Snorkeling Gear, New Bikini, Sunglasses… Passport? Yes, You Do Need a Passport to Fly into the Bahamas!
The Bahamas. You’ve been packed for days, it just makes it seem like you are leaving sooner if your shiny, silver suitcase is standing ready in your bedroom closet, waiting to be wheeled out of your house, carefully placed in a taxi’s trunk and then shepherded to the airport – at last.
You did have to unzip your suitcase sidekick last night – briefly – when Amazon delivered the book you’ve been dying to read, in the eleventh hour, but now you have everything you need for a week in sublime sun and turquoise water.
Including your passport, right? No? You do need your passport to fly from America into the Bahamas. Absolutely.
But I’ve entered the Bahamas without a passport
You may be shaking your head right now, visually remembering showing your driver’s license to a friendly guy at a port of entry in the Bahamas … and your memory is likely accurate.
Americans who are entering the Bahamas do not require a passport, just a government ID with a photo, but when you return to America via an airport, you need your passport to re-enter.
Naturally, because of the Bahama’s laws, many American travellers to this idyllic place believe that they can leave their passport tucked in a safe place in their home, but this is not the case.
Yes, we said “via an airport” for a reason
If you are entering the Bahamas by boat, and returning to America by boat, you need a passport, a passport card or another ID that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: You can find that list here.
What is a passport card?
As you can see, the passport card is nifty: wallet-sized and protected against water damage. It is also less expensive than a full passport.
The American passport and the American passport card are not equal: The passport card is valid for entry and exit from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and Mexico – if you are not travelling by air.
Important fact: The Bahamas are considered as part of the Caribbean when it comes to passport regulations. (Whew.)
Where does the enhanced driver’s license come in?
There are currently 4 states that offer enhanced driver’s licenses with microchip technology: Washington, Vermont, New York, Michigan and Minnesota. You can only use enhanced driver’s licenses to enter and leave America by land or sea – not by air.
In the proverbial nutshell:
- If you are flying into the Bahamas and flying back to America, you require a passport.
- If you are entering the Bahamas by boat, and returning by boat, you can use a passport or a passport card. A passport card cannot be used for international air travel.
- If you are entering the Bahamas by boat, and returning by boat, you can use an enhanced driver’s license, which are currently available only to residents of Washington, Vermont, New York, Michigan and Minnesota.
- If you are entering the Bahamas by boat, and returning by boat, you can use identification approved by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: You can find that list
And one more thing…
America offers the Global Entry program to low-risk travellers. What are the advantages of being approved by this program?
- You can use a kiosk at airports to re-enter America, avoiding all lines and zooming to the luggage kiosk ahead of the crowd. (Nice!)
How do you become a pre-approved global traveller?
- You need to apply online, which includes an in-person interview.
- There is a one-time 100-dollar fee to become a global traveller.
You should know that not all airports have Global Entry kiosks: For a list of airports that currently have Global Entry kiosks visit this link.
You see your future when you look into your lover’s eyes, and you cannot wait to be married to this person that completes you, who helps you to be the best version of yourself.
Your wedding should reflect the love that you share in a way that is meaningful to you as unique beings with passions, loving families and devoted friends.
The Abaco Islands could have been conjured up by a fairy specializing in romantic weddings: You really can have the wedding you want on these cays that are green with mangroves and white with sand.
We have highlighted five smashing places to get married in the Abaco Islands, as a sampling of what delicious choices lie ahead for you.
The Turquoise Cay Hotel
The Turquoise Cay Hotel is on Exuma Island where truly turquoise water lazily laps the whitest of white sand beaches and, should you be thinking of convenience, is a short 55-minute flight from mainland Florida.
You may have heard that it is possible to swim with pigs – yes the farmyard animal – on Exuma Island – this is quirkily and wonderfully true – and , perhaps more importantly, the Turquoise Cay Hotel are experts in creating weddings of simple, luxurious elegance or of a bright, casual nature.
Offering a number of venues, including a private beach, a turquoise pavilion, and a standout chef, The Turquoise Cay Hotel stands ready to host you and however many of your family and friends will stand at your side.
The Abaco Club
The Abaco Club will wrap you in the simplicity of elegance and the indulgence of luxury. If you watch the video provided in the link below you will get a sense of the allure, almost magical, of this exclusive destination.
If you dream of a wedding day that begins with an appointment in a world-class spa, where during your massage you begin to think of the exquisite food that will be served to your beaming guests who are sitting before artfully designed table settings, you have found your venue.
Oh, and you can marry your love on what is almost certainly the loveliest beach you’ve walked barefoot on.
The Hope Town Inn and Marina
The Hope Town Inn and Marina vibrates with romance, from its peach-pink façade to its gorgeous table settings to its dreamy tropical garden.
Whether you are planning an intimate wedding with a few guests or inviting hundreds of your closest friends, the wonderfully accommodating and knowledgeable staff at this charming inn are able to create the wedding you have dreamed of.
The Abaco Beach Resort
The Abaco Beach Resort not only offers 40 acres of land that is, yes, on beaches, but it is also the kind of relaxed, iconic Bahamas that we all dream about sometimes – perhaps after a harried day or whilst watching yet another snowflake fall from the grey sky above.
This resorts blends the intimacy of private spaces with welcoming public spaces, you can be alone with your love or join your guests for a snorkeling party, a bride-against-groom volley ball game or a sea-kayaking outing. Or you could just gather at the poolside bar and sip Bahama Mamas.
The Treasure Cay Beach , Marina & Gold Resort
If you want tranquility to be a guest at your wedding, you should consider The Treasure Cay Beach, Marina & Golf Resort where the resort manager has over 35 years of experience as an event coordinator. Tranquility is best paired with some let-you-hair-down dancing at the Tipsy Seagull – where the lights go on as the sun goes down.
Vacations should be special: You should return to the rythym of your daily life, be it as a Cirque du Soleil performer or the COO of a civil engineering firm, feeling renewed and invigorated. At Air Unlimited we take your leisure seriously, we want to be your new best friend. (You know, the kind of best friend that flies you safely, and in luxurious comfort, to places like Treasure Cay in the Abaco Islands or Marathon in the Florida Keys.)
WE ARE PASSIONATE
Have you ever walked into a workplace where joy hangs in the air, like a shop where a 3rd generation luthier creates violins? If so, you will recognize Air Unlimited as one of those workplaces where human beings – in this case, Charles “Chick” Gregg and Mark Neubauer, and their carefully selected staff, are doing just what they should be doing.
Chick and Mark came into flying naturally, both of their fathers being pilots and instilling a love for flying into the young boys who would grow up to found Air Unlimited, answering a demand for outstanding service between central Florida and Florida Keys and the Bahamas.
WE HAVE COOL AIRPLANES
If you are unused to air travel on a small scale, you should know that the 7 spacious leather seats of the Cessna 421 will bring you a level of comfort comparable to that of your favourite chair at home, the one you sink into just before the game starts. And you always have a window seat.
Our clients often express pleasant surprise at the level of noise in our Cessna 421s as they zoom toward The Bahamas or Florida Keys at 240 miles per hour: Who wants to reach for headphones to filter out engine noise when you really want to talk about how excited you are that you are finally going to try wall diving?
Of course, if you’ve chartered our Citation Mustang for a flight to that spot in The Bahamas that has not yet been discovered by most, you can fully recline in one of four well-appointed seats and have a nap – we’ll wake you when we get there. Or if you need to wrap up a few last things from the office (sigh) you can make use of your convenient work table.
WE KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING
At Air Unlimited, our passion for flying extends to the destinations where we fly. If you are flying into Marathon, Florida Keys, chasing the dream of snagging a broadbill swordfish, we’ve got a few tall fish tales for you. Or if you want to lie on a white sand beach in The Bahamas with only the pelicans to keep you company, we have the lowdown on where you find the closest thing to a deserted beach in this paradise.
WE ARE SO RELIABLE WE COULD BE ACCUSED OF BEING BORING
Air travel: It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. More human beings are flying to more places than ever before in our history. But commercial airlines have lots of work to do in satisfying their customers: The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that consumer complaints about commercial airlines were up 30% in 2015, from 15,539 in 2014 to 20,170 in 2015, and the most frequent complaint was that airlines are unreliable. We are refreshingly reliable.
HEY, EVEN PILOTS CHOOSE US!
We like to eat at restaurants where chefs eat, to read the novels that our favourite writers read and to watch the films that the directors we respect recommend – so why not fly with the Florida chartered airline that pilots choose? (Why, yes, it is us.)
You are lost in the pages of a Camilla Läckberg mystery, feeling relaxed and happily anticipating the moment when the Florida Keys vibes stir up your inner wildness, when your voice of your pilot cuts into your bubble of joy, announcing that you are about to experience some turbulence … and your heart starts to beat a little faster, a physical flutter of anxiety starts to build in your stomach and you close your eyes.
If you dread turbulence, if you become authentically frightened when the airplane you are sitting on begins to jolt in unpredictable ways, you should know that you can conquer this fear, or at least wrestle it into submission.
Turbulence is almost never dangerous
Fear is a useful emotion or feeling: If you are standing at the edge of a cliff that plummets to the cold North Atlantic Ocean in February, and you feel the wind rising, it is fear that will prompt you to walk away to a safe place. Fear can be our best friend.
But sometimes we fear something that we don’t have to fear, like turbulence. You may be thinking that is absolutely rational to experience fear when sitting in a airplane that is being tossed around the sky at 10,000 feet about the security of the ground. (And you make a compelling point.)
But, turbulence is common and almost always harmless.
Only about 20 people out of the 800 million or so who fly in America every year are injured as a result of turbulence. Hint: This is a great mantra to repeat to yourself the next time your airplane flies through a rough patch of air.
So why is the airplane jostling around?
High winds, being near to a mountain, the jet stream and other factors cause predictable turbulence: Pilots are trained to deal with turbulence and aircrafts are built to withstand it. Turbulence is no more than a rough patch in the air; pilots expect it and know how to deal with it.
I know it is irrational but I still fear turbulence
You are a human being, and we sometimes fear things that we don’t have to. But knowing that we do not have to fear turbulence can really help us deal with our fear and how it makes us feel.
Remember, turbulence is nothing more than air currents: That’s all. And pilots understand how to fly in air currents and airplanes are built to do so.
Try these proven techniques the next time that your pilot informs you that there is some turbulence in your immediate future:
- Bring a special treat with you when you fly, like a Black Praline Goldbar from Switzerland (seriously delicious). If turbulence is announced, slowly unwrap your treat and lose yourself in its sinfulness; when you look up, it will all be over.
- The human body reacts immediately to fear; we begin to breath more quickly. Fool your body by closing your eyes and inhaling deeply through your nose, filling up your lower lungs and then your upper lungs. You should then hold while counting to 3 before exhaling through your lips, while consciously relaxing your facial muscles. Repeat.
To learn more about breathing techniques, visit The Tiny Buddha.
- Tell yourself what you know to be true: Turbulence is safe; your plane is just flying through some wind currents.
- Bring along a stress ball to calmly squeeze during the flight, expelling excess nervous energy from your body as you do so.
Air travel has shrunk the earth, meaning that many of us have become explorers, waking up in magical places far from our homes. Don’t let a fear a turbulence keep you grounded.