Dominican Republic Travel Hacks

Hello all, we are just a little shy of 2 weeks away from our bon voyage and this happy little couple wants to help keep everyone’s anxiety levels low. Below are more traveling tidbits and some important travel information.  In the videos we selected you will see our tidbits in action.  We searched high and low for videos that illustrated what we actually, since neither one of us is packed yet we were unable to shoot one for you guys.

  • DR Tourist Card: Each person in your party will need to attain a 30 Day Tourist Card. The DR does not issue visas, instead they require visitors to purchase Tourist Cards. You can purchase one for $10 at customs after you land OR  you can purchase your card in advance online by clicking this link Tourist Card  print your receipt and bring it with you and you can skip one of the two lines in customs.
  • Currency Exchange: The US Dollar is widely accepted in the D.R.  If you want to use a foreign currency (like me) use the ATM machines. We have two that are within 2 miles of our residence. Exchanging your money at the airport is convenient but you pay for that convenience.
  • Luggage: We try our best to never check luggage. We have upgraded our luggage game but we still pretty much travel with efficiently stuffed backpacks. We searched for videos that were actual depictions of what and how we pack. I would upload a video of us packing but….we still haven’t packed for our wedding.
  • Travel Docs: We have scanned our passports and emailed them to ourselves and we also pack a xeroxed copy in our luggage along with our travel accommodations (the addresses and contact information). I will spare you the details but this is a very necessary practice. Know where you are going! We also check-in online and print our boarding passes at home to avoid the airport lines.
  • Arrival: (If you are renting a car please disregard) Upon exiting customs, look for a driver with an “ Apryl and Rondel’s Wedding” name card and they will bring you to our location. Please enjoy the scenery and take plenty of pictures and videos. More to follow…

 

 

FAQs for Travel to the Dominican Republic

Frequently Asked Questions about traveling to the Dominican Republic

Most questions and answers were pulled from hispanola.com; follow the link for additional Q&As.

  1. Do I need a passport to go to the Dominican Republic?
    • Yes
  2. Are there any fees I need to pay on arrival/departure?
    • There is a US $10 Tourist Card fee you will have to pay on entry and a US $20 Departure Tax that must be paid before leaving the Dominican Republic. Please see our Entry/Exit Requirements section for more detailed information on this. The $10 tourist fee was a surprise to us but we did not have to pay a departure tax. Whenever traveling though, it’s best to have cash and change on hand. We recommend you travel with at least $50 on hand.
  3. What is the weather like?
    • The Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean, so temperatures are generally quite warm throughout the country all year round. Some have even called the weather here ‘the endless summer’.
  4. What type of currency should I bring?
    • US dollars are the most easily exchangeable foreign currency into the local Dominican Republic currency, Pesos, or RD. You can exchange currency in the airport but local banks and ATMs (cajero automatico) usually have the best rates. We know of 2 ATMs within 3miles of where we’re staying.
  5. Do I need any vaccinations before visiting?
    • At the present time no special vaccinations are required before visiting the Dominican Republic.
  6. Is if safe to drink water in the D.R.?
    • Drinking purified bottled water is definitely recommended and is available everywhere in the Dominican Republic. Hotels and restaurants use purified water to clean and cook their food, and purified water is used to make all ice. It is not recommended that you drink tap water. For those with a sensitive stomach, it is not recommended to even use tap water to brush your teeth.
  7. To flush or not to flush [the toilet paper]?
    • Do not flush the toilet paper. Plumbing isn’t efficient enough to flush paper without blockage – so don’t do it. Instead, use the bin provided to dispose of whatever paper you use. You get use to it…just wrap that paper up with more toilet paper and place it into the bin next to the toilet.

Aruba: NYE 2015

The entire island and the Caribbean Sea was on fire. Explosions were going off on every side of us. We were in the middle of a quiet neighborhoods residential street hemmed up. We had to remain still or risk walking through someone’s personal firestorm. It was beautiful.  It was violence. It was immense in its volume, everyone was a participant. It was a culture of festival we hadn’t experienced. It was family. It was awesome 🙂

Travel Tip: meet and greet locals. Be discerning but engage by all means. It generally leads to an inside track of enjoyment.

We wanted to party like and with the locals and not the tourists. The advertisements playing on the radio were about these mega parties being thrown in the Hotel Zone and they did not sound like what we were searching for. As the night played out we walked our agreed upon route through a randomly chosen neighborhood we saw droves of people emerging from homes. Some were in costumes, some were dressed to the nines, some wore party hats. The common denominator was familiarity. Family and friends, like in the States but different. It was a family celebration like Christmas and it was festival-like.

At 12 midnight all of the party games stopped and the pyrotechs began their craft. We were in the middle of a random block between violence and awe when we finally appreciated where we were at that moment in time. In love, in a foreign land, in our own way.

You would hear distant rumblings throughout the day. Like a Tommy gun with an extended clip boasting about its staying power. Curious but we didn’t question it. We noticed long lines at makeshift venders in the heart-of-the-hood areas. Meanwhile we’re still looking for the party.

We copped a $20 bottle of $7 wine (the tourist effect) to toast at midnight and went in search of a fireworks display on the ocean front. We were late leaving our apartment and decided to walk through the middle of a neighborhood to get to our oceanfront destination…

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Aruba: Facing Down Fear

I heard some preacher, somewhere do that acronym thing that charismatic’s do. F.E.A.R. -false evidence appearing real. It stuck with me so I guess it did what it was supposed to do. I have an irrational FEAR of swimming in the ocean or maybe its just large bodies of water…but its there and I don’t like it. I have been looking forward to doing something about it forever and on this trip I got a chance to and boy was it a good time.
a hundred mile dash through the ocean….
  – attacked by panic in the rough sea!
  – observing a whole nother life beneath the surface.
And then sailing back to shore on a part boat

It was an awesome adventure!
-Pictures n video when I get to some wefee 😉