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First time traveling out of the US

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First time traveling out of the US

First "real" vacation ever--My family and I are going to Beaches Negril next week--taking advantage of the discounts being offered. I've never traveled out of the US and would appreciate any and all info/tips-- especially regarding getting there and getting home smoothly. We are flying Delta. On the return trip we are changing planes in Memphis.

Milwaukee, WI.
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1. Re: First time traveling out of the US

Since you're changing planes in Memphis, you'll be going thru customs there. If you purchase any liquids at the duty free stores in the Montego Bay airport, be sure to leave enough room in your checked luggage to pack them after clearing customs.

Bring a pen on plane to fill out customs and immigration forms for arrival in Jamaica.

I'm sure others will add more tips.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: First time traveling out of the US

Congrats on your first "real" vacation!

I thought I'd give you an idea of what to expect upon arrival at the airport; I know it can be a little overwhelming, especially traveling with kids and not knowing about immigrations and customs.

While you are on the plane from the US to Jamaica, the flight attendants will give you customs forms. As mentioned above, keep your passports and a pen (blue or black ink) handy in your carry-on. I mostly see the Mom's in families holding onto the kid's passports so Mom can fill out the one form on board the flight.

You will be given one form per family to fill out that will ask you to list who you are traveling with and if you are bringing anything of consequence with you. You will also need to write where you are staying (write "Beaches Negril")as well as your return flight info.

It is very important not to lose the little stub you will be given back that has your departure info. The little stub will be detached by immigrations and given to you when you arrive. You will need that little stub to leave the country.

Okay, so once you deplane, follow the signs and other passengers to the Immigrations line. By the way,there ARE restrooms there so don't worry about finding one before Immigrations. You will stand in the line for tourists and when the officer calls you up, your entire family will approach the counter together. Just give your passports to the officer and answer any questions he or she may have. I usually don't talk unless they ask me a question.

Once you clear immigrations, you will head to baggage claim and gather all your luggage. Sometimes your luggage will be waiting for you off the conveyor belt. So if you don't see it on the carosel, look around for luggage set aside by airport staff.

There are free carts available for you if needed in baggage claim.

Once you get your bags, head to the "nothing to Declare" line with all your luggage. More than likely the staff will wave your through. If they ask to look in your luggage, just do as they ask.

Once you clear customs, you are free to find your lounge/shuttle to Beaches - there is plenty of staff to point you to the right place.

Have fun! If the kids want to go off the resort, there is a water slide park across the street very close to Beaches, called "Kool Runnin's". (I do nit know what the admission cost is.)

Madison, Wi
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3. Re: First time traveling out of the US

Yamangurl's message is really helpful for first-timers! Follow the tips, stay calm and remember that you're on island time, and all will be well. Have a great trip!

long island
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4. Re: First time traveling out of the US

excellent advice so far.

Also might suggest that if your family gets separated during an event or even during the day, that you have a game plan to meet up at a certain time & place

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5. Re: First time traveling out of the US

Great advice so far; I would add to try to stay behind or close to someone from your flight that has been through the immigration, baggage, customs, shuttle procedure; it can be overwelming for 1st timers, especially with kids. I am sure you will get through it, and wonder why you worried so much......enjoy yourselves

west virginia
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6. Re: First time traveling out of the US

Excellent advise so far but just a few more obvious things:

1: Contact your bank and/or credit card company and tell them you'll be in Jamaica so they don't lock your account because of a foreign charge. (Big Headache!)

Beaches/Sandals will put a $400 hold on your card for "incidentals" if your card declines before you even check in it can make a mess of your vacation!

2: Jewelery - Other than a cheap watch - leave it home

3: Cell phone - contact your carrier to see if it will even work there, if not and you REALLY, REALLY need one - consider buying a cheap one there.

4: If it's in the budget, get off the resort and "See" Jamaica and not necessarily the resort trips although they are great. Hire a driver and take a day trip or simply head down the beach see what you can get into.

5: Take some small bills for tips. The "Red Caps " that take your bags at the airport aren't Sandals/Beaches employees and will get danged snotty about their tip ($1 or $2 per bag). You don't have to use them but you have to hold onto your bags so they don't get them. Also your shuttle driver will be looking for some love too.

5: Craft Markets and Taxis - Haggle Haggle,Haggle! Your in Jamaica not New York Taxis are negotiable. Ask a bartender what a taxi ride to where ever you want to go should cost. If the first one won't go for it ask another. In the Craft Markets only keep a few bucks in one pocket and the bulk of your cash in the other. They will take 40% to 50% or less than their asking price for an item. If not they guy in the next booth will.

Have a great time!


Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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7. Re: First time traveling out of the US

A few things to ad. Take bug spray and after bite. Some get bit up like me and some don, but be prepared. Take aloe, advil, tums ect... These things cost allot there so take your own. Lots of swim suits you pretty much live in them all day. They get sand in them from the beach and its nice to put on a fresh one daily. As one post said take lots on small bills. We tip the guy at the airport who puts our bags in the bus a few dollars, then tip the driver to Negril ten dollars. Not sure what the tipping policy is at beaches, but if you can tip there you will need small bills. We like to shop on 7 mile beach and also need small bills as some can not make change. We always take a few rubber can koozies to keep our drinks cold. Dont forget a beach bag to take all your things down to the beach for the day. Maybe a few hats so if your scalp gets burned you can protect it. Tie something/ribbon around your suitcase as there will be hundreds of them coming off the plane. Delta gives you two free bags. We take advantage of that as Im an over packer & would rather be prepared. I always leave a little room for souvinors. We had a couple in front of us on the way home this past july whos suitcase weighed over the Lbs and they charged her $90.00 for it!! She must have done some shopping & didnt realize that! She was not happy. Last thing is zip lock baggies. I bring the large & small ones. We put our sandy flip flops in them for the return trip so sand is not all over everything. Any wet swim suits we have from that morning or past evening, Any rum we may buy we put in a lg one and wrap in a beach towel. Never had one break yet! Small zip locks to put our camera in so it doesnt get wet in our B bag, we sometimes grab a roll a breakfast & stick one in a zip lock to take down to the beach and feed the fish with. Lots of uses for them!!

boston, ma
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8. Re: First time traveling out of the US

just to add to yamangurls post - the immigration form you get on the flight to mobay - you will need to complete the form for EACH PERSON in your travel party, not one for the whole party.

there always seems to be a bit of confusion about this. the form that is filled out one per family is the US Customs and Immigration form on the way back into the US - that is completed by head of household and spouse and dependent children are listed on it.

going over to mobay - the jamaican immigration and customs form - each person in your party should get one and fill it out completely, including the bottom part that is torn off - you retain that throughout your trip and return it to immigration as you exit the country.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: First time traveling out of the US

yes, it is not one form per family, but one form per traveller... front and back (including departure record, signed and dated in the future, a little backwards, but the way they want it done)...

if children are old enough to print their name, they sign their own form... (my 4 year old thought that was pretty cool :) )

if you have these forms filled out properly, you will be ahead of the game, i've seen them stopping people before they get to the immigration lines to see if this is done properly and the hoards of people waiting for table space/pens is always overwhelming... you will be able to by pass this chaos :)



New Jersey
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10. Re: First time traveling out of the US

One thing I have found very helpful for filling out forms on the plane is; before you leave home, have a list of everyone's passport numbers and dates/places of issue and expiration, dates of birth, the basic name and address of where you're staying and your airline name and flight numbers. Have this info in an easily accessable place. This will avoid having to pull out passports with the risk of losing or misplacing them.