|Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel||New York City||4 nights||RO|
|Turtle Beach By Elegant Hotels||Oistins||7 nights||FI|
|Overnight Travel||1 night|
New York City
From Wall Street's skyscrapers to the neon of Times Square and Central Park's leafy paths, New York City is widely regarded as the heart of the US. It pulses with an irrepressible energy during the day and positively heaves at night. From incredible art galleries and museums to some of the best restaurants and most iconic buildings in the world, the Big Apple’s vibrant cultural scene makes for an unparalleled experience for visitors. There is so much to see and do that it is impossible to cover every cultural highlight in a single trip. Visitors with limited time should head for the main attractions: the Statue of Liberty, MoMa and the Empire State Building, while those with more time can begin to explore the city’s lesser known neighbourhoods and outlying green spaces. No matter how you choose to spend your time and no matter how high your hopes, New York is guaranteed to exceed even the highest of expectations
Set on the south coast of Barbados, Oistins is a historic fishing village that plays host to one of the island’s most famed and festive attractions - the Oistins Fish Fry. Every Friday and Saturday night, an area near the jetty lights up with music, visitors and vendors selling a sublime array of fresh fish, lobster and other Caribbean culinary specialties such as macaroni pie. Besides the vibrant atmosphere and fabulous food, the market is also a great place to pick up locally made crafts and jewellery. The Oistins seafront is made up of a series of beautiful beaches, including some of the island’s most idyllic, such as Welches Beaches, with its salt-white sand and glittering turquoise bay.
The sheer size of the US prevents any kind of all encompassing statement about the typical American experience. From the state-of-the-art skyscrapers of New York City to the scenic country lanes of New England, the United States of America is a place of astonishing beauty and extraordinary diversity. Nothing can remotely prepare you for your first glimpse of the glorious Golden Gate bridge, the glistening Empire State building, the neon lights of Las Vegas or the iconic Statue of Liberty. Not to mention the natural treasures on offer - the country’s beautiful national parks are home to some of the world’s most treasured wildlife and landscapes; the west and east coasts are strewn with spectacular beaches, and the Rockies provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. In fact, it is a country of such epic proportions that you could easily spend a lifetime in the US and still feel like you have barely scratched the surface.
The US Dollar is the currency of United States. The currency code for Dollars is USD, and the currency symbol is $. Notes come in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 denominations and coins come in 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1 denominations.
Most major credit cards are accepted throughout the USA, including American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Visitors are advised to carry at least one major credit card, as it is common to request pre-payment or a credit card imprint for hotel rooms and car hire, even when the final payment is not by credit card. Be sure to check with your card issuer for current surcharge rates imposed for use of the card outside your home country. You should also inform your issuer that you are travelling for a specified period so your card is not flagged or temporarily suspended.
Travellers' cheques are widely accepted in US Dollar cheques; Pound Sterling traveller's cheques are rarely accepted and few banks will honour them. Change is issued in US Dollars. One or two items of identification (passport, credit card, driving licence) will be required.
Americans drive on the right hand side of the road. Driving is a great way to see the USA but distances can be huge eg 4,716km (2,930 miles) between San Francisco and New York City. Nevertheless, for those visitors with ample time, travelling by road is an ideal way to get a sense of both the vastness and the diversity of the country. Besides, road tripping is a favourite method of travel for Americans, and some of its great roads are iconic, such as the famous Route 66.
Taxi service varies considerably from one city to another, and is often not available in rural areas at all. In big cities, taxis are readily identifiable and can be found easily. In smaller cities and towns with taxi service, you may need to call a company to request a taxi.
Major international companies have offices at all gateway airports and in most cities.
Nearly all the long-distance trains are operated by Amtrak, which serves more than 500 communities in 46 states and three Canadian provinces over a 35,000km (21,000 mile) route system. Rail is not considered the best way to travel within the USA, as trains can be slow, infrequent and expensive.
It really is casual in America. Outside of the main cities, it is advisable not to be bothered with dressy clothes. However if you plan to visit city restaurants then you may feel more comfortable in smart casual wear.
Clothes in natural fibers will work better in the heat and it is worth popping in a lightweight sweater, cardigan or pashmina wrap for cooler weather or overly fierce air conditioning.
