By: Darren Wilson
There are many reasons why we would want to rent a villa for our next vacation in Jamaica. Villas are private residences rented out to tourists with all the comforts of home. In Jamaica, they often come with their own pool and household staff as well. How does having breakfast prepared every morning sound? A villa’s staff can take care of that along with some other services. Clearly, renting a villa is an excellent choice, but there are a few things we should keep in mind to make sure our next trip is absolutely perfect.
1. Each villa has a different owner and different requirements
And one owner might have different rules for the guests staying in his villa compared to another. Typically, Jamaica villas for rent have a 5-7 night minimum stay requirement. Many owners will also ask for a mandatory security deposit. While this is the usual case for villa rentals, the nuances of these rules might differ from owner to owner. So, it’s best to completely study the policies of each villa before booking one.
2. Rates are more expensive during the high season
Jamaica sees a huge flood of tourists every year in the winter during the holidays. Because of increased demand, weekly rates for a villa tend to be higher around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter. On the other hand, late summer and early fall rates are low due to a decrease in tourists during that time of year. With this in mind, September and October might be a good time to book a Jamaican villa to take advantage of those lower rates.
3. Transportation options might determine location
Drivers in Jamaica drive on the left side of the road. That's a lot different from how things are in the U.S. Because of this, renting a car might be more trouble than it’s worth for American tourists. Relying on taxis can be expensive and make a vacation even more expensive. When browsing villa options, pay attention to the walkability of the surrounding area, their proximity to other points of interest like beaches and markets, and whether or not there is a shuttle service available.
4. Don’t forget to tip the staff
Jamaica is famous for its world class hospitality, and villa staff are no exception. Most villas will come with a cook, housekeeper, and gardener. Larger properties might have an expanded staff that includes a butler, nanny, laundress, or concierge. These staffmembers rely on tips for their livelihood and often work hard enough to deserve it. While the official guidelines say that the tip amount is up to the discretion of the guest based on the quality of service, 15% of the final bill is the standard rate. So we should always remember to include the tip when planning our vacation budget.
5. Jamaica is a tropical island
A lot of people seem to forget this, but it’s true! Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea. That means a typical Jamaican day is hot, humid, and sunny. We might wear a light jacket and jeans to our chilly U.S. airports and be perfectly comfortable, but it’s a regrettable outfit choice for Jamaica. Wear layers that will be easy to shed upon arrival, pack lots of shorts and tank tops, and don’t forget the sunblock. Jamaica’s hurricane season is June to November, so anyone planning to visit during those months should also plan accordingly.
6. Consider travel insurance
A lot of things can go wrong on a trip. Luggage can get lost, or somebody can get injured and need medical attention. Tourist-heavy areas are also rife with thieves targeting bumbling, ignorant foreigners. Travel insurance is highly recommended for anyone traveling out of the country and will cover the risk of something going wrong. Basically, we hope we'll never need it, but it’s nice to have when we do. It’s very easy these days to find and compare policies online with varying degrees of coverage, so there's no excuse to skip on travel insurance.
7. Finally...have fun!
Reggae music, the Blue Lagoon, and jerk chicken are only some of the things that Jamaica has to offer. Jamaica is a vibrant, breathtaking island with a rich culture and history, and renting a villa will us in the right in the middle of it all.