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Language: Jamaican Patois, English | Currency: Jamaican dollar ($) | Local time: UTC -5 | Avg. Flight time: 13 hrs
British Airways flies direct between London Gatwick (LGW) and Kingston, while Virgin Atlantic and TUI fly direct from Gatwick to Montego Bay – the flight duration is around 10 hours. Direct flights can be expensive, but flights with a stopover may not be cheap either. For example, the airfare on Air Canada, which flies from London Heathrow (LHR) to Montego Bay via Toronto, is usually almost the same price you’d pay for a direct flight on Virgin Atlantic.
There are no direct flights between Manchester (MAN) and Kingston or Montego Bay, so you’ll have to make a stop somewhere along the east coast in the US en route. Do check carefully before booking, as sometimes a flight with two stopovers is quicker than those with one stopover. For example, going with American Airlines, you’ll make two stopovers (in Philadelphia and Charlotte) before reaching Montego Bay in about 20 hours. An indirect flight with Virgin Atlantic, stopping over in New York, will take you more than 28 hours to reach the same destination.
December to mid-April is the most expensive period in which to fly to Jamaica, and you shouldn’t leave it until the last minute to book tickets as they can sell out quickly. Travelling on a budget? You can get cheap tickets – sometimes saving up to 60% off the most expensive flights – if you fly during the wettest months (June to November). The most rain tends to fall in September and October.
Package deals usually include flights, transfers and accommodation, and are often a good way to save money and time spent on planning your holiday.
Since there are many cheap direct flights to New York from London, you may want to consider breaking up the journey – flying from London to New York, then grabbing another cheap flight from New York to Jamaica.
Domestic flights are a good way to get around Jamaica, with the longest flight from Negril to Port Antonio taking 40 minutes, and the shortest from Kingston to Port Antonio taking 15 minutes. As well as the two international airports, there are smaller aerodromes in Kingston, Port Antonio, Ocho Rios and Negril.
British passport holders can visit Jamaica visa-free for stays of up to 90 days – note that the date by which you must leave Jamaica will be stamped on your passport.
Arrival and departure taxes (US$35) are usually included in the cost of your plane ticket, but it’s worth checking with the airline or your travel operator to see if it is included.