In the Cayman Islands, not only are we blessed with incessant sunshine, warm weather, sandy beaches, and cool crystal waters, we are also lucky enough to be located smack bang in the middle of the Americas, providing excellent access to various holiday destinations in the region.
Where to Go?
Places like Havana, Kingston, Montego Bay and the Sister Islands practically take less time to get to than the morning commute, making them extraordinarily convenient destinations for a quick weekend escape from the rock. Better still, a host of major airlines are making frequent nonstop flights to major cities across the United States and Canada, making it easier than ever to get to where you need to be this summer.
In the coming months, both WestJet and Air Canada are running nonstop flights back and forth between Canada’s financial capital, Toronto, a modern metropolis too often overlooked in favor of its American counterparts. A city unlike many, Toronto boasts several large shopping centers, including the renowned Eaton Centre, which sits right in the heart of the central business district; an “underground city” which provides sheltered subterranean access to various landmarks during the bitter winters; and the pedestrian-only Distillery District, an artistic hub brimming with indie restaurants, coffee shops, galleries, bars and boutiques, all set among the striking brickwork of the 19th century Georgian infrastructure.
Likewise, Cayman Airways is operating nonstop flights to New York, America’s glamorous cultural Holy Grail, most days of the week, as is JetBlue. New York is a city that doesn’t require much explaining. The iconic skyline, Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty are just a few reasons to go. After the flagship stores and shopping centers close for the night, the city remains buzzing and bustling with nightlife.
If you’re still looking for the glamour and excitement of a big North American city but perhaps would prefer being able to stay closer to home, then Miami and Tampa might be more to your taste. Until at least the end of October, Cayman Airways will be running daily flights to both cities, and if you book early enough in advance, you can get return flights for a steal.
When it comes to international travel, preparation is imperative; the last thing anyone wants is to turn up to the airport a few hours before their flight only to realize that they’ve forgotten an essential. If you’re travelling to the States, always remember to check whether your visa or ESTA is still valid long before you travel. ESTA can be renewed pretty quickly, but you don’t really want that panic just before you get on the plane. Visas are another story entirely – you won’t be going anywhere if you discover too late that yours has expired.
Far too many of us who do make it to our intended destinations find ourselves bogged down with too much luggage. For longer trips, bringing heaps of luggage is an inconvenient necessity, but weekend excursions require next to nothing. If you’re only going to be away for a couple days, packing the bare necessities into a carry-on-compatible duffle bag should provide you with more than enough clothes to survive your weekend adventure, especially if the only shoes you bring are the ones already on your feet.
If you want to make your travelling experience as smooth and stress-free as possible, then there are a few extra steps that can be taken. The first of these is Global Entry, a program that allows its members expedited entry into the U.S. Upon arrival to the U.S., while most of us commoners wait in line twiddling our thumbs, Global Entry holders simply walk up to a kiosk, scan their passport and fingerprints, tick a couple of boxes, collect their receipt and then head straight to baggage claim. At US$100 for a five-year membership, the Global Entry program is well worth it for frequent travelers.
For those wanting to streamline their journey back from the U.S., TSA Precheck is also a must. Travelers with Precheck don’t have to remove their shoes, belts and jackets, nor their laptops and liquids from their bags. Although people without U.S. citizenship or permanent residency ordinarily aren’t eligible for TSA Precheck, travelers with Global Entry and Nexus passes are, so if you’ve already committed to Global Entry you might as well go the full mile.