10 Things to Bring on Your Trip to Jamaica
So you bought your airline tickets, check. You received your passport in the mail, check. You double checked with your hotel that your reservation is correct, check. You’ve got the babysitter/dog-sitter scheduled and important phone numbers posted on the refrigerator, check check. Look at you, you’ve got it all together! So have you packed your bags yet? No…hmmm? Need some help…? Ok. No problem.
Jamaica can have some cool nights and steaming hot days. Let’s make sure you have the necessary things to get you through the day. Even if you are at an all-inclusive resort, here are 10 things that you cannot leave at home.
1. Sunscreen. I know this one may seem like a no-brainer, but with the rise of skin cancer, it doesn’t hurt to continue to remind everyone of its importance. If you’re coming from northern countries such as the USA, England, China or Japan, the Jamaican sun may be stronger than what you’re accustomed to given its proximity to the equator. Even if you’re hoping to get the tan of your life, please protect yourself with an umbrella, hat and sunscreen.
2. Insect repellent. Well this one is pretty self-explanatory. Even if you don’t plan on leaving the resort (which we strongly discourage, because then you wouldn’t be utilizing our services, wink wink) you will probably need at least a mild repellent to ward off mosquitos. It is not uncommon to see Jamaicans use candles or if you find yourself in the countryside in the evening, you can ask to borrow someone’s fly zapper. It’s basically a metal net that shocks the mosquitos when they come into contact with the net.
3. Baby wipes, deodorant, baby powder, and hand towel. Did I mention that it’s hot in Jamaica? You’re going to sweat more than you’re used to and trust me, it will come out of nowhere and you will be dripping with sweat without having exerted any energy. Be prepared. Bring extra deodorant as you will use it more often than usual and powder can help you prevent unattractive sweat stains. Now the baby wipes are really important (men may feel more comfortable carrying a hand towel). These moistened cloths come in handy and can be used in many ways. First, if you are out and about, let’s say on a tour with Jamrock Journeys for example, you can use a wipe on your face, arms and chest then let either the cold air from the A/C giving you a quick cool down after an adventurous day or use it in the same way when outside to wipe away sweat and allow the breeze to fly across your body and cool you off for a moment. Lastly, you may find yourself out at a fruit or soup stand or if someone hands you a mango and you’re use to washing your hands before putting food in your mouth, you can use a baby wipe. If you’re eating mangoes, you’ll probably want a few to clean your hands afterwards as well.
4. Snacks. Even if you are at an all-inclusive resort, you never know when you might get hungry for something to nibble on and you may want some comfort foods. Snacks are especially important if you decide to bring children. Children are very picky little people and may not enjoy the wonderful Jamaican cuisines as much as you will. While your special snacks may be accessible in Jamaica, they may not be readily available and your children (depending on their age) may throw a fit while waiting. Let’s face it, nobody wants to deal with that on their vacation.
5. Cash. If you’re like me, you don’t have time to go to the ATM and you swipe your debit/credit card for the teeniest of purchases like a package of gum. Your card is just more convenient and you never have time to go to the ATM. Well, that may work in the US, but don’t count on it in Jamaica. While a lot of places may accept US dollars, they may not always have the right change so it would be a good idea to exchange your cash for Jamaican dollars. The exchange rates fluctuate several times each day, so be sure to check the most current exchange rate closer to your travel date to see how much money you would like to bring.
6. Small Purse/Backpack. I always pack a small bag inside of my luggage for day trips. If you cannot fit everything in your pockets, it’s best to travel light. Sometimes a large beach bag is only convenient if you’re headed directly for the beach. If you’re going on a day tour with Jamrock Journeys, be sure to carry a small backpack for bottled water, extra clothes, towel, sunscreen, baby wipes, bug spray, snacks or whatever you feel you may need during the day. If you’re traveling together, you may want to share bags. Similarly, although big purses may be a trendy style, they’re not practical. Plus if you’re in the city (just like in any city around the world), a big purse is going to be an easier target for theft than if you have a small purse that is close to your body and strapped across your shoulder to the opposite hip. Go ahead and spend that romantic night out with your fiancé or have a girls’ night out, and relax. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself more knowing that your bag is not calling unsolicited attention.
7. Camera, batteries or charger, and a storage disk with plenty of space. While you will want to live in the moment and have fun, you will also want to have visible proof to back up your unbelievable stories about unique experiences and beauty of Jamaica. Be sure to either take extra batteries or your camera’s charger (whichever way your camera operates). There’s nothing worse than wanting to capture the perfect moment on film and have your camera die on you. Uuggh! I also recommend a storage disk with plenty of space because you will find yourself clicking left and right and if there’s something that you only have a split second to snap, you don’t want to miss it because you had insufficient space.
8. Phone. I debated about whether or not to include a phone. Normally, I try to detox from social media and other technology while on vacation, but I also understand that you may want to share your experiences instantaneously with family and friends. And why not? WiFi is available in many restaurants, hotels and other places. Plus now with apps such as What’s App, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with loved ones. So yeah, go ahead and bring your phone and phone charger. Just be sure to leave it in the safe in your hotel and actually enjoy the people around you.
9. Long sleeved shirt and thin pants. Confused? I know, I just drummed in your head-Jamaica is hot, Jamaica is hot, and now I’m telling you to layer your clothes? Well, not quite. You will find that in the evening it does get cool enough to wear a light pair of pants (stay away from jean material) and a light long-sleeved T-shirt. Linen is a great option followed by cotton. What I’ve noticed is that sometimes covering your skin is more effective than using insect repellents. However, the nights often do not get very cool so that’s why the clothing must be thin.
10. Water shoes. If you’re traveling with Jamrock Journeys, you may find yourself in rockier areas of water or in less touristy river locations that do have a rental stand for water shoes. Water shoes help prevent injury from slipping off of rocks and they provide your feet with some cushioned protection against jagged rocks.
Well, that’s what you need in a nutshell. I would love to hear from you. What were some things that you wish you would have brought that you either didn’t think of or forgot? What items did you pack for a trip out of your country that were a waste of space? I hope that you’ve found this list helpful.