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Ask a Jamaica Expert: Meet Sara Fried, Travelocity’s Jamaica Market Manager

Editor’s Note: Periodically, we’ll be featuring a Q&A with our resident destination experts at Travelocity, the Travelocity market managers. Market managers are locals to their destination and experts on everything and anything related to tourism in their markets. Please welcome them to The Window Seat.

Sara Fried is the Travelocity market manager for Jamaica. She has been with Travelocity for seven years and is based in Boston, MA. She enjoys rooting on the Boston sports teams and listening to Bob Marley as well as enjoying an ice cold Red Stripe while sitting on the cliffs of Negril, at Blue Beat in Montego Bay or at the top of Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios. Her favorite part of the job is meeting so many phenomenal people that live in Jamaica as well as the discounts on hotels!


A Few Things You Might Not Know About Jamaica

Jamaica is a Caribbean island with a lot of personality. In addition to its postcard-worthy beaches, it’s known far and wide for its relaxed reggae music, its savory jerk spiced-cooking, its sweet rum, its Blue Mountain coffee, and its Red Stripe beer. But these popular Jamaican exports don’t give the full picture of an island that’s got a few surprises up its sleeve.

For starters, while the jerk chicken is ubiquitous, the island is actually very vegetarian friendly. Many Rastafari avoid meat products of all kinds (although some eat fish), so virtually every restaurant has a vegetarian option on the menu, and it’s often quite exotic. Some of my favorites were peas (beans) and rice and scrambled ackee fruit (which, when cooked up with butter, salt, and pepper, tastes quite a bit like scrambled eggs).

Maybe You Didn’t Have to Take a Staycation After All

It was the buzzword of the travel industry this summer. You may call it a “staycation” but I call it a “nocation.” And if you think about the premise behind what a staycation really is — staying home and doing nothing — you’ll realize that it really just means not going on vacation. From here on out I will no longer call this phenomenon as a staycation — I prefer to call it what it is. A nocation!

An article in today’s New York Times details the staycation of one man whose cancelled trip to Jamaica forced him into a nocation. He stayed in bed, mostly, and watched Judge Judy. His back started to hurt from being in bed so much. People — this is insanity. Nocations will eventually lead to bedsores if we’re not careful!

The irony of all this nocation talk is that maybe you didn’t need to take one after all. Maybe you could have afforded that summer trip. I was convinced that traveling was not as expensive as the media hype would have you believe and it turns out I was right. Analyzing flight and hotel data from July, I was able to easily identify 14 cities where the cost increase of a trip was no more than $50 more expensive than it was last year. Some cities were even less expensive in July 2008 than July 2007. Here are the complete findings.

I don’t want to say that $50 isn’t a lot of money, because when it seems like the cost of everything is up — from gas to groceries — even a few dollars can seem like a lot. To offset any additional costs, here are a few tips: