When it comes to planning any holiday, you need to look into every single facet of a destination, in order to get the best out of it. Of course, you also need to plan it out to ensure that you don’t forget something important. If you’re travelling with a family in tow, this importance becomes ten times more vital, because you don’t only have yourself to think about.
Jamaica is a destination that many of us have dreamed of visiting at least once in our lives, either on a land-based break or via a cruise. If you choose to stay there for a short time, can you imagine the opulence and the laid-back vibe? You could choose to look at one of the many Jamaica villa rentals with chef services included, and really live it up, island-style!
Jamaica is of course a Caribbean island, and one of the larger ones at that. Sitting pretty, close to Cuba and within very easy reach of other important islands in the chain, Jamaica has a fantastic climate all year around. It’s weather, as well as the many things to see and do have made it a popular spot for honeymoons, but it is also suitable for all types of visitors, including families with small children, or even teenagers. You’re very unlikely to get bored on this chilled out island!
Of course, as with any destination, there are a few things you need to think about before you venture off to the Caribbean, to sample that crystal clear water, grab a glass of rum (when the kids are in bed, of course), and check out the colourful underwater world of marine-life.
Let’s explore the five things you need to know when planning a family holiday to Jamaica!
How to Get There
First things first, how are you actually going to get there? Are you going to fly direct or indirect? If you fly direct, you’ll get there quicker and therefore save on the jetlag, which is vital when you have kids. It could however be that you can’t fly direct from your country of residence, or that it’s simply too expensive to do so. In that case, you’ll need to fly indirect.
Flights to Jamaica can land at several different airports, but for the most popular resort of Montego Bay, you’ll land at Sangster International Airport. Flights here are regular, but usually connect in the USA. You will need to check your visa requirements, but visas for Jamaica aren’t particularly shrouded in red tape. Transit visas through the US however can be tricky depending on where you’re flying from.
Provided your lay-over isn’t too long, flying indirect with children needn’t be a huge drama. Make sure you bring along some books and toys to occupy the kids. You can use the stop-off to freshen up, stretch the legs, use the bathroom, and perhaps grab a meal in the airport restaurants on offer. It really all depends on ease of travel and how much it’s going to cost you to go around the houses a little.
Where to Go and How to Stay
There are a few main areas in Jamaica which will give you the idyllic Caribbean island holiday you’re looking for. These are Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios. There are other areas around, but these aren’t generally geared up for families, so it’s best to stick to these for facilities and family fun.
All of these areas will offer a range of different accommodation choices, and you can decide to rent a villa and go all out sophistication, where everything is catered for you, or you can go for something a little more basic, and serve yourself, coming and going as you please.
It really depends on you as a family, your budget, and the age of your kids. A villa is a good option for young children, because you don’t have to worry about the constant need for planning activities and meals. Just sit back and relax in your own space! You can also arrange excursions around Jamaica, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Not every family wants to holiday that way however, and if you prefer a more independent way of life, then you can opt to arrange it all yourself. Hiring a villa in this case is a good way to do a home away from home kind of holiday on the island.
Immunisations and Sun Safety
Check with your doctor before you venture away to see if you and your family need any immunisations before travelling. Whilst Jamaica is a very well developed island, there are a few immunisations to consider. Obviously, check that everyone’s tetanus is up to date and that your children have had all their injections as recommended. You could also think about typhoid, diphtheria, and hepatitis B immunisations, but again, talk about this with your doctor.
As you will be visiting a tourist part of the island, you shouldn’t need anti-malaria tablets.
Of course, this is a Caribbean island we’re talking about, so sun safety is a must. Make sure you regularly apply sun cream on you and your children, a high factor is a must. Cover heads with hats and keep applying that cream when anyone has been in the water. Remember to drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun between midday and around 3 or 4pm. It’s common sense, but it saves the risk of illness, especially in a place like Jamaica where the sun can be very strong.
When to go
The weather in Jamaica is never really bad, so you can basically plan a holiday whenever you want and expect sun and blue skies. There is a little thing called the Atlantic hurricane season to take into account however, which runs from around June until November. During this time, there is a chance of a hurricane or a storm affecting the island. Whilst all Caribbean islands are very well prepared for such weather, and the chance is relatively low, some people choose not to travel during this time, and instead go for the months outside of the risk zone. It’s really personal choice.
Things to See – Involve The Kids
When you’re planning what to see on your Jamaica break, why not let your kids help out? This will help them become excited about where they’re going, and there won’t be any moan of ‘but I wanted to go there’!
Where to go depends on where you’re staying, but some of the island’s hot spots include Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove, Iris Blue Hole, the Bob Marley Museum, and of course, the beach! Doctor’s Cove beach is a great spot for families.
A family break to Jamaica is certainly going to be something you remember for the rest of your lives, so put in the planning time and make it super-memorable, for all the right reasons.