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STX with family for a month!

Arwpersonal
December 27, 2015 10:44PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 4

I'm a total stranger, and under normal circumstances might be the tourist you meet at the bar at the place you're trying to have dinner on a Tuesday night. I'm reasonably well traveled, and I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful family (incredible wife, a four and five year old boy and girl) and I'm in kind of a unique situation.

The short version is that I'm leaving a job as an IT exec after 22 years, and I started at 20 years old. It's time, I've done the time form 13 employees to over 900, and I'm going on to pursue other adventures after money ruined our awesome thing. It's obviously a difficult decision, and not the least expensive decision that I'll ever make, but it's the right call for the family and for me professionally.

I need to put some space between me and that world for a bit before I put my gloves back on, and I'm thinking about taking a reasonably priced house in St. Croix or St. John's for a month between Feb March timeline. I spent a week there a year ago solo, and I fell a little bit in love with the small town, quirky, sometimes a little rough around the edges, the nature of the place in such a setting of beauty. People seemed to understand what was really important, and were willing to make whatever sacrifices both personally and collectively to spend their time there. Half paved roads with a great story, great urban legends, an active rumor mill and a general understanding that patience was of primary concern. I loved all of those things about the place, and it seemed very different in some ways and somewhat similar to where I grew up in Iowa.

There are plenty of places that I can find that are available to rent online, and I know reasonably well both what I can afford and what I can get my head around. I'm looking for a place that my kids can get to the beach easily, but with a view my wife and I can enjoy when they're in bed, but reasonably close to groceries and the occasional wander away.

I'm about to be unemployed, and the usual "damn the cost" rules don't really apply anymore. Why am I scrawling all of this to you? Not for a hotel recommendation or house referral, although I'm not beneath that. More than anything, I need an ex-pat or a local in St. Croix or St. John's that I can call to ask questions of about living there with the family for a month.

I have a pretty well researched set of questions - differences between this area and that, where we find child care, what mistakes most expats or tourists make, etc.

I'm wondering about differences between Christianstead vs East end vs. Frederickstead. We're wondering how important it is to be able to walk to a market, and whether or not it's really worth having the place on the beach versus one nestled in the hills. Where we can get a car reasonably cheap for a full month.. I've read quite a bit on how to relocate, but I'm not sure that it's all applicable given that will only be there for a month.

Anyone you can point me towards would be GREATLY appreciated, and any advice you might be willing to spare would be wonderful.

Thanks!

-Aaron Warner
Iowa City, IA
Arwpersonal@gmail.com

Re: STX with family for a month!

wanderer
December 28, 2015 12:19AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 596

Quote
Arwpersonal
I'm wondering about differences between Christianstead vs East end vs. Frederickstead.

Frederiksted is smaller, less commercial, more sleepy, more impoverished, less touristy, more native, better beaches, and less expensive.

Christiansted is larger, has most of the "transplants", better infrastructure, more expensive, more vibrant, more crowded, and feels less Caribbean.

You can rent a car from the STX airport. Ask for a monthly rate. It would probably be from $1200 an up per month, depending on the size (sound like you'd need a large SUV). Book in advance, as supply may be limited.

Quote
Arwpersonal
I need to put some space between me and that world

USVI will certainly do it.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2015 01:04AM by wanderer.

Re: STX with family for a month!

Scubadoo
December 28, 2015 12:24AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,069

You will want a car on STX regardless, and you will very most likely be driving to whichever markets you decide to shop, even if it is only a short distance. You will likely want to visit a few different markets for the pros and cons of each during a month stay. You can get a monthly rate from the rental car companies but definitely check rates because weekly could actually be less. Also know that your current car insurance will likely not cover more than 21 consecutive days of car rental, but credit card insurance may.

North shore, C'sted area and East are good general areas for vacation rentals and will be closer to more markets. Whether you want a place on the beach or one in the hills with a view is up to you, we have it all. On or across from the beach with a view sounds like it may be better for the kids. Also know that US VI is part of US so there are no ex-pats from US here (but are some from the great white north eh)

Re: STX with family for a month!

monogram
December 28, 2015 01:07AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 446

You should apply for jobs as well! The "escaping drama in the states" types tend to do very, very well here. You should be picked up quickly.

Re: STX with family for a month!

wanderer
December 28, 2015 01:17AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 596

Quote
monogram
The "escaping drama in the states" types tend to do very, very well here.

What are the other types?

Re: STX with family for a month!

Scubadoo
December 28, 2015 02:15AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,069

The I don't have a job in the states so let's find one on an island instead types.big grin

Re: STX with family for a month!

OldTart
December 28, 2015 06:21AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

I hope you've read all the information in the drop-down menus top of this page. They're as applicable to you and your questions coming for a month as they are to anyone anticipating a longer stay. I rather think from your questions that you've not fully absorbed that vast amount of information.

I would point out that there is no "St John's" here (simply St John) and although there are a few "expats" in the islands, I think you're referring to people who've moved here from the US. They're US citizens who've moved here, not expats. Good luck.

Re: STX with family for a month!

islandnewbie
December 28, 2015 08:33AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 66

Re: STX with family for a month!

Alana33
December 28, 2015 08:49AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,967

If costs are a consideration, then you'll find off season rates May/ Nov. much more practical for vacation than winter/high season rates.
Best rates are generally during Aug.- Sept. - Oct.

If you wish to be here in the VI during high season, then be prepared to pay the price. There'll be a scarcity of car rentals if you don't have a prior reservation, especially in Feb.

Short term rental owners are less likely to negotiate rates in high season.

Mid Dec. - end of April command higher rates.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2015 08:52AM by Alana33.

Re: STX with family for a month!

sheiba
December 28, 2015 09:05AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 483

Call centerline car rental on St Croix. Cheapest on island ! They will also meet you at airport.Last I checked...centerline was $800 for the month verses Judi for $1200.

Re: STX with family for a month!

OldTart
December 28, 2015 11:14AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

St Croix, St John - is St Thomas not a consideration? Just curious.

Re: STX with family for a month!

thoogie
December 28, 2015 11:27AM

Registered: 13 years ago
Posts: 41

I completely agree about Centerlne but don't rent a car from anybody at the airport.

You'll get hit with an 8% AIRPORT CONCESION FEE. When I rent from Centerline's C'sted location and then drop it off at the airport, I'm charged a $10 "foreign drop fee" but no 8% fee.

If the rental originated and ended at the airport, I'd be charged the 8% fee and the $10 drop fee so I don't know if the $10 drop fee is another airport fee or Centerline's pricing structure. If you go to their website and play around with the pick up and drop off sections you'll see what I'm talking about.

Hopefully my post doesn't take this thread in a completely different direction.

Re: STX with family for a month!

monogram
December 28, 2015 01:24PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 446

Quote
wanderer
Quote
monogram
The "escaping drama in the states" types tend to do very, very well here.

What are the other types?

Why wanderer is the best, exhibit A.

Re: STX with family for a month!

wanderer
December 28, 2015 01:49PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 596

Quote
monogram


These fine broads remind me of east St John.

Re: STX with family for a month!

Arwpersonal
December 28, 2015 03:24PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 4

You're all wonderful, thanks for the variety of observations and suggestions. We'd love to hear more about the relative benefits of East end vs. Christianstead vs. Frederickstead. Do cruise ships really affect quality of life in these places much? Part of the attraction of St. Croix is the relatively light traffic vs. St. Thomas.

And thanks for the ex-pat corrections, I didn't mean to offend. The distinction is understood, it just parlance I'm used to outside of US territories, and generally not derogatory at all. wink

Re: STX with family for a month!

East Ender
December 28, 2015 04:36PM

Registered: 13 years ago
Posts: 4,957

Reasonable on St. Croix is going to be different from reasonable on St. John. And beach side living will be easier on St. Croix as well.

Re: STX with family for a month!

OldTart
December 28, 2015 06:19PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
Arwpersonal

And thanks for the ex-pat corrections, I didn't mean to offend. The distinction is understood, it just parlance I'm used to outside of US territories, and generally not derogatory at all. wink

There's absolutely nothing derogatory about the word, "expat" but US citizens moving to a US territory aren't expats.

Re: STX with family for a month!

wanderer
December 28, 2015 07:23PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 596

Quote
Arwpersonal
We'd love to hear more about the relative benefits of East end vs. Christianstead vs. Frederickstead. Do cruise ships really affect quality of life in these places much?

