Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eight Travel Hacks You NEED When Traveling to Beaches Turks & Caicos

what you need to travel to beaches turks and caicos

Are you planning a trip to beautiful Turks and Caicos? Maybe your whole family is planning a trip to Beaches, the all-inclusive luxury resort for families. 

If you have, I have eight secret trip tips that you won't know until I tell you! 

Unless you have been to Turks and Caicos with your family before, you likely won't know these travel hacks but being in the know will help you save money and have a smoother, more comfortable trip!


BTW - I've got a lot of links in this post. Nearly all of them are affiliate links, which means I might get a small commission if you book or buy anything after clicking at no extra cost to you.

Beaches, the luxury family resort in Turks and Caicos

My family (me, hubby, 8 year old and 4 year old) and I had a chance to fly to Turks and Caicos so I could attend a work conference at Beaches resort in the fall of 2018. It was hands-down my kids' favorite vacation they had ever been on.

On my trip, I learned some important things about traveling as a family to Turks and Caicos that I want to share with you!

These tips include advice on what to pack, how to get the best deal on your tickets to Turks and Caicos, and other things you will absolutely want to know while preparing to travel to the world's number one beach destination for families.

Even though my family was at the Beaches resort, these tips for traveling to Turks and Caicos apply no matter what your island destination is!




Turks and Caicos family destinations

Looking for vacation spots in Turks and Caicos

My family and I stayed at Beaches Resorts while in Turks and Caicos and I really can't say enough great things about it! 

Click here to learn more about what they offer at Beaches Turks and Caicos.

Turks and Caicos Travel Tip 1: Prepare to not have in-flight wi-fi

Even though most airlines now offer in-flight wifi, Turks and Caicos is an island so for some (if not most) of the trip, you will be flying over the ocean.

What does this have to do with wifi? Many carriers' in-flight wifi only works when you are flying over land. 

And the wifi might stop working sooner than you expect. 

We flew to Turks and Caicos via a connection in New York. In my mind, we would fly south over the east coast and only be over the ocean for maybe the last hour once we left Florida.

This isn't what actually happens, though.

When you draw a line straight from Turks and Caicos to New York, you will see that the most direct path is over the ocean so you may be without wifi for the majority of your trip if you fly a similar route.

All that to say: plan ahead to be off-line. Set yourself up with off-line work projects, books, magazines, movies you have saved onto a device, etc because you are unlikely to have the internet at your fingertips.

Turks and Caicos Travel Tip 2: For best results, book your flight directly with your carrier

Sometimes messages get lost in translation when you use third party booking services like SkyScanner or Expedia.

Even if you think you paid for seat upgrades or chose your seats, there is really no guarantee that those choices will be honored by the carrier unless you book directly through them.

A family traveling on the same flight as us had booked their first class tickets through a third party website and were dismayed when they arrived on the plane to learn that not only were they NOT in first class but their family wasn't even sitting together!

When they asked the airline about it, they were told that since they didn't book directly with the airline, none of the things they thought they were buying when they booked were guaranteed.

Most carriers will meet or beat third-party site fares anyway, so don't be afraid to use the sites to find the best fare but maybe book your flights directly with the carrier.

I've had great experiences using SkyScanner for hotels or rental cars, though, so don't be afraid to use them for that!


Turks and Caicos Travel Tip 3: You have to bring a black or blue pen (really!)

On your flight to Turks and Caicos, you will need to fill out customs and immigration documents for your arrival in Turks and Caicos. 

Your airline will provide you with these forms but they won't provide you with a pen - that's your responsibility!

Of course, they won't tell you that ahead of time, so this is me letting you know: bring a black or blue pen!

If you fill out your form in red, purple, green or any color other than blue or black, the island authorities will not accept it and they'll make you fill it out all over again (Ask me how I know! Ahem).

sailboat at Beaches Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Travel Tip 4: You may want to check a bag when flying to Turks and Caicos

Due to the price savings, my family almost always travels with carry-ons only. 

This is rarely an issue, but when traveling to very sunny destinations it can become a problem if you can't pack enough of your favorite nontoxic sunscreen.

Due to TSA regulations, if you are travleing from the US, you can only bring containers that can hold 3.4 ounces or less and your total number of containers of liquids or gels must be able to fit in a quart size ziplock bag (check current regulations on the TSA website).

For our trip, we brought about 20 ounces of sunscreen, split between 6 small containers and it really wasn't enough.

Due to the island's remote location, sunscreen sells for a premium - about $24 for a bottle of sunscreen I might normally have paid $12 for in the USA. 

By contrast, It would have cost me about $25 to check a bag and then I would have had not just more packing room generally, but a whole lot more space for my favorite sunscreen instead of the brands they happen to have on the island. (I love the tinted ThinkSport but you can read my whole sunscreen guide here)

Pro Tip: When traveling as a family, plan to check one suitcase that contains several full size bottles of sunscreen. Other members of the family can bring carryon size suitcases as needed for more room. 

Pro Tip Bonus: If you check a carry-on size bag on the way there, once you have used up the sunscreen you won't need to pay to check it on the way home because then it will be your carry on.

