Forget what your friends say, what you have read, or what you have heard, pack your bags and experience Jamaica. Every since that movie (you know the one I mean), came out in the 1990’s, single female travel to Jamaica has come under scrutiny. Far from increasing and encouraging it, this movie well may discourage the shy shrinking violet of the “fairer sex”. Throw away the stigma and pack your bags for one of the most “lady-friendly” spots on our planet.
My friend, Angelia Hairston and I (Marilyn Williams), would like to introduce you to the beautiful Island of Jamaica, WI. Extensive research of the Caribbean Island finds that all roads lead back to Jamaica. Jamaica will offer you more for the money, more excitement, more geographical vistas, more wonderful people, more diverse shopping experiences, and more reasons to return.
My first trip to Jamaica was made with a rather quiet and withdrawn female traveling companion. Jamaica did not work her magic on my friend as she did on me. Two months later I was frantically trying to find someone to return with me. Having no takers, I had to go solo. This would only be the second trip I had taken alone in my life, and not to mention I was going international.
To travel to Jamaica you will need a valid passport, or an original copy of your birth certificate. If you opt for the birth certificate, and you are married or divorced (therefore your name is different than that on the birth certificate), then it is best to carry along a copy of your marriage license/divorce decree. I have never been asked for these documents personally, but another female traveler on the board mentioned a problem in this area.
My rule of thumb for finances in Jamaica is to carry $100.00 for everyday I plan to be on the island. Please don’t panic…. you will by no means spend that per day, but I like to have that cushion just in case. Traveler’s checks will work for you fine in Jamaica and are probably advisable, but I don’t like them personally. I have two friends who travel solo and they bring their ATM cards and very little cash. There are ATM machines in all of your major cities, so they go get cash in little dribbles as needed.
Most hotels and resorts in Jamaica offer in-room safes for a fee. These may give you some peace of mind, but guard your safe key carefully. A lady traveler, who attended Bashment in Negril, was robbed by a gentleman she invited to her room for the evening. I must hasten to mention that he was a fellow tourist and NOT a Jamaican.
This is probably as good a place as any for me to mention that you still must remember everything your mother taught you and apply it in Jamaica as you would at home. All cautions are still on here even though you are on “vacation.”
You will land in bustling Montego Bay and be whisked away to seven miles of perfectly beautiful beach and exciting non-stop nightlife. But Negril is not the only destination in Jamaica. The entire Island is traveler friendly; therefore it is “lady friendly.”
- All the men aren’t Romeos intent on separating you from your hard earned money. Caution errs on the side of reason when it comes to courtship on ANY vacation. Can you really find your “soul mate” in 5 days???? When leaving your hotel or resort with a friend for any reason let someone at the hotel know whom you are going out with. Try to insure that your bellman or front desk sees your “date” escort you from the property. I know you are a big girl, but you are out of your comfort zone.
- Jamaica is NOT full of crime. Very little if any crime against tourist is reported in a given year. The data probably is not nearly as bad as your hometown. Use all the cautions you use at home regarding your person/valuables. Don’t get hypnotized by the cool breeze and beautiful ocean and leave your purse, passport, or $400.00 camera lying around unattended.
- Leave your expensive jewelry at home. Why take a chance, and no one there is impressed with things like that. They will be more impressed with your smile and goodwill.
- Pack light. No sequined dresses required. Comfortable casual clothes and shoes, wraps and swimsuits, and one nice “club” outfit should get you through your Jamaican adventure.
- Make some friends, Jamaican friends, and get out and experience the country. You can get some great references from people on Jamaicans.com or from the Jamaica Visitor’s Bureau.
- Hire drivers, you don’t want to try to drive in Jamaica, especially not on your first trip.
- Check with your fellow board members for lodging and tour recommendations.
- Purchase one of the little waterproof money carriers that you can wear around our neck when swimming/diving etc. I bought mine at a dive shop and it comes in very handy for all the water situations you will find in Jamaica.
- Check with fellow board members for the name and number of good local drivers. If you use the ones lined up at the door of your hotel/resort they are likely to overcharge you as they owe a kickback to the hotel.
- Ask your fellow boardites for tips on excursions in your destination area. They can help you secure transportation and give you and idea of approximate cost. Plan as many of these before your trip as possible it will make for a more relaxing trip.
- Remember to be courteous and respectful in Jamaica. By in large, the treatment you give is the treatment you will receive.
- Tipping in Jamaica is 10-15%. Tip where deserved and follow your conscious. Unfortunately, All-inclusive resorts do not allow tipping, and if the employee is caught accepting your tip their job could be in jeopardy. Use caution.
Relax…and let Jamaica enfold you in her loving embrace and suck all of that female stress right out of your body. Nowhere else on earth can do it like Jamaica.