Last month I was able to take the ONLY vacation that I had ALL YEAR to Jamaica. I had 7 trips planned and 2020 was supposed to be my BIG travel year to experience a lot of the destinations that I send my clients to. I whole heartedly believe that as a travel professional and business owner, I should experience what my clients will experience while in destination. It was not my first time traveling to Jamaica, but it was my first time traveling internationally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since I specialize in destination weddings, I wanted to expand my knowledge of wedding professionals in the area so that I can recommend in destination wedding professionals to clients. I also took the time to see several all-inclusive properties while there and ended up staying at 4 different properties to see what they all had to offer.
I knew that traveling internationally would be different than the pre-covid experience, but it was important for me to experience what traveling internationally is now like. The world is opening up, slowly but surely, and I want my clients to be prepared and have a accurate expectation on the “new” travel experience.
I have flown post covid, so I knew what the airport and airplane experience was going to be like. Masks are required at the airport and of course social distancing signs are everywhere just to remind passengers of the guidelines. I flew on American Airlines right into Montego Bay and had the pleasure of staying at several different properties. Those properties were:
- Moon Palace- Ocho Rios
- Breathless Resort and Spa- Montego Bay
- Couples Tower Isle- Ocho Rios
- Couples Negril- Negril
It is SO important to work with a travel advisor to know country entry requirements, and the different implementations that have been put into place. These rules are different for each country and they are constantly changing. At the time that I traveled, I had to provide a negative COVID test within 10 days of travel, as well as obtain authorization from the Jamaican government to enter into the country. Each country has a different test requirement that they want each passenger to have prior to visiting. I know it seems like a lot but I found the process to be easy and straightforward.
Once I arrived in Jamaica, I had to go through customs and immigration. I had purchased Club Mobay prior to my vacation, which is the VIP access that allows passengers to bypass everyone in line and proceed to the front of the line with no wait. I highly recommend this service to all of my clients. It is SOOOO worth it. I was greeted by a staff member who whisked me and my bestie away where I had my forms checked by a customs and immigration official. Having Club Mobay was a HUGE time saver. From offloading the plane to waiting on my transfer probably took in all about 25 minutes. Club Mobay is also available on your departure and they have lounge, where they have comfortable seating, Wifi, free food and drink, including alcohol.
I will say that Jamaica takes the COVID 19 precautions very seriously. I had my temperature taken several times upon my exit off the aircraft, in the airport, at the Club Mobay lounge, and before I got into my private transfer vehicle. Also, airport officials will tell all passengers in each area to hand sanitize and there are hand sanitizing stations EVERYWHERE. They even have hand sanitizing stations that will read your temperature when you place your hand to receive hand sanitizer. I didn’t know they existed. Also, EVERYONE wears a mask. There was not a single person that I saw that was not wearing a mask. I feel ashamed to say this but I felt safer in Jamaica than I did back in my own country.
All of the resorts that I stayed at was compliant and consistent in their Covid-19 procedures during the entirety of my stay. All of the resorts were clean and adhering to the guidelines set forth by the officials. Once you are at the resort, wearing a mask now becomes a personal choice. I chose to wear my mask in the common areas and while walking around the resort. I found that others did too. I felt comfortable not wearing a mask at the beach and pool, where I could social distance from others. All of the resort staff wear masks and protective equipment, 100% of the time. I never saw a resort staff without a mask.
I will say I was a little apprehensive on how the native Jamaicans were going to view US citizens, being that our reputation is tarnished due to our high COVID numbers. Everyone in Jamaica was so happy to see tourists back and they really go out of the way to make sure that you have a great vacation experience.
It is ultimately up to each and every client on whether they feel comfortably traveling. It is important to note that travel does look different than it did a year ago. Everyone has their own comfort levels when it comes to travel. When working with my clients, I always ask to see what their comfort level is in regards to travel. I have clients on very different ends of the spectrum. No matter what end of the spectrum you are on, I will meet you where you are.
I know that some of you are ready to travel and if you are, Jamaica is one of my favorite destinations. If you are ready and want to start the planning process, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is another location that you are wanting to travel to, I am READY to start the planning process and get you one step closer to your destination.
Kendra Carver- Owner, Kendra and Company Travel Agency