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 to evening events or important venues. They were slacks. 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)
  • Charter airline tickets purchased separately
  • Cuban tourist visa supplied by air charter
  • Cuban medical insurance supplied by air charter
  • Cash (US credits don’t yet work), visit Money matters in Cuba
  • Fanny pack or money belt
Clothes and accessories
  • Pants and shorts
  • Shirts and T-shirts
  • Skirt or slacks for evening events
  • Women: skirt or slacks for evening events
  • Men: slacks for evening events
  • Sweater or light jacket
  • Swim suit and towel
  • Underwear and socks
  • Comfortable shoes (don’t break in new shoes on this trip)
  • Waterproof 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 such as citronella essence
  • 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, lots of film, memory, batteries, iPod, laptop, mobile device, Kindle, Kobo
  • Electricity is 110 and 220 AC – a 220 adapter may be useful
  • 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)
  • Explosives
  • Pornography
  • Anti-Cuba literature
  • Aerial drones
  • Stand-alone GPS devices
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Items considered to be weapons