When you think of a Jamaican family trip, you imagine aqua waters, pristine white beaches and tropical drinks. But without the proper safety precautions, your dream vacation can quickly become a nightmare. Like many Caribbean destinations, Jamaica lacks many of the safety precautions considered standard in the United States, making it easier to experience an unfortunate incident if you’re not careful.
1. Don’t Relax Information Security
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean thieves won’t commit identity theft. Call and write your credit card company before leaving for vacation, and tell them the hotel you’re staying in. Without prior notification, the company may assume identity theft and automatically lock your credit card information. Notifying them prior to your trip will help prevent unexpected hassles, but also make them aware of any suspicious activity that could occur.
Avoid bringing unnecessary electronic devices to Jamaica. A lost iPad is bad enough, but a stolen iPad with your stored bank and credit card information can become disastrous. Purchase an identity protection plan from a comprehensive service like Lifelock is also a smart option. Identity protection can help monitor networking and immediately alert you of any suspicious activity.
2. Consult Hotel Reviews
Jamaica is a well-known hotspot for American tourists, which means there’s plenty of high-quality, luxury resorts available. Some hotel accommodations are sub-par with proper safety measures- it’s better to know what you’re getting before you arrive in Jamaica. Pictures and websites don’t tell the whole story. Instead, use travel reviews from previous guests to determine the quality of the facility. Call the hotel directly and ask about hotel security (locks, gates, private keys, etc.) any well-run facility will be more than happy to answer your custom concerns.
3. Be Inconspicuous When Outside the Hotel
As a general rule, walking through major urban areas, such as Kingston or Montego Bay, is advisable only if you’re willing to tone down your appearance. Leave the jewelry, expensive sunglasses and couture handbag at home. Wearing such status symbols is like wearing a flashing arrow for the many pickpocket thieves waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. But if you decide to carry a camera and cell phone, take the extra steps on public transportation or while strolling through a market to ensure your belongings are safe. These guys are professionals, so don’t assume you would know if they reached into your bag. Instead, turn your backpack around so it covers your torso and belly, and fold your arms over the front. Always remember to keep cash in a money pouch under your shirt.
4. Avoid Staying Out After Dark
This is especially important in urban areas. Crime and crime prevention are unequally matched forces in Jamaica, and your best defense against any potential threats is the law. Make travel plans, cab, bus etc.
5. Obtain Travelers Insurance
Travel insurance packages can include everything from lost or stolen items to medical recovery. While it’s best not to travel with expensive personal items, sometimes it’s unavoidable. The right policy will replace the cost of such items damaged during your vacation in Jamaica. Even in major urban areas, medical care in Jamaica is limited and can be insufficient for your needs. Purchasing medical travelers insurance will allow you to be evacuated promptly back to the United States for treatment, with few complications or bureaucracy.
Bio: Aubrey Boone
Aubrey studied in Los Angeles with some of the finest chefs. She started documenting her experiences and now contributes to various foodie blogs.