
Our water supply is clean and dependable, the odd exception being around late April and May, when drought periods can affect flow of the water supply. The water is naturally filtered through porous coral in the underground streams where water is drawn from. It is also treated. Most grocery stores stock a variety of bottled water as well.
END OF THE TRIP
Follow the guidelines given by your travel agent for confirming your ticket back to your homeland. Most airlines in Barbados now require a three hour advance arrival for check-in.
There is a departure tax of BDS $25. Check to see if your ticket included pre-payment of the tax. If not, US cash is accepted if you are out of local currency.