Travel options to Cuba will likely open up soon as the country re-establishes diplomatic ties with the US. As that continues to develop, travel experts recommend tourists head to Cuba now. In fact, some even call it the hottest destination of 2015.
Here are some tips to get you there before everyone else:
“Technically, you still can’t go for purely tourist reasons,” said Brian Kelly, also known as The Points Guy, who has been to Cuba twice in 2015 already. “But there are 12 very broad reasons that the government will allow you to go, such as seeing public art or performances.”
Since direct commercial flights aren’t yet available from the US to Cuba — though that will likely happen soon — you’re going to need some help to get there.
“Use a travel agent,” said Kelley. “There are a number of US-based travel agents focusing on Cuba. You can pre-pay your trip with them, so you don’t have to be carrying around bundles of cash with you.”
You’ll need cash, because American-issued credit cards aren’t yet accepted in Cuba. Also, if you exchange American money, there’s about a 10% loss when converting.
“I think it’s a great learning experience,” said Kelly. “Obviously, there are still differences between our governments, but I think teaching your family to understand those differences and appreciate history is a valuable lesson for families.”
But there’s still one more tip you need to know:
“Do plan ahead,” said Kelly. “Hotels sell out. There are not that many hotels in Havana. So, plan in advance is probably my number one tip if you’re planning to go to Cuba.”
Stacia Naquin, 12 News, NBC
July 2, 2015