OK, so you have your airfare and the cost of the villa rental to consider. What else is there to think about for your Jamaica villa vacation? What will your Jamaica villa vacation cost you?
To prevent unwelcome surprises, think about your budget for when you are actually on the island. How much extra money will you need once you get there?
Think F-A-S-T-T. Think of your food, activities, shopping for souvenirs, tips, and transportation. That is a pretty cool acronym that I came up with if I may say so myself 🙂
Under budgeting for meals is one big area where we’ve seen people run into problems. Do not assume that food in Jamaica is cheap. Farming techniques are not very well-developed in Jamaica with most foods produced by small farmers. As a result, the cost from farm to table is relatively high, maybe even higher than in the US. Additionally, many items have to be imported, which also adds to the cost.
Satisfying the tastes of a group of people at each meal is no small feat. Make sure you have enough money to buy enough food to keep everyone happy. Sometimes group members erroneously believe that the villa provides the food. We purchase food on your behalf based on the funds that you have made available. It is a most difficult and equally embarrassing situation for the staff when many in a group expect to eat like kings and queens but the group leader has not provided adequate funds for food.There is only so much that the chef can do to make a small amount of food serve a large group of people.
We have had the opposite experience as well where the group leader has provided adequate funds which members in the group find excessive.
Those are issues that need to be resolved within the group. Factoring a realistic amount of money for food and making sure that everyone’s expectations are in line with reality will make sure that your group will be able to delight in wonderful meals in Jamaica at Mais Oui!
We recommend you budget about US$45-$50 per person per day for groceries. This will vary up or down based on market prices as well as how much and what your group intends to eat. Seafood and steak are more expensive than chicken and will increase your costs. Fine wines and other alcoholic beverages will also increase your costs. Eating more local dishes typically lowers the bill. Multiple courses at meals will obviously increase the bill. The question you must ask yourself is, “How well do I want to eat on vacation?” Once you have answered that question, budget for it.
What do you like to do? Attractions, tours, additional amenities and services (think spa) have associated costs so plan accordingly.
How much shopping do you plan on doing? There is great shopping in Jamaica to suit various budgets. Do you plan to buy souvenirs, coffee, or artwork to take home? Do you plan on shopping at the local craft market or at stores selling trinkets? Or, are you looking for items that are a little more upscale and or more unique to Jamaica?
Different countries have different expectations when it comes to tipping. In the US, for example, 15-20% tip for service providers is standard for wait staff to taxi cab drivers to hairdressers. Tipping is expected in Jamaica. And, many are not shy about the expectation for a tip. Some attractions and all-inclusive hotels have a no tipping policy but many don’t. It is not uncommon for employees, especially any sort of guide, to ask you for a tip, if you do not offer one. Sure it can be annoying; but, at least you have been forewarned.
The standard tip for villa staff in Jamaica is a minimum of 10% of the cost of the villa rental in high season and 15% in low season. For the van driver, it is usually about 15% of the rate.
At many villas, tip envelopes are provided for the individual staff members. For the Mais Oui villa staff, we generally recommend having the site manager divide this among the staff members for you. The main reason is that it takes a team to create the Mais Oui experience and it is very likely that you would not have met the entire team. By having everyone share in the tips, it helps to keep everyone encouraged and prevent the more visible employees from reaping all the “rewards”, so to speak.
Plan to pay your gratuity in cash. US dollars are always appreciated and preferred.
Unless, you plan on lounging around the villa all day, which is fine, you should think about your transportation needs. How will you get to and from the airport in Jamaica? How will you get around to see the sights while you are at the villa? Remember you will have to reimburse the staff for the taxi fare to go grocery shopping on your behalf.
A service worthy of consideration, especially for groups arriving and leaving at different times, is the Club MoBay’s airport arrival and departure lounge. Here you can wait for or with each other in comfort and reduce the number of airport transfers.
Most of our guests use a van and driver service for safety, reduced cost, and convenience. Divide the weekly cost of the van and driver service by the number of people in your group and you will realize what a deal you are getting. For groups, even small groups, getting the van and driver service is a no-brainer, in our opinion.
So, if you just think F A S T T, you will save yourself from the unwelcome stress of unanticipated Jamaica villa vacation costs or expenses. Plan ahead and enjoy a worry-free travel experience.
‘Til next time,
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.
Visit our website: http://www.MakeItJamaica.com
Give us a call: 866.624.7684 (toll free) or 914.709.0457
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!