Tips for Traveling to Jamaica

Hello there! Where in the world have I been you might be wondering. Well, it feels like everywhere! Since I last posted I’ve gone on my whirlwind trip to Jamaica, and it seems like I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off ever since! I’m slowly but surely catching up on things, and finally have my thoughts and photos gathered to start sharing some new locales with you. First up? Jamaica! For the next month or so, I’ll be sharing information on Sandals & Beaches resorts in Jamaica. These posts will be a bit different than my typical trip posts, since I gathered the photos and info on a business trip. But I trust you’ll still love seeing the photos and using all the info to help with your vacation.

At the end of last month I attended a training with my host travel agency and Sandals & Beaches Resorts. I’m excited to share that I am officially a Certified Sandals Specialist, and am ready to bring you the best service and deals to any Sandals & Beaches resort. Along with the training, we toured 7 properties in a matter of a couple of days! It was exhausting to say the least, but so exciting to be able to bring back this first hand knowledge to my clients. During the trip, I fell immensely in love with the Sandals brand, and all that they stand for. I’m going to have incorporate the brand into a major campaign I’ll be having next month, and can’t wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, I want to start out this Jamaica series sharing a few things I learned traveling to & from the island.

Time Tracking
One of the biggest things I’ve learning is during Daylight Savings Time, Jamaica is on Central Time. A huge perk for me being that we are Central Time at home. The changes in time zones are always a kicker when traveling. I didn’t completely avoid a time change, however. Since there was not a direct flight from Dallas to suit my schedule, I had a layover in Miami, a one hour time difference from home. Though not a huge difference, it is easy to get mixed up. To keep my time on track when traveling, I do a few things. I always wear a watch, especially when flying and changing planes. I keep my watch on home time to keep up with when it is appropriate times to call home and keep up with flight times with originating and home flight times. Secondly, on my iPhone, I keep the Clock App with the World Clock handy. I enter in Dallas to show home time, my destination to keep up with its time, and any connecting airport I may be flying into. Essentially, I could do without the watch and just use the Clock App, but I like having the watch handy.

Arriving in Jamaica + Club MoBay
Upon my arrival at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, I was greeted by a friendly staff member of Club MoBay. Club MoBay, as well as Club Kingston (at the airport in Kingston), is an airport perk of Jamaica’s airports. You purchase the package ahead of time. The package grants you expedited & escorted processing through customs and use of the club lounge. You can purchase an arrival, departing, or round trip package. I cannot recommend this enough! I never waited in line at customs, like at all, and the departure lounge was wonderful! If anything, I recommend the package for a time saver through customs. Your time should be spent on the beach, not the customs line! Note: if you are staying at Sandals or Beaches, you receive access to their airport lounge. However, I really do still recommend Club MoBay for the fast track through customs. If you are interested in the Club MoBay package for your Jamaican vacation, contact me, and we can get you set up.

Airport Transfers
With any location, I recommend arranging round-trip airport transportation prior to arrival. It can streamline your traveling, give you piece of mind, and helps keep during-travel-expenses to a minimum (I’m a pay as much as I can in advance kind of girl–less surprises that way). You’ll also want to double check to see if your resort, if you are staying at one, offers airport shuttle service. Many all-inclusive resorts offer this service, so to keep you from paying extra for something you don’t need, check with your resort. Of course, when you book travel with me, all of these things are lined out for you. 😉 Now, while we are on the subject of airport to resort and back transportation, let’s talk that Jamaican bus ride. I had quite the ride from Montego Bay to my resort in Ocho Rios. It wasn’t a bad ride, bad driver by any means. It is just long & sometimes winding, especially in a bus. When making that ride, I highly recommend popping a motion sickness medicine like Dramamine to alleviate any sickness. You don’t want to arrive in paradise sick as a dog. Also, be on the look out for goats, not that you could miss them, they are literally everywhere!

I know this sounds silly, but it is so super humid in Jamaica, especially in the summer months. Drinking lots and lots of water will help you keep in tip top shape while on your vacation. If you are outdoors a lot, which I hope you will be enjoying everything Jamaica has to offer, you will be sweating, a lot! Drink and keep lots of water with you at all times. Just thank me later!

U.S. Customs
This is obviously at tip for your return home, but it just might be the most important. Download the U.S. Customs and Border Protection app, Mobile Passport. This allows you to complete your customs forms on the app, then, well until this becomes the streamlined norm, puts you in a line for “mobile app” users at customs. You bypass completing the paper form, bypass the kiosks, and bypass that long line, heading straight for the customs agent. Though the U.S. Customs line runs fairly quickly, you really never know! Though you may not always be as luck as I was, this app at least puts you ahead of the game in waiting. Of course this app is good from any destination you are coming from, not just Jamaica, when entering the U.S. Download it, and, again, thank me later!

Hopefully these tips will help you with your Jamaican vacation, as well as other Caribbean destinations. As always, if you are antsy to plan your vacation, give me a shout, and we can get started on booking your dream trip! You can also view more information on the resorts I visited on my Sandals & Beaches Resorts sites. See you back again soon with more details on my trip to Jamaica!


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