What NOT To Do In Jamaica
18 Top Tips To Keep You Safe, Save Money, and Enjoy Your Vacation
What Not To Do In Jamaica
by Wellesley Gayle,
Are you visiting (or vacationing in) Jamaica but is a bit anxious (or even nervous) about making some costly mistakes?
As your buddy, I've done some research for you and now present you with my top tips for keeping safe, saving money, building friendships and enjoying the vacation you truly desire.
Yes, there are a myriad great reasons why over 4 million persons visited Jamaica last year, more than the population of the country, but it pay to play it safe at all times.
TOP TIPS ON MONEY MANAGEMENT
- Don’t take around large sums of cash
That's actually a no-brainer. At the least of it, you become
uncomfortable and it will show - turning you into an easy target. Also
carry smaller bills vs larger bills.
In the same breath, don't
forget to declare cash and negotiable items greater than US$ 10,000 to
Jamaican Customs while entering or leaving the country. (Get more Jamaican money exchange tips on the website as well)
- Don't carry around only US or foreign denominations
Always keep some Jamaican currency. Although most suppliers in the resort/tourist areas trade in the USD, and other major currencies, you'll find you can pay in Jamaican dollars as well, more so, you can use the Jamaican Dollars for tips, local transportation etc.
- Don’t Exchange Your Currency At The Hotel Or Airport
I might very well get some stick for this, but it is the truth. Don't use the the man on the street either.
and airport rates are usually poor. Exchange only what you need then
and exchange the rest at a reputable cambio.
And the man on the street?
Well you may very well get a higher rate, but your money can easily be swindled from you.
- Don't Waste Money On Dinner
OK, let me qualify that :-)
In many Jamaican restaurants, the price for the same or similar menus is vastly different between lunch
I know one, a Chinese restaurant in Montego Bay, that serves
lunch specials for just about $5.5 USD, or equivalent, but the same
dinner menu goes for upwards of USD $17.
- Don't Use Traveller's Checks in Jamaica
Use ATM’s instead. Minimize transaction fees by making fewer and larger withdrawals. Store the cash safely in your money belt before exiting the booth. ATM’s give the best possible rates of exchange and you can get your cash fast. (WorldTogetherTravel.com)
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TIPS ON PERSONAL SAFETY
- Don't Wander Off By Yourself
I recommend that you travel with friends or a driver/ tour guide. This again is true regardless of where in the world you are.
- Don’t take expensive jewelry/ items on trips or excursions.
Ideally, don’t take them on your trip at all. We have had too many of these horror stories. Many of the excursions and attractions don't necessarily have secure lock boxes.
- Never forget to make photocopies of your ID(s) in case of loss
That speaks for itself but also never forget to give your friends or
family your contact information or itinerary - just in case of an
- Watch The Road!
Be extra careful when crossing the street. We have several examples of drivers stopping to allow pedestrians to cross only to be mauled over by another driver who didn't see what was happening.
- Don't Be Shy, Ask Questions
Don't forget to question your tour,
resort or adventure operator about safety standards and relevant
licenses. This is important should anything go wrong.
example, do ensure that proper vests, life jackets and safety equipment
are provided before going on a water excursion or expedition. I’ve
personally had a bad experience here that you can avoid by just doing
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TIPS ON RELATIONSHIPS
- Shopping? Don't be afraid to bargain or ask for discounts!
Feel free to do so, don’t be afraid, Jamaicans almost expect you to bargain, in fact, we are good at it too!
- In the same breath... Don't be afraid to politely say no.
You might be approached by people selling wares, souvenirs and various services. If you're not interested in purchasing anything, just say so firmly and politely and you will be left alone.
- Don't Assume All Jamaicans Are The Same
In particular, don't expect that everyone in Jamaica smokes or is interested in smoking. The truth is most Jamaicans don't smoke!
- Don't be offended by Religious beliefs/ practices
In fact, I encourage you to embrace it as you explore the richness of
the Jamaican culture.
Jamaicans, in general, are religious (primarily
Christians) so please don’t be offended if a bible verse is quoted or someone says ‘Lord have mercy’ when you think it probably unwarranted.
Please take some time to understand our culture, the way of life and the do’s and dont's. Understanding and respecting them could make a world of difference to your trip.
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HEALTH/ GENERAL TIPS
- Don't Only Dress For The Beach
It still surprises me that many visitors still envisage Jamaica as just sand, sea and fun! Note that outside of resort areas or on a beach, a swimsuit is not considered appropriate clothing.
Some businesses will actually post their dress code in a notice on their premises, but most require at least a shirt and shorts.
- Don’t forget to carry your insect repellent as a precaution
Depending on the season and /or where you are staying; there
might be some mosquitoes and ‘see-ums’ at nights. In the same breath, don’t leave your sunscreen lotions in the days either.
- Don't forget your drinking water on the road.
You'll need lots of it, particularly during excursions.
- Don't discount the value of a trusted local guide or friend.
Not only will you get to see more of the real Jamaica, they know the best and cheapest local places.
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That's it! My top tips on staying safe, saving more, building relationships and having a great vacation in Jamaica land we love. If you find it helpful, please be sure to share it with someone who might find it helpful.
Be sure to read my article on safety in Jamaica and top places to visit in Jamaica for additional insights.
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About The Author
A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
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