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What To Take

  1. High SPF sun block and lots of it! We had two full bottles of SPF 100 for 8 days and that was adequate. Wal*Mart is considerably cheaper than the resort.
  2. Hats. Particularly if you're missing some hair, nothing is more painful than a sun-burned balding spot.
  3. Multiple swimsuits. During the day, the swimsuit is the item of clothing of choice. Cover ups are required for women off the beaches.
  4. If you're a sailor, diver, or snorkeler - take your own gear. It's nicer than what you'll get at the resort. For example, we took our low-profile life jackets. They were far more comfortable than the rubberized wrap-around type that the resort had. We even took our sailing gloves and for that wild ride on the Hobie in the high wind, I was darned glad I had them. For our next trip, we're going to have at least our own masks and snorkels. Maybe even fins.
  5. Some reading or portable DVD player for the flights and down time. I bought an Amazon Kindle this year and literally had a library with me. This was wonderful for the flights and for beach reading. And the Kindle is every bit as good as Amazon says it is.
  6. Cash - you will need cash for departure tax if it's not included in the airline ticket, any shopping done with local vendors, and tipping your Butlers if you're in a Butler class room. We did not take traveler's checks, my wife and I split our cash, part of the cash was in our billfolds and the other part of the cash in our carry-ons. Your credit card or debit card will work in Jamaica, provided you let your bank know you were going.

What Not To Take

  1. Too many clothes. We had trimmed our luggage considerably from the St. Lucia trip and we still ended up with clothes we never wore. So think really LIGHT!
  2. You don't need a change of underwear daily - you're in your swimsuit 90% of the time.
  3. Too many shirts. Basically I needed about 3-4 nice t-shirts and one dress shirt.
  4. Too many pants. Forget your jeans. Just one pair of dress slacks is all you really need for the nicer restaurants and events.
  5. Too many shoes - water shoes, sandals, and a pair of dress shoes is all that's needed.
  6. Too many socks. You wear sandals, water shoes or bare feet 90% of the time too.

Flying out of KCI in Kansas City is very easy. You literally fall out of parking into the terminal and security isn't usually an obnoxious long time. In most cases, that "guideline" of an hour early really is long for this airport. Fortunately for us ... this time!

To get to Jamaica, the best flight out of Kansas City at this time is Delta and it will get you to the island in one day easily. You fly from here to Atlanta, then board an international flight to go on to Jamaica. The only bad thing here is the 90 minute trip to the resort. You'll get in about dinner time as the flight arrives around 2 PM local Jamaica time.

This flight wasn't as early as St. Lucia's, so we were going to be well rested and ready to have fun when we hit Jamaica. That'd be wrong again - we did it to ourselves this time by getting to bed after midnight. Then getting up at 4:30 AM to make it to the airport only to discover that I-29 was closed due to a dead body (really!) on the Interstate. So we got to use the iPhone to find an alternate path to the airport and made our flight to Atlanta ... just barely! Fortunately Atlanta was an easy stroll this time to the next gate, so getting out to Jamaica wasn't a huge problem.

We got to the resort at dinner time, ate dinner...and went to bed early as we were both tired and a bit stressed from all the travel and no sleep.

And missed the White Night Chocolate Buffet at Whitehouse. Again! Our timing is impeccable.

We did our parking at Kansas City different for this trip. We used an off-airport valet parking service at $7.50 a day which dropped us off right at our terminal and picked us up. Much cheaper and easier parking!

Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world. International (i.e. Jamaica) flights will go out on Concourse E in Atlanta. You usually arrive on a different concourse (usually A or B out of Kansas City), but this time we lucked out. They brought our inbound to Atlanta flight in for some reason on Concourse E, so it was a short stroll to our next flight with plenty of time. No sprinting through the airport to barely make the outbound flight this time!

As this flight is not direct, you are strongly advised to have enough clothes and other necessities in carry-on bags to survive a day or two without luggage.Be sure and include your sun block, at least one hat, and at least one swimsuit. Along with other standard clothes items. You really don't want to be sitting in a Caribbean resort without these things for a day or two. Of course, you can likely buy something on the resort - but be warned you'll pay a very premium price if that's what happens.

Map of Jamaica


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Arriving In Jamaica

Hewanorra International Airport - St. LuciaThe main airport on the island of Jamaica is Sangster International Airport, located in Montego Bay.

This airport isn't large, but it's a reasonably modern international airport and it even has jetways. On arrival you go through immigration and pick up your bags. Sandals has a resort lounge at the airport and once you get there, everything is handled nicely.

They get you on the right bus, have refreshments, and so on. There is an airport butler at the lounge - seriously!

You WILL be hit up for tips by the porters as they don't work for Sandals, so be prepared. I also tipped the van driver as he was a Ph.D of driving. (Pot Hole Dogger) The main problem with roads in Jamaica is the potholes. The roads are wider than St. Lucia, but in poorer shape. Also don't be surprised to see some high-water snouts on your bus. They can get a lot of rain in Jamaica and on our way over to Whitehouse, we drove through some reasonably deep water. Not enough to need the snout, but there's a reason they're on the buses.

Departure is equally easy. The bus going to the airport will get you to the right flight and again have a tip for the porter.

The airport itself has numerous shops and places to eat, so if you have some time to kill before your flight, shopping can be done or you can catch a meal prior to your flight.

One note - if you buy rum in Jamaica or any other liquid duty free item, when you get back to the US it MUST go in your checked luggage. We were given a bottle of premium Rum at the Sandals Select Dinner and fortunately for us, it was in my checked bag. If you can't or don't get the booze in your bag, it will be confiscated by US Customs.

Looking at the map above, White House (the village - resort is about a mile west) is straight south of Montego Bay. You go west out of Montego Bay, accross the island, then back east to the resort.

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Trip Date: June 8 - 16, 2011