Major Keys: 5 Necessities to Pack for Havana

by CrushGlobal Team

Have you found yourself lost on a never-ending thread or social media forum about how to prepare for a trip to Havana? You are not alone. Navigating a Cuba vacay, from visa requirements to where to stay, can be overwhelming. But the key is where you start, and knowing what to bring is everything. Here are a few tips to get you off on the right start.

1. TOILET PAPER: Yes, you read that right. Many things are rationed in Havana, including toilet paper. Particularly in public spaces like clubs, you will need to either bring a little of your own, or be prepared to pay for some if available. Having a small tissue pack in your bag will definitely come in handy.

2. A CAMERA: As you've seen time and again on the 'gram, Havana is truly a photographer's playground. Even if you are a beginner, there is no corner in the city that won't inspire you to record the moment. Please note that if you want to take a photo with a local, they will usually expect a tip afterward.

3. GIFTS: If you are staying in a casa particular (private home) it is always a nice gesture to bring a gift for your host family. Suggested items: chocolates, a doll or book for a child, seasonings for food, hair products. #CrushGlobal is currently working with a number of community service initiatives in Havana and will have opportunities for our clients to get involved very soon.

4. MEDICINE: Every stomach is different, but if you want to err on the side of caution, bring a medicine for digestive relief like Pepto Bismol. Havana is often heavy with smog in the air, so an allergy medicine might be good as well. Clinics around the city readily welcome American tourists for treatment. Just be sure to bring your passport.

5. AN OPEN MIND: Havana is trendier than ever. You can go to any Instagram page and see that. But beyond the popularity of cigar and classic car photo shoots, there is a world here that has been genuinely affected by an archaic embargo. There is a population that desires to see and feel the outside world, to know your story and to share theirs. Try to make genuine connections. Understand that every meal will not be perfect, that every taxi ride will not be smooth, that daily necessities we are used to (and probably take for granted) may not be readily available. Enjoy the feeling of not being on the Internet. Embrace the discomfort. This is where Havana's beauty and lessons lay.

Looking to skip the stress of planning a first time visit to Havana? We got you.  Stay tuned for our next installment of Havana guides, which will provide you with everything from restaurant reservations, best currency exchange practices, to where NOT to stay. Each guide is personalized to give you and your crew the most memorable Havana experience possible.  Get ready. And tell a friend...