So like everyone else, once the pandemic eased, we were eager to get our feet wet in terms of travel!
There was no great thought put into where should we go! It had to be Jamaica! But could we do it on a budget? Yes, we could and we did! Read on and you will see how we did it and the super amazing time we had. Honestly, we would recommend Jamaica to seasoned travelers as well as to new travelers. Soaking up in the sunshine was one of the things we were looking forward to. Then of course, there was the food.
Once we had decided on the destination, we worked out rough costs to see if it would be affordable. All the costs were to be divided by two as there were only the two of us traveling. (The young adults are all in university).
The cost we considered were:
- airport transfer
Gifts? Yes if you are Jamaican and going back to Jamaica for holiday, it is an unwritten rule that you must bring back gifts for certain loved ones and friends. lol
We had to be super smart about this. Safety was a top priority, then came the cost and then the proximity to places of interest/relaxation/food, etc. We also like to vary where we stay to maximize the experience. Staying in different parts of this beautiful country is definitely a must. So for the first week, we chose to stay in a gated community in St Catherine. There, our friend was a very good host. She didn’t ask for any payment but of course, we did give her some money to contribute.
The accommodation suited us well. We were secure and comfortable, including air conditioning (a must in Jamaica) and we had our own space, although the rest of the house was accessible too. We had a good time there. We did some of the housework and cooking whilst the family went to work but it balanced out itself in that we received free transport when we needed it.
For the 2nd week, we stayed at a beach resort that we sourced through Air bnb. It too was secure, gave us access to the beach and was in close proximity to the tourist hub of Ocho Rios. Our apartment there was lovely. Amenities provided there included, air conditioning, access to the pool, a stove (although there was no oven), and a fridge and microwave. The bathroom was really small and that was the most disappointing, but all in all, the stay there was good too. We liked that we could go out to eat if we wanted to, or we could cook in our own apartment and have enough food to last for more than a day. Eating out can be quite costly so we saved ourselves some money by going self-catering.
Generally speaking, buying Jamaican food in Jamaica is reasonably priced. To purchase imported food, however, was another matter. The likes of grapes, apples, some imported meats, and other food commodities were quite expensive. Jamaicans have acquired overseas tastes, due to travels and migration and the mixing of cultures, so I do understand the need for the importation of foods. For us though, we had not been to Jamaica for about 4 years and so we longed for Jamaican fruits and other foods. So we indulged ourselves and it did not cost a lot. In addition, friends and family, knowing we must long to taste Jamaican fruits brought us some whilst we were there. So again, we saved on food costs.
We were absolutely blessed to find reasonably priced airline tickets with TUI. They had a sale going on and I suspect there will be more since covid restrictions are easing in most destinations. I suppose they were trying to get as many people as possible to venture back out to travelling. It was good too, that the flight was a direct flight from Birmingham (we live in Birmingham) to Montego Bay Jamaica. In previous years, we would have had to factor in the cost to travel to London to get the flight and on the return trip, the cost of travel from London to Birmingham. So again, we saved there too. The flight was ok.
Airport transfer can be costly and well as risky especially if you do not personally know the people who are to pick you up. As our host would be at work during the day, she was not able to pick us up from the airport so we opted to support a small business. We met a couple (through YouTube); they started their airport transfer business after starting up their channel and we wanted to support them. To be fairly honest, we did not compare the quote they gave us with any other, we went with them because they are public figures so we would feel safe and also, like I have said, we wanted to offer our support.
We are not entertainment junkies to be brutally honest. We don’t go to parties, dances, live entertainment, sky diving etc so. We are chilled people who can find entertainment in the simple things of life like looking at nature or walking on the beach. We entertain each other with our jokes and we are known to laugh at ourselves or other funny situations, so entertainment for us was not a big cost factor in Jamaica. There were enough people to see and places to go that were free. We brought our own board games, played games with friends, recorded events happening around us and had a blast doing it. We have a YouTube channel where we chronicle the trip. That was quite entertaining and we think you will enjoy it so have a look here.
Although we weren’t crazy on entertainment, we wanted to enjoy what we could before old age set in and prevent us from doing so.
Those who know you are coming, if they are family or friends of yours, expect that you will bring them back something from the land of plenty (UK) and so you cannot disappoint. Not wanting to disappoint or spend too much, we opted to shop for jewellery in places like Primark or charity shops, and for clothes, Shein or Primark. The recipients loved what they got and we did not overspend on those. Bulkier items would cost a lot, and weigh a lot which would have incurred costs at the airport. So again we were wise in our choices and we are happy that we were.
So yes, we had a really good two weeks vacation time in Jamaica. As I write, we are uploading the videos of the experience to YouTube. Be sure to check them out and if you do like the content, then please give a thumbs up and also subscribe. We would love to have you as the newest member of our little online family. Until next time, cheerio.
Jo and Leisa
Here are some Jamaican recipes to try: