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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
Whenever you are travelling to Jamaica, there are some steps you need to take beforehand. If you are a seasoned traveller to Jamaica, you already know these but if this is your first time or first trip in a while, you might need clarification on a few things. Don’t worry, help is here.
Before you even book your trip, you’ll need to decide what part of Jamaica you would like to visit. If you already have a location in mind, great. If not, one good way to determine where you’ll be staying is the kind of vacation you’ll be having.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but certain areas are better at providing different vacations than others. For example, a vacation in Portland will not have many areas for exciting parties, but it is great for daytime excursions in some of the most beautiful spots you will come across.
Montego Bay isn’t crawling with rivers and falls, but the beaches, nightlife and culture tours are a must-see. Ocho Rios is for you if you are from a family of adventurers who would love an occasional party or a trip to the casino on a few nights out of the trip.
This doesn’t mean that there are never parties in Portland it just means some things are more difficult to find in some areas than others. You can consider searching for the attractions on the top of your bucket list and finding a location as central a point as possible to most of them. Hopefully, they are generally close.
But even if they aren’t, there are still many ways to get to them. We will get into that in a second.
I only recently began to think about this aspect of a vacation. For me, travelling almost two hours to Ocho Rios from Montego Bay or Kingston isn’t that big a deal. I live here and I have all the time in the world. But what if you only have 3 days, suddenly spending hours travelling back and forth is quite the hassle.
I would say, depending on the number of days you are planning to stay in Jamaica, choose your location accordingly.
If you only have a few days then I would understand if you stayed in the cities closer to the airport, but if you have more than a couple of days, I encourage you to venture out a little further.
Well, there isn’t much change to the weather in Jamaica so the weather in your country might be more the reason for your vacation. However, it is important to note that Jamaica’s rainy season lasts from June 30 to November 1.
This doesn’t mean it will rain all day every day, but rain is likely. And, while Jamaica is not experiencing hurricanes often, it is a possibility, as this same period is the Hurricane season.
So now, you’ve selected the location and you are ready to book flights and hotel rooms. But just before you do that, check the entry requirements for Jamaica. Ensure that you and all the persons in your party are aware of these requirements as well.
Some countries may need a visa to enter Jamaica, check to see if your country is on this list (visitors from the UK, Canada and the US are not). If there are any you have identified that you need, check the time it usually takes to have it sorted out.
This will prevent you from being unaware of the necessary documents and having to miss your flight because your documents are not ready in time. Remember to check the expiration dates on your documents as well, especially if you haven’t travelled in a while.
You should also consider the budget you are working with and that of the people taking the trip with you. Also, when travelling with friends or extended family, catering to different financial realities is serious.
Jamaica can be enjoyed on a budget just as much as you do when there are no expenses spared. But it must be considered wisely, all-inclusive resorts are always better for a group on a budget. And in Jamaica, we have family-friendly and adults-only options for those on a budget.
The choice is yours. You might even be staying in a villa or Airbnb, those come in all levels as well. Consider the cost to get into, each attraction as well. Most of the prominent attractions will have a website with updated costs in Jamaica. You can use these to estimate how much excursions will cost.
Now that you’ve sorted your flight and travel documents, you can choose your next accommodation. The options will come flying at you but, just go in with a clear plan of the type of accommodation you want and the amenities you are looking for. Who will be on this trip with you? Family, friends, your partner or you might even be travelling alone.
Either way, this will dictate where you stay. At most all-inclusive a gym, multiple restaurants, water and land sports, etc. are the standard. But what if you’ll need a nanny or if a kids club is important, does the hotel have a water slide or a kiddies' pool? What cuisines are you hoping to try out?
Some persons are searching for a much-needed break from their children and would prefer to be in the presence of adults only for a while. Is it important that this hotel is also clothing optional? Does the hotel have its own beach? When you find a hotel that fits your criteria then you can book it.
If you are bringing pets, you will need to check with the hotel as well, they do not all accommodate pets. Plus, there is some critical information to get your pet into the country.
If a resort isn’t for you, then a villa or Airbnb might be. They can be fully-staffed, luxury villas to a small homely Airbnb but both of these options allow you to truly be in charge of the vacation you want to have.
Sites like TripAdvisor are great to see other people’s experiences.
Ensure your embassy or consulate is aware of your presence on the island. Yes, the possibility of anything happening is unlikely but never zero. It is better to take this one additional step than to say, “I wish I had” later on.
Transportation will be a larger concern if you plan this vacation independently. Don’t worry, there are car rental companies if you would prefer to drive, or private transportation companies if you would rather be chauffeured.
What should I take on my trip to Jamaica? Well, I suggest packing according to the weather and the type of holiday you are having. How adventurous you plan to be, dictates the type of clothes you will need.
Some other essentials are a camera, mosquito repellant, swimsuits and prescription medication. If you need a little help with what to pack for a seven-day trip, here you go.
There aren’t many that you need to look out for. Jamaica is a pretty relaxed country but it is still important to know a little about the country you are heading to if not to avoid feeling like a fish out of water, then at least to impress the locals.
What should you not forget when going to Jamaica?
Just a little recap of the important stuff:
I hope this helps! Have an Irie vacation.
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How Do I Prepare for a trip to Jamaica? | Written: November 17, 2022