So You Want To Travel: How to Travel to Cuba as a U.S. Citizen in 2018

Finding a Flight Many major airlines have direct flights to and from Cuba so it can be that prohibited, right? As of March 2018 the airlines with flights to Cuba are Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United Airlines. For the best airfare prices, I recommend flying from Miami if you’re on the East coast, or from LA if you’re on the West coast. 😉 Flying from Canada or Cancún, Mexico are also popular choices!

Legal Documentation Tourist cards are required for Americans who wish to travel to Cuba, visas are not. Tourist cards are a physical declaration of your reason for travel which will be given to Cuban Immigration. The price of your tourist card depends on your selected airline. You can find a list of airlines and their tourist card fees below:

  1. Alaska Airlines: $85.00 (Online)

  2. American Airlines: $85.00 (Online) $100.00 (at the gate)

  3. Delta: $50.00 (at the gate)

  4. JetBlue: $50.00 (at the gate)

  5. Southwest: $50.00 (at the gate)

  6. United Airlines: $75.00 (at the gate)

*Make sure to fill the tourist card out correctly!☺ Any mistakes may void the card and require you to repurchase a brand new one.

Declaring A Reason If you wish to travel to Cuba to stay in a hotel and lay on the beach, you may have some trouble here! Unfortunately, Cuba is not open for tourism and as of 2017 neither are individual people to people activities. However, there are some loopholes around this. You may declare your reason for traveling to Cuba as educational, journalism or as support for the Cuban people. The first two reasons are self-explanatory, and your travel does not need to be assigned by a teacher or official news source to fall under these categories. As for support for the Cuban people, this can mean a lot of different things! To abide by this it would be best to steer clear of any government entities, and to eat, sleep and buy local instead. This won’t be hard for you to manage, and it certainly won’t be hard on your pockets! Here’s what I did:

  1. Declared Support for the Cuban people

  2. I stayed in a small hostel owned by a local family via Airbnb.

  3. I ate in small cafés and paladars around Havana.

  4. Booked Airbnb experiences with local Cuban people. If you’re new to using Airbnb, use this link and receive $40 in travel credit when you sign up! Rule of thumb: If it’s located in a hotel, it’s more than likely state-owned. Here’s a list of government entities in Cuba! Once you’ve booked your flight and declare your reason for travel, you’re ready to go! It’s really that easy people! I had a very simple and straightforward experience getting to and from Cuba and I wasn’t questioned at all. Just remember, American debit cards are not accepted anywhere on the island so prepare to have cash, and everything will be just fine! I highly recommend Cuba for those who are just beginning international travel or solo travel. This country will capture your heart with its incredible people and natural vibrancy! Until next time,

The Pint Sized Traveler

#backpacking #Cuba #travel