The Bahamas is the perfect vacation spot for families with tiny travelers. Our year-round beach weather, convenient direct flights from many major cities in the US & Canada (as well as London) and a wide selection of family-friendly accommodations and activities make us an ideal hassle-free destination to make memories.
The Bahamas consists of over 700 islands and cays (pronounced “keys”) and our main international gateway is Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). So, chances are, this airport is where your Bahamian adventures will begin and end.
Airports are notorious for tantrums because long lines and delays can make even the most even-tempered lil’ munchkin (and grown adult) have a meltdown. So while we can’t control the weather or flight schedules, here are a few ways to reduce and/or make the most of your wait time:
BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME:
Pack a lightweight travel stroller and stroller travel bag.
Nowadays, you have to spend hours in the airport before your flight takes off. You don’t want to be stuck having to run behind an active toddler who wants to explore a new environment for the entire time or having no hands-free time because there’s no safe space to rest your baby or your bags down . When you first get to your gate, you should request gate check tags from the agent. You’ll check the stroller at the bottom of the jetway before boarding. Simply fold it and put it in the stroller travel bag (to keep it as clean/hygienic as possible). Your stroller will be waiting for you at the same spot when you land in Nassau.
It’ll also serve you well if:
● Your child is anything like mine, he/she will start to doze off as soon as the pilot announces the initial descent in preparation for landing. That means your bundle of joy will be sleepy and/or cranky when you disembark and will not want to walk to the terminal
● Your plane lands at one of the gates that are further away from the terminal which could be quite a stroll (wear comfy shoes – just in case)
● There’s a long line to clear Immigration
● There’s a delay with luggage at Baggage Claim
Pack Pen(s) to complete Bahamas Immigration Forms. Most airlines will distribute the Immigration forms during the flight. Feel free to ask your cabin attendant if they do not make the announcement before landing. If none are available on board, they’ll be readily available in the terminal and having your own pens will save you time and sanity.
Pack cash to tip the Porter and Taxi Driver. Cash is still King at the airport. Not to worry though, the Bahamian dollar is 1:1 with the US dollar, so US dollars are an acceptable form of payment.
Pack double the baby essentials in your carry-on. Bring twice as much formula, bottles, baby food, snacks, diapers and wipes in your carry-on as you think you’ll need. If your plane becomes severely delayed or canceled, you’ll thank me! The very last thing you (and your fellow passengers) want to deal with a hungry, thirsty, dirty-diapered baby when flying. This is especially true if you get stuck on a tarmac or circling above a storm.
Don’t forget changes of clothes for baby (and yourself) in case of a mid-air blowout, ziploc bags for soiled items, a first-aid travel kit with pain relievers and allergy meds.
Having travel-sized diaper cream, baby shampoo, body wash, lotion and sunscreen handy will be a lifesaver if the airlines lose your luggage.
ARRIVAL AT LPIA:
Use the bathroom in the Bahamas Immigration Hall.
It may be time for a diaper change or a bathroom break for yourself by the time you land. If you can hold it, walk past all the bathrooms you’ll see on the way to the Immigration Hall. At the end of the walkway, a large statue of a Bahamian police officer will be pointing you towards the stairs, escalator or elevator to enter the Immigration Hall and the bathrooms will be to your left on the back wall.
Most times, there’s a line for visitors to clear Immigration, so you’ll have enough time to go to the restroom while your partner holds a spot in the line.
Join the Visitors Line at Bahamas Customs. After clearing Immigration, you’ll take the stairs, escalator or elevator down to Baggage Claim and Bahamas Customs. One of our friendly porters will gladly assist you with retrieving your luggage and will guide you to the very short and fast line designated for visitors.
You do NOT need to download the Exempt App as a visitor with nothing to declare.
DEPARTING FROM LPIA:
Check-in online and plan to arrive at least 3 hours before your schedule flight departure time (3.5 hours if your flight leaves between 11am – 2pm – LPIA’s peak travel times). By checking-in online, you’ll avoid the line to check-in at the ticket counter. However, checked luggage would still need to be tagged and an airline representative will show you where to go. Don’t forget to remove old luggage tags before placing new tags for your destination.
Download the free Mobile Passport Control (MPC) App
As LPIA is a US Pre-clearance facility, each passenger will undergo inspection by a United States Customs & Border Patrol Officer prior to leaving Nassau to return to the US. Eligible US citizens and Canadian visitors can take advantage of reduced passport inspection time by using the MPC App. There’s a separate line for persons in the Processing Hall for persons using the MPC App which is much shorter and faster than regular processing.
Important things to note:
● Download the app from the Google PlayStore or App Store before heading to the
● Complete everything except “Submit” which should be done once you’re at the
● Remember to select the “Pre-clearance” option and your Port of Entry is
● Information for all members of the same traveling party can be submitted
Grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants before your flight. You’ll have lots of time to get to your gate (all gates are a three-minute walk from anywhere in the Departure Lounge) so you might as well have a solid meal before boarding.
In the US Departures Lounge you’ll find: Dunkin’ Donuts, Parma Pizzeria, Quiznos, TCBY, Rhythm Cafe, Rhum Runners, Starbucks, Sushi Rokkan and Wendy’s. In the International Departures Lounge you’ll find: Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC and Rhum Runners.
If you have any of the snacks you packed remaining, you’d want to save them for when you’re on the plane with no other options.
Go to the airport’s play area
For US Departures, there’s a Sea Creatures Play Area near Gate C-42.
For Int’l Departures, there’s a Pirate’s Adventure Play Area in the Departure Lounge. These are great places for your little ones to get all of their energy out before boarding a flight. It increases the likelihood of them falling asleep on the plane and decreases the chances of the dreaded nap just before boarding which can quickly lead to a meltdown.
Get your gate check tag for your stroller from agent before your flight.
If you follow these tips, your vacation should start and end on the right note for everyone!!
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