Packing for your Cuban holiday
Cuba is a wonderfully warm tropical island so cotton and other light natural fabrics are ideal.
Cubans dress sharp and contemporary – a consideration when selecting your travel wardrobe.
Men do not wear shorts and sandals to evening events or important venues. They wear long pants and shoes. Suits and ties are not worn.
Consider a light jacket or sweater as resorts, restaurants, tour buses and other public areas can be overly air-conditioned.
An umbrella comes in handy as brief rains are common from May through October.
Laundry services are provided at hotels and resorts for a fee (there are no public laundromats in Cuba).
The best rule is to pack once, then cut it by half. Airline weight limits change constantly. Check with your airline prior to packing to avoid over limit luggage fees. Consider leaving some space for gifts and humanitarian donations.
Here’s a handy checklist of personal items customized for Cuba travel. Just bring what you think you’ll need.
Essentials – documents and money
- Passport (must be valid for one week beyond your stay)
- Airline tickets. See Flights to Cuba
- Cuban Visitor Visa. See Cuban visa instructions
- Cuban medical insurance (included in the cost of US airline tickets)
- Cash: US credit and debit cards don’t work in Cuba. Visit Money matters in Cuba
- Fanny pack or money belt
Clothes and accessories
- Men: Long pants and shoes for evening events, shorts for day activities
- Women: Skirt or slacks for evening events, shorts for day activities
- Shirts and T-shirts
- Sweater or light jacket
- Swim suit, beach towel and face cloth
- Underwear and socks
- Comfortable shoes (don’t break in new shoes on this trip), and sandals
- Belt, watch, prescription glasses
- Sunglasses, umbrella, sunscreen
- Cap or sun hat (purchase in Cuba)
Medicine and hygiene products
- Band-Aids or a miniature first aid kit, earplugs (if trouble sleeping)
- Deodorant, fragrance, moisturizer
- Face cloth, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, comb, hairbrush
- Fingernail clippers, lip balm
- If you are sensitive to foreign food and water bring Kaopectate or Imodium
- If you use prescription drugs bring a two-week supply
- Insect repellent with a 50% DEET component (safe to use on skin)
- One roll of toilet paper, sanitary napkins or tampons, condoms
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, shaver and supplies
- Vitamins, aspirin or equivalent
Handy travel items
- Camera plus memory and batteries, cell phone, tablet, e-reader, laptop
- Electricity is mainly 220 AC. Bring a 220 to 110 adapter for electrical equiptment
- Novel, guide book, Spanish dictionary, phrase book, note book, pens, pencils
- Fingernail clippers, cigarette lighter
- Rubber bands, plastic bags, super glue, safety pins, sewing kit
- Snacks, dried fruits and nuts
Don’t bring to Cuba
- Narcotics (Cuba is a zero-tolerance nation)
- Anti-Cuba literature
- Aerial drones
- Stand-alone GPS devices
- Items considered to be weapons