Jamaica is a gorgeous island, and usually one of the first that pops into your head when you imagine a Caribbean vacation. With beautiful beaches, mesmerizing waterfalls, serene backdrops, and amazing all-inclusive resorts, this island is suitable for just about any traveler - from couples to friends to families.
If you’ve already decided that Jamaica is the destination for you, you may need some help figuring out what to pack for your Jamaican vacation. We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ve listed all the things you’ll want to bring along for the best trip to Jamaica, no matter who you’ll be traveling with!
Even before you pull out your suitcases, there are a few things you should think about as they will very likely influence what you’ll pack for Jamaica. Here are the top considerations:
Naturally, you will want to pack a little differently if you are going to Jamaica on vacation versus going for business. Plus if you’ll be celebrating something special, such as your honeymoon, then that will also influence some of the items you might want to bring (our honeymoon packing list can help you figure that out!). Think about why you’re going and what you plan on doing before you start throwing things into your bags.
What you’ll pack for your Jamaica vacation will depend on the purpose of your trip, as well as who you will be traveling with. If you’ll be going to Jamaica for a couple's trip, for example, then you’ll have to factor in things you’ll both need. If you’ll be traveling as a family, then your packing essentials are likely to be different as well. You may need to bring quite a few more things if you’ll be taking your Jamaican vacation with children or a baby, than you would for a solo trip, a couple's getaway, or a vacation with friends.
Expert tip: The more people you are packing for, the more frustrating things can get. Use our handy family beach vacation packing list to make packing as breezy as your beach destination!
Where you’ll be staying is an important consideration when it comes to packing for any vacation. If you’ll be staying at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, find out what will be provided at the resort. In many cases, you’ll be able to pack lighter for an all-inclusive vacation as you won’t need to bring along items like a hairdryer, towels, or most toiletries, which are usually included in your room. When booking, check the list of inclusions so you don’t overpack.
The time of year you’ll be traveling can provide some insight into what to pack as well. Mid-December until April is the peak time to travel to Jamaica and during this time of year there are usually more activities going on on the island that might influence what you want to pack. Though the weather in Jamaica is mostly sunny year-round, it is worth keeping in mind when packing that June is the hottest month (maximum temperatures averaging about 88°F), and January tends to be the coldest (still warm at about 84°F) -- in Caribbean terms anyway! Overall, the best time to go to Jamaica is during the peak season.
Expert tip: Excited about your vacation and can’t wait to start planning? Here’s how to plan a family vacation – with some amazing tips to get you there sooner!
Packing is one of the most exciting things to do ahead of your vacation as it gives the sense that your adventure is just around the corner. If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, here are some of the things you won’t want to forget:
International travel usually requires that all travelers bring along their passports. Travelers often ask: do you need a passport to go to Jamaica? The answer to that question is yes! You’ll absolutely need a passport book to travel to Jamaica. You’ll also need to ensure that, by the time you travel, your passport will be valid for at least another six months after your date of departure. You should take a look at the validity date on everyone’s passports before booking your vacation.
Plane tickets are among the first things you’ll need to organize when planning a trip to Jamaica. You should print out the confirmation pages for all the travel plans you’ve made. This includes flight tickets/boarding passes and hotel arrangements. Depending on your air provider, you may be able to safely store your tickets and flight information in your phone and pull the information up when needed. However, a hard copy is good to have as a backup in case of technical difficulties. It can also be useful to confirm whether any forms or information need to be printed out ahead of time.
If you’ll be staying at an all-inclusive resort, you won’t need to spend any money on food, drinks, or activities, but it is still a good idea to bring along some cash for tipping or to buy things at the airport. Additionally, the extra cash may come in handy if you want to arrange a special treat at your resort or purchase souvenirs.
As a rule of thumb, always bring a change of clothes in your carry-on, just in case your luggage gets delayed. This is important when traveling to Jamaica or anywhere else. If this is a family trip, ensure that everyone in your party has some spare clothing in their carry-on as well.
A functional blue or black ink pen is a travel essential as you’ll need to fill in various immigration-related forms once you arrive in Jamaica. Remember to save the address and contact details for your accommodation in Jamaica as you’ll need this information to fill out your arrival forms.
Medication is definitely one of those things you don’t want to go without while on vacation. Fill your prescriptions ahead of time so you won’t find yourself scrambling to get your medication in a foreign country. You may also have difficulty finding the same medicine brands in Jamaica as you normally use in the U.S. since prescription medications there are largely based on the British system.
Travel insurance can come in handy for a number of reasons, but especially in the event that you lose your luggage or if your flight is canceled. Some travel insurance policies cover medical expenses as well.
While still in the realm of insurance, it can be useful to travel with your health and life insurance card. These documents may become important in the event of an emergency.
Expert tip: Staying at one of the all-inclusive kid-friendly resorts while in Jamaica can lessen your packing load significantly. All-inclusive resorts also make it easy for parents to plan dinners with kids without having to leave the resort!
When traveling with babies it's always a good idea to bring more things than you think you’ll need, especially where clothing is concerned. Pack a few extra sleepsuits and outfits just in case!
When packing diapers for a trip with your baby, you can either bring enough for the entire trip or pack enough to last a few days before you can find a store to buy some more. Some babies can average seven diapers a day, while others may use more or less. You can judge this for yourself by paying attention to how many diapers you use a day ahead of your trip. If it makes you more comfortable, you can also ask your resort where you’ll be able to purchase more diapers, if needed, while there. As for swim diapers, one for every beach encounter is likely all you’ll need. You can also opt for reusable swim diapers in which case 2 should do just fine.
Bottles, water bottles, or sippy cups are a few of the items you don’t want to leave behind when traveling with a baby or toddler. You’ll need a water bottle or sippy cup especially if you’ll be going on any tours or spending the day at the beach or pool.
Expert tip: Packing the right things is essential when traveling with a baby or toddler. Here are our picks of the best toddler beach toys.
Electronic gadgets like phones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers are a great source of amusement while traveling, especially with kids. These will come in handy to keep the kids entertained while on a flight, and also during any wait times at the airport. Don’t forget to pack chargers as well!
The Caribbean is known for its hot temperatures, so sunblock is an absolute must. If you plan on spending lots of time outdoors, you can avoid burns by applying sunscreen to yourself and your kids before you head to the beach, pool, on tours and any other time you’ll be out in the sunshine. Consider getting waterproof sunscreen as this can lessen the number of times you’ll need to reapply throughout the day.
Staying hydrated will be super important during your Caribbean vacation. Bring along your own water bottles or insulated mugs so you don’t have to go looking for these once you arrive in Jamaica. Bringing your own reusable bottles helps the environment, and may also save you from having to find somewhere to buy a bottle of water every time you get thirsty.
A good beach bag is spacious and preferably has a few compartments to store everything you need for your beach day. Look for a beach bag made with a material that won’t damage easily, and can also be used to store kiddie stuff if needed!
A beach blanket (or a few!) will be useful for some beachside comfort and relaxation. It can also serve the kids well when they need a much-needed break from all the running around and splashing in the ocean. Beach blankets are better than towels because they tend to be more spacious, providing room for more people to sit or lay on them at once. Bringing along a beach blanket will also mean that you likely won’t have to bring as many towels!
No one wants to have to dry off in a soggy towel after one too many dips in the pool or ocean. Avoid this by looking into quick-dry towels which you can bring along with you on your trip. These types of towels will not only be ideal for the pool or the beach, but they’ll also be especially useful when you’re out on excursions and too far from your hotel room to quickly grab a new one.
It’s always a good idea to bring some toys, games, or books along when traveling to a foreign destination with children. Chances are, if they’re older, they’ll already know what they want to bring. Let older kids pick out their favorites, as long as the items are lightweight. Choose some favorites for younger kids and babies too as this will help keep them entertained and happy during your stay.
Insider tip: All-inclusive resorts in Negril and Ocho Rios appeal to families traveling with kids because they allow you to pack less. They provide lots of quality inclusions such as day and night entertainment, land and water sports, unlimited food and drinks, luxury accommodation and so much more, making them the ideal resorts for families.
There are a few more things you might want to bring along when traveling to Jamaica with your family. Things like luggage tags, first aid kits, and … well, you’ll see where we’re going with this!
Skip the part of your trip where you make yourself crazy at the baggage claim trying to figure out which bag in the sea of swirling luggage is yours. A distinctive luggage tag is a vacation must and will help you retrieve your bags without the extra stress!
It’s always useful to travel with a first-aid or medical kit when traveling for vacation. There are travel-sized ones that you can pack if you don’t have much space, but you should still make sure that you have all the essentials. Your kit should include any medications you might need like pain relief and allergy medications, which are always good to have available. Band-aids are a must-have in a first-aid kit as well.
It will be hard to avoid bugs and mosquitoes entirely while in Jamaica, so you’ll definitely be doing yourself a favor by taking some bug repellant spray with you! Many all-inclusive resorts will provide this amenity with your room, so feel free to check with your resort ahead of time.
Keep all your devices in one place while on vacation by bringing along a multi-port charger. This will help ensure that you don’t leave any devices or chargers behind when it's time to go.
Capture those special moments in stunning Jamaica even while you’re in the water by bringing along a waterproof or underwater camera. This will be a great item to have if you plan on snorkeling or scuba diving as you’ll be able to relive some of the underwater sights when you get home.
A waterproof pouch is one of those things that many people don’t think about until they need it but can’t find one while on vacation. Spare yourself the inconvenience by packing this early as it will come in handy to keep your devices like e-readers, phones, or iPads dry when by the pool or on the beach. Your waterproof pouch can also be used to keep your cash dry.
Expert tip: Planning on diving while in the Caribbean? Here’s what you need to know about scuba diving in Jamaica!
You shouldn’t begin your awesome vacation in Jamaica by stressing over what to pack. This Jamaica packing list will help to make the process as smooth as possible, so you can start off on the right foot. Focus on planning a vacation to remember and remember to relax.
Speaking of relaxation… an all-inclusive style family vacation can help take away some of the stresses that can come with traveling with children. Caribbean waterpark resorts often include meals, drinks, and anytime snacks, as well as fun game arcades, a waterpark with giant slides, water cannons, a soda swim-up bar, kids camps, and professional nanny services! So basically, all you’ll need to do is pack and you’ll be well on your way to the fabulous trip you’ve always dreamed of (swaying palm trees included)!
Expert tip: Planning a vacation in Jamaica? Here’s a list of Jamaica travel dos and don’ts that you need to know before traveling to the island. Also, we’ve got a list of the best beaches in Jamaica that you’ll probably want to check out too!