Trump’s New Policy Limits American Travel to Cuba (Sort of)

american travel to cuba, relief map of cuba
President Trump is working hard to undo any semblance of the Obama presidency. Among his goals is a rollback of the previous administration’s loosening of decades-old restrictions for American travel to Cuba. If you’re planning a trip to the island anytime soon, here’s what the latest policy news means to you.

Will Americans Still Be Able to Travel to Cuba?

Under the Obama administration’s relaxed restrictions, Americans could travel to Cuba as part of one of 12 authorized categories. Trump initially used the term “cancel” — which seemed to imply a full outlawing of travel to Cuba — to describe his revised restrictions. However, those same categories are still open to Americans, with just one exception. “Educational travel” (one of the most used and loosely defined categories) will be more tightly controlled. For example, such travel must be with a group and must include a travel or other agent to ensure travelers strictly follow the scheduled itinerary.

What’s This About “Military-owned Restaurants and Hotels”?

Trump’s new policy primarily takes aim at stripping money (and therefore power) from the Cuban military. This arm of the Castro government owns many tourist-centric properties throughout the island, including hotels and restaurants. American travelers will not be allowed to patronize any such outlet. The best way to know who owns what is to follow your tour guide. The U.S. State Department has also promised that, once the restrictions take effect, it will make public a list of prohibited outlets.

How Can I Stay Out of Trouble?

While it may seem tedious, travelers should be sure to keep a detailed accounting of where they stay, what they do, and who they do it with while in Cuba. Should you fall under increased scrutiny at the border, hotel and restaurant receipts can go a long way toward proving you traveled and stayed with your group as planned.

How Will This Affect Air Travel to Cuba?

Many airlines have already begun cutting back on the number of flights to and from Cuba. However, the bottom line is that they will not be affected by these new restrictions. The policy only focuses on how the U.S. government enforces travel among its citizens.

What About Cruises to Cuba?

It’s likely that travelers on cruises will be far less affected by the new policy. Because cruise itineraries are so well regimented, it’s easy for the government to assume that passengers are strictly following the set itinerary.

What Will I Need to Travel to Cuba Under the New Restrictions?

Essentially, all the same things you needed before. This includes a passport (of course), a Cuban visa (which costs $50), and additional health insurance (which is required to enter the country). U.S. health insurance companies do not provide coverage in Cuba. However, it can be purchased via a third party or upon arrival in the country.

When Do the New Restrictions Take Effect?

In short, travel for Americans to Cuba isn’t changing anytime soon. The new restrictions are complicated, and it’s likely they won’t take effect for months, or even years. Americans with existing travel plans to Cuba will not be affected.

Auto

BMW’s M850i xDrive Is Perfect for When the Road Is Long and the Pursuit Is Pleasure

BMW has been out of the grand touring game for some time but the rebirth of the 8 Series gives the brand an aspirational model it so desperately needs.
Food & Drink

Mail-Order Meat: Where to Order Quality Meat Online

Need a cut of steak? Some pork? A few lobster tails? Skip a trip to the store and these premium delivery companies.
Travel

21 Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Adventure

Get out of town ... or just go to the library. Travel books simulate the sensations of sailing, sightseeing, and setting out to explore.
Auto

These Medieval Bandit9 Motorcycles Inspired by King Arthur Are Living in the Future

Bandit9’s newest motorcycle masterpieces, Arthur and Merlin, may reference medieval lore but the machines are living in the 61st century instead of the 6th.
Travel

‘App in the Air’ Could Help Travelers Survive the Next Government Shutdown

It's like an airport survival kit in your pocket. It will be handy long after the government shutdown ends (again).
Travel

The Palms Casino’s Newest High-Roller Suites Have a Bowling Alley and Whiskey Room

The Hardwood Suite is a basketball-centric masterpiece, while the Kingpin suite is a bowling bro's paradise.
Travel

10 Reasons to Visit Norway in 2019

The picturesque ruggedness of Norway is just part of the appeal of what may arguably be one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
Travel

Celebrate Your Single-ness This Valentine’s Day with a Cheap Vacation

Contiki is looking to make solo celebrations even better with deeply discounted travel packages for Singles Awareness Day.
Travel

Win a Private Island Getaway for You and 7 of Your Closest Friends

Bring the entire squad on an ultra-luxe Belizean getaway worthy of a one-percenter.
Living

The Jamaican Villa Where Ian Fleming Created James Bond is for Rent and It Is Amazing

You can vacation at the birthplace of secret agent 007, complete with butlers to make your martinis.
Auto

PlugVan Converts Most Vans Into Full-Fledged Campers in 5 Minutes

Your van can be backcountry-ready for the weekend and back to work Monday morning.
Travel

Enjoy a Different Kind of Island Life at this Private Scottish Escape

Eilean Shona is a self-described, lakefront “Neverland” where visitors are encouraged to appreciate the lost art of sitting still and doing nothing.
Travel

Travel Switzerland Like a Gentleman Aboard the Luxury Glacier Express

You can sip cognac like a sophisticate aboard Europe's most iconic and breathtaking rail journey.
Travel

You Can ‘Find Yourself’ on these Ultra-Luxurious, Wellness-Inspired Tours

It's so much easier to "find yourself" amid Egyptian cotton sheets and daily spa treatments.