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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
It takes a brave soul to travel alone, no matter where you go. There is something about companionship and having shared experiences with those we are closest to, that makes travelling with another person or group much more appealing than travelling alone.
Not only that but there is the unfortunate fact, that it is sometimes unsafe to go on your trips by yourself, especially to unfamiliar territory. But this is not always the case, thankfully.
What is solo travel to Jamaica like though? Why travel to Jamaica? Is it safe? Is it worth it?
I certainly think so!
And I hope to convince you of the same thing. (Read more on safety in Jamaica).
I’ll even throw in some suggestions and tips to enjoy your vacation alone.
1. Stick With The Guided Tours - If you are travelling alone, in a new country. I would highly recommend having a trusted hand to guide at least some parts of the way. This is especially true if you wish to venture out into the island and not to the more commercialised attractions.
There are multiple ways to book a guided tour, for one, some hotels offer their services to assist guests to book with excursion tour companies (Island Routes and Chukka are two of the best). The shuttle to and from your resort is included in the package.
2. An all-inclusive might be a better option - An all-inclusive resort or accommodations with positive views might give you peace of mind on your trip. It will also be good to have a sort of “home base” that way should something happen, there is a better chance of someone realising.
3. Don’t walk around with lots of cash - It is good to walk with some Jamaican currency if you are going on an excursion. But don’t convert all your money to local currency and walk around with it. Finding an ATM or business that accepts cards won’t be difficult especially if you are in touristy spots like Montego Bay, Negril etc.
4. Transportation - Most accommodations have complimentary rides to and from the airport, take advantage of those. Some even have complimentary rides to and from popular attractions in the area they are located.
If they don’t offer this service, even at an additional cost, they should be able to recommend private taxi services or tour companies that their guests have used in the past.
I would not recommend car rentals on your first trip, but if you are a seasoned traveller or have been to Jamaica before, then you could try. The Jamaican Taxi service is safe too, but be sure to have a clear idea of where you are going first. You can read more taxi tips here.
5. Walking alone at night - If your hotel is on a very busy street, like the Hip Strip, then you can be out late as there are many people around and your hotel isn’t a far walk from the attractions on the strip. But if you will be walking back “alone” at any point, I would not recommend it.
6. Take the advice of the locals - If a local does not recommend going to a particular area, then my advice is to stay away from it. This advice should come from someone at your resort.
7. Ensure that someone has your itinerary - So, you may not have everything written down to a “T”. But at least when you decide on your plans for the day, let someone know, and I think we should all do this anyway, no matter where we are.
8. Ensure you have an internet connection - Most hotels or other forms of accommodation do have complimentary Wi-Fi, but if you plan to be out and about, ensure that you have a data connection on your phone.
If you plan to be here for only a few days then you can consider roaming. But if you are here for an extended stay, I’ll suggest a Jamaican SIM card.
9. Dress Code - The way you dress is a dead giveaway that you are out of place here. A little secret, the average Jamaican, does not wear their Jamaica-branded clothes that often.
It is usually reserved for Jamaica Day, Independence or some national celebration. So, you can definitely buy and wear them but if you plan on being out and about, just dress casually or for the occasion and you’ll be fine.
10. Use your safe if you have one - Most resorts have a free safe, put all your valuables and important documents inside and use copies of your documents whenever you can. That way you won’t lose the real thing.
Simple jewellery is fine. If you plan to be at the resort all the time then you can get away with doing a little more, but if you plan on seeing the real Jamaica and visiting as many of the sites as possible, then lots of jewellery isn’t necessary.
Besides, most activities will take you to the sea, sky or mud. You won’t need jewellery anyway.
Jamaica is not the place for you to be afraid. Yes, I know you’ve heard about the major crime issue, which sad to say is true, but only to a certain extent. The truth is the average Jamaican is not affected by crime.
The chances of it affecting you are very slim, especially if you exercise caution. Most of it is organised crime and rivals in specific areas that even we as Jamaicans avoid. The same level of caution you would take at home apply it here and have yourself a great relaxing solo trip to Jamaica.
If you fall in love with Jamaica, you may not want to leave. Don't worry here are the steps to apply for an extension to your landing date.
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