This is a rare Matt and Me trip, the kids are staying with friends for the week. HUGE thanks to everyone coordinating to get things taken care of for us all week long, it's peace of mind knowing so many folks are looking out for the kids and the animals.
We are going to stay a week on Grand Cayman Island, our friends who live there have arranged darn near everything-travel, housing, transportation on the island, everything you could think of that we might need! I have been to Cayman one other time, for a week on my 31st birthday, Matt has never left the country. I have been to Canada a couple of times and to the Bahamas, but this is the first time I have had to have a passport! They are quite pretty and patriotic, I was very pleased with how much they look just like the ones in the movies. hahaha! We got those taken care of several months ago, there was apparently no rush in the passport offices, they came back in under 2 weeks.
Everything just kind of fell into place for the trip, arrangements for everyone at home, passports, even packing went quickly and smoothly. I only had to pick up a couple new things to take (Granny panties don't get to vacation!) and Matt needed some new shorts and that was accomplished in a 2-hour trip to town a couple of days before we left.
Matt has long had a thing for fish, I think the thing I am most looking forward to is snorkeling with him. The weather heading down is being very iffy, loads of t-storms and winds, clouds, high waves early in the week and then scattered t-storms the rest of the time with a really good chance of heavy storms heading into the second weekend.
Here are a few things to know for traveling to the Caribbean. You need a passport to fly and at least a passport card to cruise. You need to let your bank know your dates of travel so they can authorize your debit and/or credit cards to work internationally and to cut off when you arrive back home. If flying, you need to check in one hour before your departure time and be at your gate 45 minutes before departure time. Keep your passport on you in a secure something, probably not your purse or bag. Keep it on you, even on domestic layovers, they may ask to see it before allowing you to board to avoid problems locating it again on the other end before you head through your destination country's customs.
Going out, you will get screened at your departure airport, so any domestic layovers will not take any more time than if you were just changing planes and continuing on within the US. On your return flight, you need at least a 2 hour layover at your arrival airport to give you time to get through customs and security. This is generally a pretty painless process, just be sure you read over the latest regulations and adhere to them.
I recommend doing just carry-on on any air travel, simply because there's no chance of getting away from your stuff and it forces you to pack lightly. If you don't carry on all of your luggage, be sure you keep all medications in your possession. Matt's last 2 trips via Detroit ended in a weather or mechanical issue and having to stay overnight on vouchers and so many people did not have medications they needed because their checked baggage was in another city, including his travel partner. You don't want to pay $50 to take a cab to Target at 10 p.m. and try to get a 2 day supply of meds from the pharmacy after spending 6 hours at the airport, it's a misery that is totally avoidable.
Limit your shoes to one pair of sandals/slip on and one set of tennis shoes. Leave anything you are not SURE you will need in the time you will be gone and consider buying toiletries at your destination. Make it easier to pack by sticking with one or two main colors and accessorizing. Also, choose clothing that fits the destination-think of climate, activity dirt factor (will you be hiking or strolling, dining or picnicing) and if you can wear it with more than one thing. An acception to this would be if you need to bring something dressy.