Strictly speaking, Frederiksted (that's the correct spelling) is a very small town, 7 blocks wide and 7 blocks long, with a population of about 1,000 people. When the cruise ships stop in Frederiksted (about 3 times a week at the peak of the season), the tourists outnumber the locals at about 3:1 ratio. However, the tourists tend to cluster around the historic landmarks, shopping areas, and nearby beaches, which are in the immediate vicinity of the peer. So, if you are not right in the middle of these areas, you'll see very little impact. Furthermore, a much larger population (about 10,000 people) live in the West of STX, surrounding Frederiksted, and in there, you may not even see the cruise ship tourists at all.

So, in summary, unless you chose to rent somewhere right in the middle of the tourist attractions, don't worry about the "quality of life" changes caused by the cruise ships. I'd be more concerned about other factors, such as proximity to high crime areas, privacy, and noise disturbances. As everywhere else, the normal rule of "you get what you pay for" applies. When you select a candidate for a rental property, read the reviews from the previous guests.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2015 07:37PM by wanderer.

Re: STX with family for a month!

sheiba
December 28, 2015 08:56PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 483

I actually like cruise ship days on st croix. They are far and few between and fredriksted comes alive With local artists, music , food, vendors , dancing ,etc... If it was like that everyday, I wouldn't like it but every so often is good for the economy and fun. Brings a little excitement into the town.
And its only one ship verses Stt....Im not sure 10 ships in a day?

Re: STX with family for a month!

sheiba
December 28, 2015 09:01PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 483

Check out cottages by the sea if you want to be out west....its on the beach and family friendly. close enough to wAlk into town. A great place just to sit and relax. Amazing sunsets and a good , calm beach for kids.

Re: STX with family for a month!

wanderer
December 28, 2015 09:05PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 596

Quote
sheiba
Check out cottages by the sea if you want to be out west....its on the beach and family friendly. close enough to wAlk into town. A great place just to sit and relax. Amazing sunsets and a good , calm beach for kids.

I'll second that. Nice place.

Re: STX with family for a month!

RevFD
December 28, 2015 10:23PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 92

Don't forget to factor in the airfare in your travel budget. Unless you're lucky to have a direct connection from where you live, you're looking at $600-800 r/t pp. We have friends (a family of five) that came very close to buy a vacation property on STX, but is now looking in Mexico instead in large part because of the airfare.

Re: STX with family for a month!

Scubadoo
December 28, 2015 10:54PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,069

Quote
thoogie
You'll get hit with an 8% AIRPORT CONCESION FEE. When I rent from Centerline's C'sted location and then drop it off at the airport, I'm charged a $10 "foreign drop fee" but no 8% fee.

If the rental originated and ended at the airport, I'd be charged the 8% fee and the $10 drop fee so I don't know if the $10 drop fee is another airport fee or Centerline's pricing structure.

I've never paid a $10 drop fee with Centerline (or any other) when picking up from and returning to the airport.

Both Centerline and Budget have off-airport locations as well as Judi.

If you have a cheap/free way to get out of the airport to the off-airport rental location then go for it and avoid the 8%. Otherwise you may end up paying just as much or more. Centerline may also come to your hotel or other location you are staying at. But they can't "meet you at the airport" for off-airport rental now that they have on-airport rental location.

Re: STX with family for a month!

monogram
December 28, 2015 11:08PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 446

Quote
RevFD
Don't forget to factor in the airfare in your travel budget. Unless you're lucky to have a direct connection from where you live, you're looking at $600-800 r/t pp. We have friends (a family of five) that came very close to buy a vacation property on STX, but is now looking in Mexico instead in large part because of the airfare.

Yes, traveling to STX is prohibitively expensive.

Re: STX with family for a month!

Scubadoo
December 28, 2015 11:36PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 2,069

Quote
monogram
Quote
RevFD
Don't forget to factor in the airfare in your travel budget. Unless you're lucky to have a direct connection from where you live, you're looking at $600-800 r/t pp. We have friends (a family of five) that came very close to buy a vacation property on STX, but is now looking in Mexico instead in large part because of the airfare.

Yes, traveling to STX is prohibitively expensive.

Maybe there are some cheap rates on the cargo ships from Miami (for those not in a super hurry to get here)?big grin

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