Read the items below carefully before travel to Jamaica...
1) Departure - On the day of your departure from the US, be sure to arrive at your airport no later than 2 hours before your departure time. Remember to bring your passport and copy of your flight information (printed or saved in your phone). When you arrive at your airlines desk at the airport, just use any one of the there. You will be instructed to insert your passport into the kiosk, and it will then print your tickets for you. There are attendants there who will help you if you need any assistance. The JAFSP program staff will continue to confirm your flight before your departure and will contact you if there are any changes in your itinerary. If you have any problems on the day of your flight, be sure to call the JAFSP at our Jamaican number (876.357.4350). Do not attempt to check in early for your flight (i.e. online). Check in in-person, the morning of your flight, as instructed above. JAFSP will not provide flight tracking numbers, record locators, or confirmation numbers to students. Students must checkin in person, and check their luggage in person, on the day of their flight. JAFSP staff continue to confirm all flight details before the trip, and will contact trip participants with any changes.
2) Checked Luggage - You may bring one “checked” bag – which you will be checking at the airport in the US, and picking up upon arrival in Jamaica. While some airlines allow as many as (2) checked bags, we only have room in our vans for (1) checked bag per student (the smaller the better). Most airline’s weight limit on checked baggage is between 45-50 pounds, including your clothing, gear, and school supplies for donation (check your airline’s website for their specific baggage restrictions). Some airlines charge a fee for your checked bag. Any luggage fee is the responsibility of the student. If you own a credit card you should carry it with you while flying to use for checking in, possible luggage charges, expenses due to flight delays, etc. In addition to your clothing and other checked items you may receive school supplies or other materials approximately 2 weeks before your trip, to carry in your checked luggage for your work in the schools, care-centers and community.
3) Carry On Luggage - You may be assigned JAFSP program gear as your large carry on item, such as school supplies, drums, guitars, and other items for your work in Jamaica. Only students who are assigned a large carry on item should bring one. If you cannot fit your assigned gear in the overhead bin on the plane, simply ask the flight attendant to “gate check” the item for you. To do this, you will hand the item to the flight attendant, who will tuck it in the luggage area of the plane for you. You will then receive your item back upon leaving the plane. Only gate check these items if they will not fit in the overhead carry-on bin of the plane. Anyone attempting to carry on a guitar should be prepared for the possibility that they will have to check it, and should therefore have a hard case for travel. In addition to your large checked item (JAFSP program gear for the trip) each student may carry on a small personal item (i.e. purse, book-bag, etc.). While you may bring liquids in your checked bag (i.e. shampoo, bugspray, etc.) you may not bring any liquids on your carry-on luggage that are larger than 3 ounces. All liquids or gels which are carried-on must be placed in a single Ziploc bag. For updated luggage regulations, check the TSA website at http://www.tsa.gov. Overall try to pack as lightly as possible, with smaller size cosmetics, and clothing that can be re-worn on tours, work, and excursions. The packing list found in the online course materials goes into detail as to what you should bring to Jamaica, and the online document “Dressing for Work and Play” details exactly what types of clothing to bring. Remember to check your airline’s website for any possible restrictions or fees for carry on luggage.
4) Carry With You - Carry your cash on your person, not in your checked luggage. Reminder - bring enough cash for the entire trip, as working ATM machines can be hard to find in rural Jamaica. Any expenses that occur due to a flight delay or missed connection (meals while sleeping at the airport, etc.) are the responsibility of the student, therefore it is a good idea to carry a little extra “emergency” money, in addition to a personal credit card. If you have any medicines which you must have upon your arrival, be sure to carry them on – do not put them in your checked bag. Be sure to also bring a blue or black pen with you on the flight to fill out the customs and immigration forms, which will be given to you on the plane. Remember to travel with a well charged cell phone, with the JAFSP phone number saved in it. Your phone charger should be carried in your carry-on (not in your checked luggage) in case you have an overnight flight delay en route.
5) Contacting the JAFSP- The JAFSP phone number in Jamaica is 1-876-357-4350, the US office number is 1-518-288-8652. The program staff and site director will already be in Jamaica at the on the day of your arrival, and you should call our Jamaican number (not US) if you have any problems or questions at all during your flight, such as a delayed or canceled flight, missed connection, lost luggage, etc. If your flight is delayed be sure to contact us right away to keep us posted as to your new arrival time in Jamaica, so that our driver knows when to expect you. Even if you have any flight problems on the way back to the US, contact the JAFSP - so we can attempt to help you out and track your homeward travel. In addition, each student is expected to contact the JAFSP upon safely arriving back in the US at the end of their trip.
6) Connections - If you have a connection on the way to Jamaica be sure to find out if you are expected to claim and recheck your luggage (just ask). In most cases you will not be expected to re-check your luggage on the way to Jamaica, but it is important to make sure. On your return flight to the US you will have to claim and recheck your luggage at your first connection in the US, as well as going through customs and immigration. This is the reason that we always attempt to arrange student flights with a lengthy enough connection to allow them to reclaim their luggage and clear customs in the US.
7) At the Airport in Jamaica - Once you arrive in Jamaica and clear customs you will pick up your checked bag. Just follow the crowd. It can take a while for the baggage to be unloaded from the plane – things move a little slower on “island time”. If they happen to search your luggage at the airport in Jamaica, and inquire about your donated items (schools supplies, health supplies, etc) you must claim that they are for personal use. If your checked bag seems to be lost, go to the desk for your airline and tell them. They will have you fill out some paperwork, and will deliver your bag to our guesthouse once it is located. Baggage is rarely lost – but it can happen. If asked the purpose of your visit (upon arrival in Jamaica) you are traveling as a “tourist”, you are not a “student” in Jamaica (as your are not attending a Jamaican university, and are not required to have a student visa). It is important to avoid any possible confusion in this area, in order to avoid (mistakenly) being asked for a student visa or other related student documents.
8) Airport Transfer - After clearing customs in Jamaica you will proceed outdoors to the pickup area. Right outside the exit will be the JAFSP program drivers and staff. They will be holding a sign which reads “JAFSP”. Once all students have arrived, you will leave the airport together for the guesthouse. Other drivers may ask you if they can carry your bags or drive you to your destination. Needless to say, don’t allow any other drivers to carry your bags for you, or drive you anywhere. Just look for the “JAFSP” sign. It will be easy to find. If you have any problems at all, just call us. If your phone doesn’t work at the airport, just ask anyone if you can make a call. Jamaicans are very friendly, and will be glad to help you out.
You can contact the JAFSP with any questions about your flight and upcoming travel to Jamaica at firstname.lastname@example.org