Updated: Jan 21, 2019
I'm starting a new blog series about The Bahamas. First, I'd like to share these travel tips especially if you're flying from the West Coast. I usually fly out of Las Vegas. Hope you find these helpful.
Flight schedules: I recommend taking a red eye flight. Remember you lose 3 hours going East because of the time difference. Typically, I choose to fly late Tuesday night so that I am in Nassau early the next morning. When I arrive, I just catch up on sleep. By the afternoon, I'm ready to be out and about.
To maximize my stay, I choose to fly back late afternoon on a Sunday. That gives me about 5 days to spend on the island but taking only 3 days off from work. I highly recommend this because other flight schedules consume so much travel time. If you're traveling as far as The Bahamas, wouldn't you want to make the most of your time there versus sitting on a plane?
Choosing Your Airline: American Airlines - Their red eye flight that leaves Las Vegas (LAS) at 11:45 pm PST arrives in Miami (MIA) at 7:27 am EST the next day. Then the connecting flight leaves at 9:46 am and puts you in Nassau (NAS) in an hour. American Airlines has the most flights from LAS to NAS. Other flight schedules include a 3-hour layover. To make the layover bearable, go for a massage at the airport spa.
JetBlue - They have a red eye that leaves LAS at 11:57 pm PST and gets you to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) at 7:44 am EST the next day. The connecting flight to Nassau leaves at 9:00 am and arrives on the island at 9:55 am. For the return flight, I recommend taking the late afternoon schedule. It leaves 5:25 pm and lands in FLL at 6:30 pm. Then it takes off at 7:40 pm EST and lands at 9:47 pm PST in LAS.
Southwest Airlines - Although they do fly to Nassau, flight schedules are limited. It's worth looking into if you're connecting from FLL and you are a Rapid Rewards member. You just might have enough points for a free flight.
Sleeping On The Plane: If you're one of those who can't easily fall asleep on the plane and you've taken melatonin before, take one right before take off. Bring your noise canceling headphones or ear buds in case you're seated next to a loud snorer or crying baby. No offense to parents who bring their young ones. Oftentimes their infants/toddlers just get uncomfortable and cry throughout the flight. Sleep eye masks are also helpful especially when you're ready for shut-eye but a passenger close to you is working on his computer or watching a movie on his device. It's not a bad idea to bring a travel pillow either. For women like me, pack a pashmina or wrap and use it as a blanket when the air conditioning gets unbearably cold.
Entertainment: If you're flying American Airlines, download their app ahead of time. Once on the plane, it will be easier to watch TV shows or movies from the app. This is the case until they replace gogoinflight which takes forever to download -- if you can even download at all. Most of AA's aircrafts no longer have the TV screens. If you don't have a tablet or a mobile device with you, I suggest you prepare to play Sudoku found in the inflight magazine.
Snacks: I usually bring some cashews or almonds and power bars. By the time the flight takes off, you're likely to just sleep. But in case you do get hungry or in case of any delays, you'll have some munchies ready.
Mobile Plan: Keep in mind that you are traveling overseas. Work with your mobile carrier about a temporary international plan while you're traveling. You wouldn't want to come home to an outrageous mobile phone bill with international charges or ridiculous roaming charges. Apps such as Viber or Facebook Messenger as well as iPhone's FaceTime will allow you to communicate for free via WiFi connection. They are great for video/voice calls or text messages. Just remember that if you make a phone call from Nassau to the US, rates can be as much as $1.99 per minute.
Carry-On and Personal Bags: While waiting to board, American Airlines sometimes announces that they are willing to check your carry-on bag for free. Make sure to keep valuables and other essentials in your personal bag so that anytime this happens, you need not worry about handing them your carry-on luggage. It's a good idea anyway because it's a long flight. If you end up in the window seat, you wouldn't want to crawl over your seat mate to reach for your items in the overhead compartment.
Cash to Bring: Around here, cash is king. Power outages are common and debit/credit card systems are down when there's no power. Some establishments accept only cash so it's best to have some $ in your wallet. US dollars can be used here. The Bahamian dollar is equivalent to an American dollar. Another good thing to note is that Bank of America and Scotiabank are both members of the Global ATM Alliance. If you bank with BA, you can withdraw from any Scotiabank ATM on the island without incurring international access fees. You will still, however, be subject to the local 7.5% VAT or value added tax.
Anything else: On your flight to Nassau, you'll be required to fill out an Immigration Form so make sure you have a pen handy. I also recommend spending the money on Trip Insurance. Anytime you're traveling overseas, this is a no-brainer.
Do you have any tips you'd like to share or add? Feel free to comment below. I'd love to hear from you!