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British Virgin Islands Travel Information

The Basics


GMT -4.


Electrical current is 110 volts, 60 Hz. The two plug types are the same as in the US. One has two-pin flat blades; the other is the same, though it has a third round grounding pin.


English is the main language spoken on the islands.

Travel Health

There is a small risk of dengue fever in the British Virgin Islands, so visitors should protect themselves with insect repellent. Recommended vaccinations are minimal but include hepatitis A, if not previously taken. Limited medical facilities can be found on all the main British Virgin Islands and there is a hospital located in Road Town, Tortola. Comprehensive medical and travel insurance is recommended.


For good service, a 10 to 15 percent tip is usual in the British Virgin Islands. Hotels often add a service charge to the bill, usually between 10 and 12 percent, so it is best to check before tipping. Bellhops and porters usually expect $1 per item of luggage.

Safety Information

The British Virgin Islands are generally considered very safe for travellers and they have a low crime rate. That said, sensible precautions should always be taken regarding valuables, especially on beaches. The islands are susceptible to hurricanes, particularly between June and November, but tropical storms can occur throughout the year. It is a good idea for visitors to check the forecast for storms during their stay, and to plan around the hurricane season.

Local Customs

In the British Virgin Islands, it is considered impolite to take photographs of the local people without asking their permission beforehand.


Business attire in the British Virgin Islands is fairly formal and conservative. A lightweight suit is appropriate for most meetings, unless in an informal outdoor setting where smart slacks and a shirt is more appropriate. Handshaking is customary for introductions between both men and women; women are considered equals in the business world and should be treated as such. Business cards are exchanged on introduction. Being late for meetings is considered offensive despite the laid-back impression of the island. Meetings are usually fairly unstructured, though. The language of business is English, and business hours generally run from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.


The international dialling code for the British Virgin Islands is +1 284. Travellers with unlocked phones can purchase local SIM cards in Road Town and at large marinas; most lodgings offer free WiFi, as do many bars and restaurants in main towns.

Duty Free

Travellers to the Virgin Islands over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, and wine or spirits up to 1 litre.

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We are looking for contributors for our British Virgin Islands travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to British Virgin Islands or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.