The Basics Before You Go….Bugs, Medicines and Travel Insurance

Most people don’t like to think about taking ill or having something bad happening to them when they travel, it does sometimes happen. So be prepared, before you leave home.

Whenever I travel to Jamaica I make sure I buy travel insurance and a basic supply of medicines before I leave, so I have them readily available if I need them. If you need  Private Health Care whilst in Jamaica,  you will have to pay for it and even basic medicine, such as  Hay Fever tablets, are expensive in Jamaica.

My toiletries bag essentials can be found here:

But, these are some other essential items that I pack when coming to Jamaica……

Bug Repellent

Some people are particularly tasty to bugs, whilst others merely get the odd one or two having a go at their ankles. There are mosquitoes and other biting bugs in Jamaica and at certain times and locations they are numerous, so take precautions with repellent or anti-histamine tablets (Hay fever tablets like Piriton).

General Medicines 

Chemists (Pharmacy / Drug Store) are readily available in all the larger towns whereby you can easily buy medicines and ointments over the counter for non serious ailments. On one trip to Jamaica we were even able to buy a small supply of prescription medicine for a relative who had forgotten theirs. Medicines tend to be expensive in Jamaica and things like Ibuprofen (Nurofen type products) are not as readily available as Paracetamol, and Piriton and other hay fever/anti-histamine tablets are very expensive, so if you prefer them bring a small supply of the basics with you. Some people tend to suffer from indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation, so again bring what you may need as you just never know what might happen!

My dear Mum has always been a bit of ‘girl guide’ when it comes to the ‘medicine box’ she brings away on holidays (vacations) with her and after my sisters and I poked fun at her over the years for the sheer scale and magnitude of its contents… I have realised that I too am slowly starting to follow her example of ‘BE PREPARED!’ (Although I must add it is still defiantly a scaled down version of what she used to bring).

I Bring:

  • Ibuprofen – Defeats all types of bodily pain! – DO NOT — — USE IF YOU SUSPECT DENGUE FEVER! — — USE PARACETAMOL / PANADOL ONLY!
  • Cold / Flu Tablets – Not to be expected, but it is more common than you would think to suffer these symptoms in Jamaica.
  • Cough Mixture – Soothe that tickly throat.
  • Antihistamine Tablets – Hay fever, rashes, minor allergic reactions and itchy skin solved.
  • Antiseptic Cream – Bites, stings, scratches, scrapes, (new tattoos!), all cooled down.
  • Plasters, small amount of dressings / bandages – Damaged skin is clean and covered.
  • Stomach Upset Tablets – Because you just never know when a grumbling tummy will start!
  • Sudocream – Spots, sunburn, and bites all zapped with this thick cream.
  • Eye Drops – Tired, itchy, bloodshot eyes made clear again.


Although not strictly medicines these are still all on my essential list of things to bring with me:

  • Anti-bacterial hand wash (no need to use water with it) – For clean hands on the go.
  • Tissues – Small packets serve to wipe mouth, nose, sweaty foreheads, and most essentially for when going to the toilet (toilet tissue is rarely available, except in the larger touristy places).
  • Wet Wipes (Baby wipes) – All types of sticky situations left fresh and clean!
  • Nail Glue and File – To fix back nails that go flying, start unattractively lifting, or loose shape.
  • Nail Polish (varnish) – Freshen up nails or for providing a patch up job until you can get to the professionals.
  • Dylash eyebrow and eyelash tint – Defined eyes without make-up, genius!
  • Tampax and thong panty liners – Feminine comfort.
  • Vaseline – For lips and dry patches (and to stop the eyebrow dye staining my skin too much!).
  • False Eyelashes – Defined eyes when you want that extra va-va-voom!
  • Make-up – Lighter formulations work better in the heat such as a tinted moisturiser instead of a foundation, if you really cannot put up with going bare-faced. I also love to use a mineral powder, just wipe your face first with a tissue to remove any moisture, before applying the powder, otherwise you end up with a caked powdery mess on your face. I also prefer a gel or cream blusher, and not a powdered version. As I have found in the past that block powder products such as blusher and caked face powder are easy to break up and spill everywhere when you least want or expect and can block pores.

Although not technically in my toiletries bag, these are also worth a mention…

[text_left]Travel Insurance[/text_left]

Prior to leaving it is advisable to buy travel insurance for the entire length of the stay, as it not only covers you in the event of cancellations, lost luggage and misplaced cameras, but also in much more serious incidences of health problems, injures, or even death whilst abroad. I have found to offer excellent cover and good deals on pricing…. Take my humble advice GET SOME INSURANCE!


Before you travel to Jamaica it is advisable to check with your local G.P. of your cover for diseases including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Malaria, Dengue Fever and in some cases Yellow Fever.

There is a risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS, so if you wish to get frisky and cannot be careful, be GOOD! Condoms are readily available, but may not have the British standard that we have at home, so if you that bothers you bring some with you.

The National Travel and Health Network Centre has full details of the precautions, recommendations and the latest updated information for Jamaica, and is recommended by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the best source of data:

Find out more about travelling to Jamaica from this Post about Airports….

Please see my posts on Dengue Fever as there is a near epidemic in Jamaica as of October 2012…. and continued at: