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How I Overcame Travel Hesitancy, with a trip to Jamaica.

Feeling anxious about traveling out of the country? Me too. But I went anyway.

By victoria patricoloPublished 2 years ago 8 min read
Jamaica Grande Montego Bay

Are you experiencing travel hesitancy? If so, I completely understand. The whole world understands. It’s real, prior to our last trip to Jamaica. I was feeling very anxious and doubtful. I guess it was fear. The fear of traveling to another country and testing positive, unable to re-enter the United States until getting a negative Covid-19 test result.

What would I do if I tested positive? Where would I stay? Would I have enough money to stay the length of time needed until I tested negative? I wasn’t even thinking about being sick overseas. But, what if I did get sick? Would there be health care available to me and my family? What if I was negative and my husband was positive? Would I leave him there on his own…hmmm maybe? A million questions and doubts swarmed through my head.

The biggest question is would I let the fear get the best of me? Would I let it keep me from living my life? I decided it wasn’t going to prevent me from moving forward. What kind of life would that be? Even when I was unemployed during the pandemic I still lived my life and did the things that made me happy. Taking the appropriate precautions, eating right, taking supplements For me travel is too important, I love it too much to not make it a part of my life.

The Prep.

I scheduled our Covid tests and followed all the procedures we needed to complete in order to travel to Jamaica. We began with the Visit Jamaica website and filling out the travel authorization forms online. We had to have a negative test result within 72 hours of traveling to Jamaica. Our tests came back within 24 hours. In order to return to the United States, the same was required. A negative test within 72 hours of traveling to the United States. To keep informed on the latest requirement for Covid visit the travel.state.gov website.

Ok, well so far so good. We decided that as long as there were no hiccups we would continue to proceed with the trip. We mentally prepared ourselves for whatever would come our way, accept it, and go with it.

Our departure day arrived, It was a chilly Autumn morning. We were bundled up and masked up. As our flight neared the island, we were getting very excited. It was a brief getaway the week before Thanksgiving. This is such a great time to travel to the Caribbean. Even under normal circumstances. It’s the end of hurricane season and before the busy winter season. Nature is at its peak. The flowers are in full bloom the waterfalls are flowing.

We had purchased the package over the summer for a very reasonable deal and were scheduled for August, but my husband needed to renew his passport. The passport office is very backed up and It took 12 weeks to arrive. We didn’t anticipate the delay and had to reschedule for a later time. Glad we did.

The Arrival

We must have been the first flight to arrive into Montego Bay that morning. Or it could have been a result of Covid and no one was traveling. Whatever the reason, the airport was empty. The staff was smiling and greeted us with a warm welcome. I knew immediately we made the right decision to take the trip. The airport was spotless and it seemed every time you turned around someone was squirting you with hand sanitizer. They kept us moving along. We were swiftly directed to the Island Route’s desk for our transfer.

The Resort

Our package included a private transfer service with Island Routes Vacations. One of the largest tour operators in the Caribbean. They represent local tour operators and offer an array of tours from ziplining adventures to cultural experiences.

We were staying at the Jamaica Grande Montego Bay, A Playa Resort. There are 5 Playa Resorts in Jamaica.

Hilton Rose Hall

Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

Jewel Grande Montego Bay

Jewel Paradise Cove Adult Resort

Check-in was delightful and pleasant. The staff always put their hands on their heart to welcome their guests. They were genuinely happy to see us. We checked in and they took care of our bags. We were also upgraded to butler service and Remon, showed us around the resort while our room was getting

We had a delicious breakfast and before we finished, our room was ready. Remon made sure our luggage was delivered to our Ocean Front room with a balcony. This vacation was getting better by the minute. It was the right decision to come.

We were happy to hear all the restaurants and facilities were open. The best part for me, and this is purely optional if you test positive while at the resort, for an additional 30.00 per person you can quarantine in your room until your test results came back negative. This policy or similar ones have been implemented by many resorts throughout the Caribbean. Make sure to check prior to travel. For us, this was a no-brainer and a big relief. I no longer had to worry if one of us tested positive in Jamaica. We could stay on the property in our room until we tested negative to return to the states at minimal costs. And the resort would handle everything. They had a testing facility right at the property and scheduled us at check-in. This was the right decision to come to Jamaica.

Ocean View Room

The Plan

The plan for the next few days was simple. I reserved an evening tour to the luminous lagoon. It was about 2 hours. And the lagoon was not far from Montego Bay. The tour included transfers. Most Island Routes tours include pickup and drop off at your resort.

Luminous Lagoon is a boat ride, at night. The captain will take you to the middle of the lagoon, where you jump in and swim around. Water shoes are essential. As you splash around the lagoon, phosphorus elements in the water, light up a mystical, magical blue trail. It’s really cool. A bit touristy. But worth the trip to see this natural phenomenon. The crew are so friendly and love to share their tales of past awkward vacationer moments. We were generous with our gratuity. Especially, under the circumstances and the fact most of the workers have experienced financial distress these last couple of years.

I also wanted to include a cultural tour, while in Jamaica. The Great Rosehall was around the corner from our resort. A former sugar plantation owned by the White Witch, Annie Palmer. The Great Rosehall has a sorted history of slavery and murder. They offer haunted tours in the evening, but these were on pause, during Covid. I’m glad I did the day tour. Especially, since I did this on my own. There was definitely a presence here that was, uncomfortable. However, learning the history of the plantation and the cruel life of slavery is an essential part of the Jamaican experience.

The properties near the Great Rosehall, have Rosehall in the name. I imagine they are located on the site of the large sugar plantation. Over the course of its history, most of the island country were plantations.

The Great Rosehall

The History

Jamaica is located 100 miles south of Cuba. Its history dates back to its discovery by Christopher Columbus, later the Spaniards came and infiltrated the local indigenous communities. Wiping them out with disease and genocide. The British brought over slaves from Africa to run the sugar cane plantations.

The Maroons (escaped slaves) fought back and hid in the Jamaican hills. They formed an army to protect themselves and fought for 7 years to irradicate slavery on the island After the end of slavery it was a struggle for Jamaica but with perseverance and faith, the people earned their independence from Britain.

Patois (pat-wa) is the native language of Jamaica. Linguists have categorized it as Jamaican Creole.

Jamaica is the home of the Rastafari movement, a religion that emerged in the 1930s. The creators of Reggae and the philosophy of “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing’s gonna be alright”. We could all use this mindset after the last few years.

Today, tourism is the stronghold of the Jamaican economy. It needs tourism dollars for its survival.

The Overall Experience.

While we were there, the resort was not full, we didn’t have to wait online for anything and there was always a chair open at the pool or the beach. However, this did change and was encouraging as more guests arrived towards the end of the week,

The few people we met were either from Great Britain, the midwest, or Jamaica. We were lucky to meet four lovely ladies at the hibachi restaurant. A granddaughter, from Atlanta, had taken her Grandmother and 2 aunts to the resort for the week. They were so cute and she hadn’t seen them in four years. We had such a lovely time that night and a good conversation. When I asked where they were from the aunt, who was in her 80’s, proudly exclaimed “Right here, we are from right here Jamaica.” Jamaicans are proud of their country and they are more than happy to tell you a tale or two.

The Jamaica Grande Montego Bay is within walking distance to its sister properties, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara. For a fee, you can reciprocate the services. However, this is on pause during the pandemic.

We did decide to stay on property for most of the time. Only because of the circumstances of the pandemic and there was also an island-wide curfew. There was plenty to do at the resort. Water sports and activities during the day and entertainment at night. We took the catamaran out at least twice. Each time, Andrew took us out to the open waters. Every time we imagined we were going to a new destination. We were pirates one day, heading to Cuba.

The food is all sourced locally and so is the Rum Cream. We made sure to have a Jamaica Grande Frappuccino each morning. So good.

The Result

If you are like me and experiencing some travel hesitancy. I hope you’ll think again. Do what’s comfortable for you. But if you have the urge to get out and see the world, do your due diligence and be prepared. And don’t let fear and self-doubt get the best of you.

I’m so glad we went ahead with our trip to Jamaica. I’m already planning the next adventure.

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You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. You can also find a short video of this trip on YouTube.

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About the Creator

victoria patricolo

In April, 2020. I launched ConsciousTraveler.CO. A travel blog focused on sustainable luxury tourism, unique experiences, travel tips and trends. I hope to inspire people to travel again...so much depends on it.

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    victoria patricoloWritten by victoria patricolo

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