Beach at Turks and Caicos Provinciales - copyrighted Carissa Bonham


Turks and Caicos Travel Tip 5: You need reef safe sunscreen

Turks and Caicos' motto is "Beautiful by Nature" and the natural beauty of the island really is incredible. 

If visitors coming to the island damage the natural environment there, it won't stay that way.

The coral living off Turks and Caicos' coast is fragile and in the process of making a comeback in coral nurseries.

Chemical sunscreens dissolve into water. Swimming in the water while wearing a chemical sunscreen introduces chemicals and nanoparticles to the water which will make coral and fish sick. 

Even if you aren't swimming near the coral, just a little chemical sunscreen goes a long way and will travel through the water to do real damage.

We should all be sure to make choices that will help preserve the reefs so the coral and sea life will continue to be there to enjoy for many years.

My favorite reef-safe sunscreens are ThinkSportBeautyCounter and Alba Botanica.



Turks and Caicos Travel Tip 6: You need sun protection that goes beyond sunscreen

In many parts of the world, you can get away with a light coat of sunscreen at the beginning of the day before going out to play in the sun and you're good. Not in Turks and Caicos!

Much close to the equator than anywhere on the US mainland, the angle of the sun is direct and penetrating. 

Add to that, that sunshine bounces off water and amplifies your exposure and you run the real risk of getting seriously burnt even if you wear sunscreen. (ask my husband how he knows, ahem)

Sunscreen alone isn't going to be enough to protect you unless you continue you apply once an hour. That's a lot of sunscreen!

Sun solution #1: You need a rashguard

In case you aren't familiar, rashguards are a short sleeve or long sleeve swimming shirt with built-in SPF to protect your skin.

They are thin and lightweight, so they won't make you hot. Unlike a plain cotton t-shirt that has an SPF of less than 10, rash guards reliably have an SPF of 50 or higher. 

Our kids wore rash guards any time they went to play in the water during the day (remember: water amplifies sun intensity!) so I knew their torsos were well protected and I didn't have to worry about their sunscreen washing off and needing to be re-applied hourly.

beaches turks and caicos waterpark lazy river
One of the people in this photo is wearing a rashguard - that same person did not get sunburnt. I can't say the same for the person who refused to wear one.


I wore a rash guard any time I was going to play in the water or sit in the sun for more than 30 minutes (or if my husband wasn't available to apply sunscreen to my back!).

My husband, ahem, did not listen to this sage advice, insisted he would be fine and despite lots and lots of well-applied sunscreen, his back, shoulders and chest were BURNT by the end of the week. 

I bought these rash guards for my kids and they worked great:


I have a short sleeve rash guard, I got this awesome long sleeve rash guard from Land's End while I was at the conference and they both worked great.


Sun solutions #2: You need a sun hat

where to get a great hat

Hats utilize the same strategy as a rash guard - putting a physical barrier between you and the sun. Sun hats with wide brims are great for helping shade and protect your ears, neck and face from intense sunlight.


Before leaving, I also brought a sun hat for me but what I loved even more from Land's End that I got at the conference. Glamorous and protective. Fabulous, dahling!

Traveling to Turks and Caicos with kids? You need to BYOPJ
(Bring your own Puddle Jumper)

I really take my four-year-old's Puddle Jumper for granted. Not only do we own one, but they are available at most public pools and water parks where I live in Oregon.

While life jackets and other flotation devices are available for some water activities, nothing quite compares to a Puddle Jumper for comfort and ability for pre-swimmers to swim safely.

We got some great tips for traveling to Turks and Caicos from The Melea Show who recommended bringing your own Puddle Jumper and I'm glad I did.

My 8-year-old is an excellent swimmer but having my 4-year-old's puddle jumper really gave both him and us as his parents peace of mind when swimming in both the pools and the ocean.

Did these tips for traveling to Turks and Caicos help you?

If I shared something here that helped you, please share this post to tell your friends! You probably also want to pin it on Pinterest to make it easier for you to find later!

The eight things that you NEED to know before traveling to Turks and Caicos for a family vacation at the all includive Beaches Resort. You will need this list especially if you are traveling with kids! #creativegreenliving #beachesmoms #SMOTS #socialmediaonthesand #beachesresorts #turksandcaicos #beachesturksandcaicos


About the Author:

Carissa is a green lifestyle advocate and mom of two active boys. The owner and lead writer at Creative Green Living, she won the Craftys Award for the "Best Craft Blogger" category in 2016 and the ShiftCon award for "Best DIY Blogger" in 2018.

Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! She is also the author of the hardcover cookbook, Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017) and several ebooks. Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Capper's Farmer and Urban Farm Magazine. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living Tribe on Facebook.
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FTC disclosure: The trip I took to Beaches Turks and Caicos was taken in partnership with Sandals Resorts as part of their #BeachesMoms and Social Media on the Sand program. While attending the Social Media on the Sand conference, I also received sample products from Land's End and other sponsors. I only recommend products I personally enjoy and think my readers will as well. For more information, see my full sponsored post and review policy.

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