THINGS TO TAKE ON VACATION FOR KIDS:
Be sure you have all your children’s prescriptions up to date in well-marked bottles along with an emergency number where their doctor can be reached in the event of an emergency. Take plenty of Sun Screen with a HIGH UV/SPF Protection level number. Antibiotic creams like Neosporin, Polysporin, Tinactin etc. should be added to a First Aid Kit that should also include : Band-Aids (all sizes), iodine, aspirin, children’s fever medication, baby oil, talcum powder, anti-itching creams and antihistamines. Consult your doctor or pediatrician for additional recommendations. Better to take more than not enough. Pharmacies in Jamaica are often poorly stocked even with the most common medicines.
Your clothing selection for children should be kept very simple as most of the time will probably be spent at the beach anyways. Take along two changes of swimming clothes and large beach towels so one will always be clean and dry when needed. The Jamaican sun can be dangerous to your children’s complexion as this is the Tropics. Taking a cap with a large bill or sun hat is highly recommended. A long sleeved cotton shirt, long pants, socks and tennis shoes should be added for the occasionally cool evenings. These clothes can also double for those times when some fancier eating establishments don’t allow beach wear. Rain gear is probably not required as the occasional showers are usually warm and don’t last very long. A windbreaker type jacket is a good idea, however. A very good addition to your packing list would be “water shoes” for each member of the family. They can be purchased usually for under $10 per person adult and children even lower. Many people have kept from experiencing foot injuries both in and out of the water while using them.
TOYS AND GAMES:
Take toys and games that you will be able to leave behind for the local children to enjoy on your departure. Balls of any kind, especially soccer balls, are always a good choice. Beach toys are also very good. Buckets, sand shovels and snorkeling gear (IMPORTANT! Be sure the masks fit snugly and are watertight!) are good choices. Playing cards, coloring books, crayons, reading books and board games are excellent choices for indoor fun. Dominoes, a Jamaican favorite, should be taken as they will help “break the ice” when meeting new friends both for adults and children. Our advice is to take along extra of everything so your children can share and give some as presents to their new friends. Jamaican children are generally very friendly and well mannered.
Availability of all your children’s favorite snacks and foods will probably be limited or, at best, expensive. It is suggested you pack some of their favorites to take with you on your vacation. Jamaican food is generally very good and quite tasty. Most places cook meals to order and understand not to make them too hot and spicy unless you request them cooked that way. Chicken and fish are available most everywhere, however, hamburgers should be ordered only where they are a main menu item (i.e. McDonalds, Burger King etc.). Jamaican establishments do not serve many hamburgers so the meat may tend to be older. Jamaican restaurants tend to take their time to serve customers their meals so take along something to amuse your children while waiting for the food.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR AND AVOID:
The age of your child dictates what problems you or they might encounter in Jamaica. Older children should be cautioned not to get involved with illegal substances or the people who may approach them concerning these substances. Drugs are illegal in Jamaica. Children of all ages should be careful to avoid the few stinging and biting insects that can be found both on land and in the ocean. A listing of these can be found on this Site at: http://www.jamaicans.com/tourist/overview/bites.shtml. Small children have little to worry about if properly supervised. Over exposure to the sun is the most frequent problem. Jamaica is very safe for people of all ages if proper care is exercised.
OTHER HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS:
Many of our readers suggest having your child keep a personal journal or diary of their vacation in Jamaica. Collecting shells and souvenirs to remember your vacation seems to be a favorite. Napkins from restaurants, posters from music events, Jamaican postage stamps, Jamaican money, ticket stubs and all miscellaneous receipts have been suggested as possible keepsakes. Taking supplies for local schools and delivering them in person has been very popular. This experience is beneficial for the giver as well as the school children.