Preparing for your trip
|☐||Complete your tour registration and send color copies of each travelers' passport photo/signature page. A link to this secure form will be included in your booking confirmation email.||Within 24 hours of booking|
|☐||Ensure you have a current passport.||Immediately|
|☐||Make your final payment, if any balance is due.||
120 days prior to travel
|☐||Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!)||After making final payment|
|☐||Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference.||After receiving your e-tickets|
|☐||Obtain required travel visas.||See below|
|☐||Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email approximately 14 days prior to travel.||Prior to travel|
|☐||Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) if you're a U.S. citizen so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency.||Prior to travel|
|☐||Call the airline to confirm your flight schedule, just in case.||72 hours prior to travel|
|☐||Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime!||3½ hours prior to departure|
Passport & Visa Requirements for Cuba
U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid at the time of entry, though we strongly recommend it be valid for at least six months after your return date.
U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Cuba. Under current U.S. law, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens and residents for tourism is prohibited. However, there are several forms of authorized travel, including licensed "People-to-People" cultural exchange programs such as those operated by Friendly Planet. Travel to Cuba is regulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Please see the Treasury website or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.
For U.S. passport holders, we will pre-arrange your travel visa, and the visa fee is included in your package price. After you book, please send a color scan or color photocopy of the photo page of your passport to email@example.com so that we may process your visa.
If you hold a passport from another country, it is quite possible that you may enter Cuba on one of our programs; please contact us before you book to learn more.
If you were born in Cuba, regardless of your citizenship, you must apply for a visa directly from the Cuban Embassy. Please notify us when you book if this applies to any travelers in your party.
For this package, we are required to obtain copies of your passport(s). Please scan the photo and signature pages of each travelers' valid passport and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to scan your passport(s), please make clear, legible color photocopies instead and mail to our office address. If you do not presently have a valid passport, send us a color copy of your most recent passport and let us know when your new one is expected. Then send us a copy of the new passport upon receipt.
General Requirements & Guidelines
- It is the responsibility of each traveler to determine passport and visa requirements and comply with them and to secure the proper travel documents. To avoid disappointment and unnecessary expenses, please carefully review the requirements so that you can obtain all necessary documents well before your trip. Requirements are subject to change, often without notice, and we suggest you verify requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate. Airlines and cruises may deny boarding and your trip may be disrupted if your passport and visa are not in order. We will not be held responsible for any charges, trip interruptions, or cancellations due to incorrect or missing visas, nor will travel insurance cover your lost expenses.
- Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately.
- Minors (children under 18) traveling abroad without parents or with only one parent are required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present additional documents such as (but not limited to) notarized permission letter and/or unabridged birth certificate. The U.S. Department of State has more information. Some other countries have similar requirements; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.
Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email approximately 14 days prior to your departure. This email will include a copy of your electronic air ticket receipt (e-tickets), your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and any other information relevant to your package.
Flight Schedule: Your flight schedule will be included with your booking confirmation materials. Note that airlines may change flight schedules even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes.
Questions about your flights? Call our air department at 800-555-5765 ext. 208.
Need to arrange connecting flights? Please do not book these flights until you make your final payment. Because schedules can change, we strongly suggest that you leave plenty of connecting time—at least 3½ hours—between flights. And if you are traveling during March or mid-October to mid-November, when airlines traditionally modify their schedules, we suggest that you allow 5–5½ hours between flights. It's not worth missing your flight!
When you book your package, we do not usually assign seats; the airline typically does this within 24 hours of departure. If you are not happy with your seat assignment, you may be able to change your seats, subject to availability, either when you check in at the counter or during online check-in (if available). In most cases, you may also request specific seat assignments more than 24 hours before departure, but this may incur a fee. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.
If you wish to request a special meal, contact the airline order it for all your flights, once you receive your electronic tickets via email.
You may be able to earn frequent flyer points on this package. Once you receive your tickets, contact the airline directly to enter your frequent flyer numbers in your flight record. As you travel, check with the agent prior to boarding each flight on your package to be sure the frequent flyer information has been entered properly. Keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt, as these documents are proof that you have actually flown the miles you are asking to be credited to your frequent flyer account.
We may be able to provide you with discounted rates for business class upgrades. If you are interested in upgrading to business class, please contact us. This package includes very special contracted airfares which do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer miles.
Packing & Luggage
What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel.
Baggage allowance: See our general baggage policies.
If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges. For more information about baggage restrictions on your international flights, see our Airline Baggage Allowances page. Note that the airline baggage allowances may be greater than ours, as our packages have other limitations such as space aboard our motorcoaches. Porterage is covered in your package price, but only for one checked bag per person, and it is much easier and faster to move in and out of hotels with a single bag.
We will mail you Friendly Planet luggage tags with your invoice. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip. However, we are not responsible for lost or damaged luggage.
The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary. For all other meals, you're at liberty to dine where you like. Your hotels will have several dining choices, from coffee shops to specialty restaurants.
If you have a special meal request or require wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please send us your requests in writing, and we will do our best to accommodate them! For requests involving your flights, please call the airline directly to reconfirm your requests, once you have received your final travel documents.
Check out our Fast Facts about traveling in Cuba, including currency conversion, tipping, weather, what to wear, what to buy, voltage & plugs, immunizations you should get, and more.