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How to Pack for a Trip to Jamaica
Jamaica has a warm climate year around, but you will need to take more than just a bathing suit and sunglasses to be ready for your trip.
Jamaica is an active place with a lot of things to do. Be prepared for every kind of fun you could possibly have there.
The Weather in Jamaica
Jamaica is tropical and the temperature remains constant throughout the year. It ranges from the high 60s to the high 80s with significant amounts of humidity.
The only thing about the weather that changes in Jamaica is how much it rains. Rain is heaviest in May and June, then again in October and November
Most of the time the rain comes in heavy downpours then stops. Hurricane season is July to November. Hurricanes don't hit Jamaica every year, but when they do they can cause a lot of damage.
Pack Your Travel Documents for Jamaica
The first items you should pack for a trip to Jamaica are your travel documents. Every person traveling must have a valid passport. Visa are not required for Americans.
Also pack a second photo ID, airline tickets or e-ticket itinerary, hotel reservation confirmations and rental car reservation confirmations. If minor children are traveling without both parents, it is a good idea to get a notarized "permission to travel" form from the absent parent or parents.
Keep your travel documents on you while you travel. Keep them in your room safe while you are at a resort in Jamaica. If you are traveling outside a resort, it is a good idea to keep your passport with you.
Pack Your Money for Jamaica
Even if you are staying at an all inclusive resort on Jamaica, you will want to have some money with you. You never know when you might want to leave the resort or buy something extra. Take a credit card or two.
They are widely accepted in Jamaica. Also bring an ATM card. You can use it at Jamaican banks and their ATM machines will give you Jamaican dollars. Also bring a small amount of US dollars in small notes.
US dollars are widely accepted and you can use them to bargain at street stalls in Jamaica. Just don't expect to be given change in dollars. Small bills also come in handy for tips.
Airline Baggage Limits for Flights to Jamaica
Airlines limit the size and weight of luggage travelers can take to Jamaica. Most airlines limit travelers to two checked bags and one carry on bag plus a personal item like a small purse or day pack. The size limit for a carry on bag is 45 linear inches. This is the length plus the width plus the height of the bag.
The airline size limit for checked baggage is 62 linear inches. Each bag must also weight 50 pounds or less. It is important to weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport. You can use a bathroom scale, but allow yourself a few spare pounds since airline scales usually say your luggage weighs more.
If you get to the airport and the scale there says your bag weighs more than 50 pounds, you will be taking things out of your bag or paying a hefty surcharge. It is possible to check more than two bags but this is extremely expensive.
Airline Security Restrictions for Jamaica
Airline security for flights to Jamaica is as strict as it is everywhere else. It is forbidden to take any sharp items or large amounts of liquids in your carry on luggage. This includes something as seeming harmless at toenail clippers and a bottle of hand lotion.
You are allowed to take a few small bottles of toiletries on board. They must fit in 3 fluid ounce containers and fit in a single one quart clear zip lock plastic bag.
This is only about 7 inches by 8 inches, so you can't take very much. There are exceptions to the rule for breast milk, baby formula, diabetic glucose solution and other prescription drugs.
Choosing Luggage for Jamaica
Luggage is sold in convenient sizes that accommodate airline size restrictions. Choose a carry on bag that fits the maximum dimensions allowed. Limit what you pack to what can fit in a carry on bag and you wont need to worry about checking luggage. Keep in mind that many airlines now charge extra to check any luggage.
If you must take more, choose bags that fit the maximum dimensions for checked luggage. These can be quite large so there is a danger of packing too much into them and exceeding the weight limit for checked luggage.
Remember to weigh your checked luggage before going to the airport to make sure they don't weigh more than 50 pounds. Be sure these bags have wheels. Even light bags get very heavy when you have to carry them around.
Clothes To Pack for Jamaica
Jamaica is a casual place. T-shirts and shorts are perfectly acceptable in most places. Bring lightweight clothing made of natural fibers that are easy to care for.
The last things you want to do while in Jamaica are fumble with an iron or try to find a dry cleaner. Make sure that all your clothes go together so you can mix and match.
Here is a list of clothes to pack for Jamaica:
- at least 2 bathing suits so one is always dry
- swimsuit cover up for women (this is required at many resorts away from the pool or beach)
- comfortable walking shoes
- sandals or flip flops
- at least 2 pair of long shorts that go to the knee
- several T-shirts
- several button down collared shirts
- sun dresses for women
- at least one pair of jeans or long pants
- hat to keep the sun off of your face
- a sweater, sweatshirt or light jacket for nighttime
- waterproof rain shell
- evening wear if there is a dress code at your Jamaican resort
It is a very good idea to pack a change of clothing in your carry on bag. This will come in handy if your checked luggage is lost or you spill something on yourself during your flight.
How To Pack Clothes for Jamaica
You can pack more inside your bag if you eliminate the air between items. Effective packing can help you with this and keep your items safe and relatively wrinkle free.
Utilize the space inside your shoes by rolling up socks and underwear and shoving them inside. Shoes are heavy and take up a lot of space so they should go on the bottom of the suitcase.
Keep in mind that the bottom is the side of the bag that is down when the bag is standing up. Fit your shoes together top to top and lay them across the bottom.
Next, roll up jeans, pants and shirts. Lay them on top of the shoes. Fill the empty spaces with smaller items like t-shirts, socks and underwear. If you have something fragile, wrap it in your clothes and put it in the middle of your bag.
Other Items to Pack for Jamaica
You will need a few more items that are not clothing to make your trip to Jamaica comfortable and enjoyable. Here is a list:
- mini umbrella
- prescription glasses and a spare
- insect repellent containing DEET
- chargers for your electronic devices
- electric plug adapters
- electricity converter
- snorkel or scuba diving mask
- film or memory cards
- extra batteries
- video camera
- extra videotapes
laptop computer and cables if you plan to download photographs or video while in Jamaica
cellular phone (yours may or may not work in Jamaica depending on your service provider)
Toiletries to Pack for Jamaica
Most hotels and resorts will provide basic toiletries like soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Most also have hair dryers. If you are particular about the brands of these items you use, bring your own.
Be sure to bring an electricity adapter for the hair dryer. Other than that, bring all the toiletries that you normally use. Only bring what you need for your stay in Jamaica. It does not make sense to bring a big bottle of something only to take it home again. Pour your toiletries in travel sized containers.
There is always a danger that toiletries will explode in your bag and damage your belongings. Always place your toiletries inside two zip lock bags. One should be inside the other. This way your items are protected if there is a leak. Always put toiletries in your bag last and place them on top.
Taking Medication to Jamaica
Bring all prescription medication in its original container and keep it with you in your carry on bag. It is also a good idea to bring an extra copy of the prescription in case you need medication replaced while in Jamaica.
Do not attempt to bring illegal drugs in or out of Jamaica. Despite what you may have heard about Jamaica, there are drug laws and you can get in very big trouble if you are caught with illegal drugs.
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