I’m Shea Powell, writer and photographer behind the travel blog ‘The World Up Closer’. My career for the last seven years has been to travel around the globe and to share the experiences and information. All of this I’ve been doing with a Jamaican passport. For today’s corner, I’d love to share my top four dos and don’ts when travelling with your Jamaican passport. I have also shared articles on my blog, ‘The World Up Closer’, providing pointers on the best locations to visit on your very own Jamaican passport. Please feel free to check them out.
- Do multiple copies of your passport before leaving your home country. Over the years, I’ve been travelling to a number of countries that are not frequented by Jamaicans, so the chances of having a consulate that represents Jamaica is very slim. In case you should lose your passport, have copies so you can at least have something to prove your Jamaican identity.
- Do your research and know the value of your passport. A couple of years ago, I was somewhere in Central America. While processing my documents with immigration, the officer at the time insisted that a visa was required. A visa wasn’t required, but because of how little the Jamaican passport passes through that immigration consulate they were unaware of how to treat the situation. No visa was required, and I was then allowed to go explore, as I had intended to.
- Do some country hopping. Travelling on the Jamaican passport isn’t the easiest thing, but neither is it the worst. If you’re planning on travelling to, say, for example, Europe, or perhaps Asia. Think about visiting more than one country. If you’ll be travelling all the way from Jamaica, you might as well make it worth it. Just recently I country-hopped from India to Singapore, to Japan, then to South Korea, then flew over to Hawaii.
- Do know that the Jamaican passport is more powerful than you think. Currently, we are almost at 100 visa-free countries. If you’re thinking a transit via the US or Canada is a must … well! You’ll need to refer to my blog (The World Up Closer) for the trick and treats!
- Don’t be too ambitious. Hold on. Let me explain. If you’ve never travelled before and you’re now inspired to take your first trip, your first vacation overseas but looking to do the non-visa way: save the Bali idea, the Maldives trips for a later date. Take baby steps. Don’t be too ambitious at first. Intra-Caribbean travel is overpriced, but you have to somewhat ‘dance a yaad, before you can dance abroad’, sort of a thing in regard to immigration and to gain some experience. The Bahamas is a direct flight from Kingston, and so is Antigua & Barbuda … and Cuba!
- Don’t think limits. On a daily basis, readers reach out to share their concern about travel abroad to a country that isn’t English-speaking. Please note that countries that speak another language other than English is usually very English-literate. Other than that, you’ll find yourself having to learn a few words of the local language. Consider it a win-win situation. Over the years, I’ve learned a few languages myself. Fluent in Spanish and conversational Portuguese and Italian. Also, I leaned my first five Japanese words while visiting Japan earlier this year. I call it goals. Ha ha!
- Don’t complain or feel disappointed when a visa application is being rejected. There are at least 100 other countries you can try for. When one door closes, another one opens. That’s my take on it.
- Don’t forget to share your culture. 30+ countries and within each destination locals are always so intrigued to hear about Jamaica. Share your culture wherever you go and invite your friends to visit.
Follow the socials for the travel updates:
Facebook: The World Up Closer
Story and photos by Shea Powell