WSJ: Yes, You Can Visit Cuba On Your Own

The Jan. 13, 2018, issue of theĀ  Wall Street Journal has an article describing a recent visit to Cuba by two friends. They went on their own, not as part of a group tour. A sidebar to the article tells how anyone can do the same.

According to the sidebar, the rules still permit Americans to visit Cuba in “support of the Cuban people” without special authorization. Just go online to purchase an airline ticket from American, jetBlue, Southwest or Delta, and select that reason when the website prompts you. A visa will be needed, and you can purchase that for $50 at the airport ticket counter.

When you arrive in Cuba, you must not patronize any business related to the Cuban military. The list of businesses (some hotels, etc.), tourist agencies, marinas, stores and products (including Carney and Varadero rums) to avoid can be found on the State Department’s website.

According to the sidebar in the Wall St. Journal article, you must keep evidence of your interactions with Cubans for five years. Such interactions should be meaningful, which may spur Cuba toward democratic government. Such evidence can be receipts and selfies with locals. Staying in private residences (casas particulares), eating in private restaurants (paradares), and visiting galleries and community projects are recommended.

The United States has an embassy in Havana, although with reduced staff due to mysterious illnesses among staff (perhaps due to some sort of sonic activity). Airbnb continues to operate in Cuba, as do US airlines.

If self-directed travel doesn’t sound appealing, you can do as many Americans have by taking a cruise that stops in several Cuban port cities.

Another Pre-Christmas jetBlue Sale

With fares as low as $44 (or maybe $38) one-way, jetBlue is having another sale. It’s called “Hot Cocoa, Fares Loco.” If you have already purchased a ticket and notice that the price has gone down, you can call in and get a credit for the difference.

You must book today, Dec. 19, in order to get the sale price.

Deal Alert: JetBlue Flash Sale With Fares From $38 One-Way for One Day Only

Southwest & JetBlue Both Having Sales Now

Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are both offering discounted airfares today and tomorrow…and Southwest’s continues into Thursday.

Save on New and Existing Southwest Flights – 3 Day Fare Sale!

$49 JetBlue Sale – Two Days Only!

Both airlines serve Austin.

The great thing about Southwest sales is that you can cancel and rebook existing reservations in order to take advantage of a lower price. I’ve done this numerous times.

How to Pass Muster for Travel to Cuba

For Americans, there are legal requirements that they must meet to travel to Cuba. This post clarifies what they are, how to meet them, and what records must be kept.

American, JetBlue, Spirit and other airlines are cleared to begin scheduled service to the island, some as early as September. JetBlue will have fares as low as $99 (or 3500 points).

JetBlue Will Be First U.S. Airline Back to Cuba

Fly the Inaugural Flight to Cuba for Just 3,500 Points!

How to Get Double Signup Bonus on JetBlue Credit Card

The JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard normally offers a 30,000 point signup bonus. This blog post describes a method of, apparently, doubling that bonus to 60,000 JetBlue points.

Is This The Secret To Get A 60K JetBlue Signup Bonus?

The method isn’t guaranteed to work, and will probably quit working as soon as JetBlue discovers it.

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JetBlue offers award travel for very few points.

USA to Ecuador $282+ Round-Trip

Round-trip air fares to Quito from Fort Lauderdale: $282, Washington DC: $348, Philadelphia: $352, Hartford: $358, New York: $372, and Cleveland: $392 on JetBlue.

Travel September to December 2016.

Quito is located right on the equator, so it has no hot/cold seasons. It is located at a high elevation, so the temperature is always mild…but take a wrap if you want to visit the higher altitude parts of the city.

Ecuador’s currency is tied to the U.S. dollar, so you do not need to change currency.

From time to time IHG will include a Quito hotel on its PointBreaks list, which is how I was able to do a multi-day visit to the city for only $35 per day.

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JetBlue offers award travel for very few points.

Six Airlines Approved for Flights to Cuba

Six American airlines have been approved by the US government for scheduled flights to Cuba.

Six U.S. Airlines Approved for Cuba Service

The six are American Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest, and Sun Country. They will fly to Cuban cities other than Havana, but in the future some may be approved to that popular destination.

The origination cities in the US are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Philadelphia.

Americans continue to face significant obstacles to Cuban travel, due to the continuing “12 reasons” rule. Abolition of these restrictions may depend upon Congressional action.