Travel light and buy your toiletries there. Must haves include sunglasses and wear plenty of high factor sunscreen.
If you are planning to visit very hot areas then we would recommend that you pack a shirt with long sleeves and a higher neckline to prevent burning. A sunhat is also very useful in the intense sunshine and our packable one is just perfect for travelling.
Frequent eating out is a relative novelty for many Americans, particularly in suburban areas, and is just one of many consequences of the popularization of television shows that feature celebrity chefs and a focus on culinary history and popular culture.In large cities, restaurants are mostly modern and very clean, offering a vast range of cuisines, prices and facilities. Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from fast-food, self-service and counter service, to drive-thru and table service. There are numerous options for casual and fine dining alike.
There are also many types of bars, cocktail lounges, café-style bars and English-style pubs. Generally speaking, waiter/waitress service costs more than self-service or take-out. Drinking laws are set by the individual states, counties, municipalities and towns; on average, closing time in bars is between midnight and 03h00.
Tipping is widely practised, as service charges are not usually included in the bill. Waiters generally expect 15 to 20% gratuity. Often, service charges are included for larger parties; if the restaurant's policy is not clearly stated on its menu, ask the server. It should be noted that a cover charge is for admission to an establishment, not a tip for service.
Electrical sockets in the United States of America are one of two electrical socket types: The 'Type A’ and ‘Type B’. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.
Electrical sockets in the United States of America usually supply electricity at 120 volts AC. If you're appliance is is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 120 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.
The overall climate in the United States of America (USA) is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska has an Arctic tundra climate, while Hawaii and South Florida have a tropical climate. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, turning into arid desert in the far West. The climate is Mediterranean along the Californian coast.
The easternmost of the Caribbean islands, Barbados is a traveller’s paradise blessed with lush vegetation, friendly people, superb dining and idyllic palm-fringed beaches - wild and windswept on the south and east, pristine and tranquil on the north and west. Once a British colonial outpost, and much of this history is reflected in the nation’s architecture, street names, and passion for cricket. There’s an enormous amount to see and do on Barbados: Take a jeep safari to the untamed east coast, known for its world class surfing, or head to the rugged southern coast, where secluded coves are hugged by craggy cliffs. If you prefer calmer , the north and west coast will be your thing, powder-fine white-sand shores melting into serene bays perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, has excellent shopping and sightseeing, while the island’s relatively flat interior is dotted with beautiful gardens, verdant nature reserves, glittering caverns, and breathtaking viewpoints.
Barbados Dollar (BBD; symbol BD$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of BD$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of BD$1, and 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.
The Barbados Dollar is tied to the US Dollar.
The import of local currency is unlimited but should be declared on arrival. The export of local currency is prohibited. There are no restrictions on the import of foreign currencies providing declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
Banking hours are generally Mon-Thurs 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1700.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted in the resorts, but cash is preferred for customs duty payment. ATMs are widely available.
Travellers cheques are accepted by all banks and most hotels. Opt for traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.
Commercial banks offer the best rates for currency exchange. The Barbados National Bank and a range of international banks each have an office in Bridgetown with branches in Hastings, Holetown, Speightstown and Worthing.
A good network of roads covers the entire island, but many are unpaved and covered in potholes (except for the main highway). Road safety is a national concern, especially after dark. Hiring a car is the best way to explore Barbados, thanks to the fact it’s a well-developed, small island measuring just 34km (21 miles) long and 23km (14 miles) wide. Anything from a Mini Moke to a limousine may be hired at the airport, at offices in Bridgetown or at main hotels. Petrol is comparatively cheap. Traffic drives on the left. Drivers must be between 21 and 65 years of age to hire a car in Barbados, with a minimum of three years driving experience. Visitors to the island are easily identifiable on the road by the 'H' number plate. Locals are usually accommodating and make allowances for any confusion. Seat belts are compulsory. Speed limits are 40, 60 and 80kph (25, 37 and 50mph). A Barbados driving permit is required. This can be obtained from car hire companies, the airport or some police stations. The permit costs US$5 and is valid for one year. A valid national licence or International Driving Permit and a small registration fee are required.
Barbados has a modern, reliable bus network, which operates from 0500 to midnight.
Taxis in Barbados tend to be fairly safe and reliable. Taxis are unmetered but charge fares are regulated by the government and are based on the distance travelled. Check the rate before travel - it can be in US Dollars or Barbados Dollars. Special deals apply for a full-day hire. Licensed minivans, identifiable by their 'ZR' licence plates, operate around the island and can be flagged down. There are no fixed schedules, but service is frequent. Rates are the same as for buses, although minivans tend to be quicker - but can be a tight squeeze.
Scooter hire is available - you'll need to pay a small deposit and wearing a helmet is required by law.
Smart casual clothes in lightweight natural fabrics will work best - It is warm and sunny but not unbearably hot all year round. However the nights tend to be a little cooler and a sweater is worth taking. Daytime essentials include t-shirts, camisoles, sarongs and shorts as most people spend their time on the beach. Remember your sun hat and sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen. Mosquitoes can be a problem, so take insect/mosquito repellent and cover up with long sleeves and pants when you can, particularly in the evenings if you are outdoors. Avoid wearing any scent or perfume. Keep your swimwear for the beach, beach bars and hotel pools. There are a number of up-market restaurants where the dress code is super smart - so you might like to include a smarter outfit. Do not wear or carry any army/combat type clothing or print, as this is illegal in Barbados. If you plan to explore the island, take some lightweight comfortable shoes for walking.
Barbados's water is said to rank amongst the purest in the world; it is filtered naturally by limestone and coral and pumped from underground streams. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption.
Eating out in Barbados is pricier compared to other Caribbean islands. Expect to pay around £20pp in a mid-range restaurant. There is an eclectic choice of food available, with everything from global cuisine served in smart, world-renowned restaurants, such as The Cliff, to Bajan fare available in street markets such as Oistins. Replica British pubs are popular and serve genuine British bitter and stout - often with fish-and-chip bar snacks. There are more than 100 rum shops across the island, which are simple, sometimes shabby, but always friendly where policeman and locals sip a mid-afternoon drink, it’s something to be experienced. A smoking ban in public places was enforced in October 2010 and anyone caught breaking it could face a fine or imprisonment.
A 10% tax is added onto the final bill. Allow for 10 to 15% in restaurants, round-up taxi fares and tip porters at around a dollar a bag.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Barbados are very similar to the electrical outlets found in the United States and Canada, and if your appliance has a North American plug, it's possible that you won't need any adapter at all in order to plug in there. However, there are two potentially very important physical differences that may need to be addressed with an adapter: grounding and/or polarization. If your plug has one or both, and the socket doesn't, then the plug may not physically be able to fit into the socket without an adapter.
In the case of a North American appliance plug, grounding is accomplished by the third, round pin beneath and below the two vertical blades on the plug. Polarization is accomplished by the left vertical blade being taller than the right, so that the plug can't be inserted upside down. U.S. and Canadian sockets are required to be both grounded and polarized. But in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Japan and other areas which use U.S. style sockets, grounding and polarization often are not required, and in fact, the majority of sockets in many of these areas do not accept the taller blade and/or the third grounding pin. This will prevent a North American appliance plug from being able to plug into these sockets, if the plug is either grounded or polarized.
So what it boils down to is this: If your appliance has a North American plug, these adapters serve as a "just in case" fallback. Should you find that either grounding or polarization prevents your appliance from plugging into the Japanese or Central/South American socket at your specific location, these adapters address those issues and allow you to plug in. You may not need them. But for many travelers, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Barbados usually supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts AC. If you're plugging in a U.S. or Canadian 120 volt appliance, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 110-120 volts the socket is supplying. If your appliance is from another part of the world, and it is built only for 220-240 volt electricity, or a Japanese appliance built for 100 volts, then a travel plug adapter by itself won't be sufficient. The voltage will have to be changed from 110-120 volts at the socket, to whatever voltage your appliance requires. This is accomplished with a voltage transformer.
Constant sea breezes cool Barbados's balmy, tropical climate but the island is still sunnier and drier than the other islands. During the so-called wet season (July to November), some brief rain showers are likely. Average sunshine hours per day are eight to ten from November to March and eight to nine from April to October. Tropical storms and hurricanes may occur between June and November.