arriving on STX on Feb. 24th
Good Afternoon All!,
First I would like to thank everyone for their posts. I have been reading them for the past 8 months and have found much of the info extremely helpful!
I am moving to STX on Feb. 24th. I have been planning this move for many months and have done much research.
Now a little about me, I am 34yrs old and from Seattle. I have spent several years traveling the world and lived in Thailand, India,Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia just to name a few. I am more than comfortable with "island time".
For seven years I was a commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea. I was a processor for one year, a Deckhand for two years, and the asst. Engineer for four years. and yes, I have all my teeth and am not a raging alcoholic and have never spent time in jail :-). For the past 1.5 years I've been the operations and facility manager for a large catering/event company. In my 20"s I was a server and bartender.
So basically I am very handy on a boat and in the hospitality industry. I have my able bodied seaman certificate, STCW 95 endorsement,
medical emergencies at sea certificate, drill instructor certificate, elementary medicine certificate, Tankerman (PIC) certificate and TWIC card.
Ideally I would like to work on boats at any capacity. I have no problem starting at the bottom! I have a very strong work ethic.
I am also more than willing to work in the hospitality industry as well.
I would greatly appreciate any feedback on possible jobs on boats, Hovensa, and hospitality!
I am also in need of a short term place to stay when I arrive until I find an apartment. I would also be interested in renting a room as well as this would provide an instant social network.
also, any thoughts on which bank is best to open an account and which cell phone company is the best for prepaid service?
I will also be in the market for an "island car "as well.
I'm fully aware it's way easier to obtain all this info once I'm on island but any input would be of tremendous help!
Thank You all and I can't wait to arrive!
We moved here a couple months ago and I still use my prepaid Tracfone that I got on the mainland... costs me about 10cents/minute and the phone itself (although quite basic) was $10. I saw that "Choice" has good deal on no-contract prepaid cell service... about $40/month for unlimitted calls/chats and $50/month for calls/chats/internet (check their website for exact price).
Good luck with your move, you'll love it here.
As far as banks go, if you don't have to open an account here, don't. I've had nothing but horrible experiences with the banks here. Long lines, absolutely incompetent employees, ridiculous fees, etc. I only have an account here because my job requires it for direct deposit. I applied for a mortgage at a local bank and, after 2 months of getting the run-around, I told them to cancel my application. I'm paying cash for my transaction. Of course, the next day, they called to tell me my application was approved... but they still needed this and that, and again, I told them they were no longer needed.
I know plenty of people who have a mainland bank account and fax, email, or mail their paychecks there. You can get cash from ATMs here, and in my opinion, the ATM fee is worth not having to deal with the local banks, especially if you just go to the ATM once or twice a month.
Juanita has some nice short-term rentals. (She uses her real name on this board.) I rented from her for 2 months and found it to be a nice place to start out. The other renters are friendly, so that would give you an instant social network! It's really not hard to meet people here, though. Most people are friendly and happy to strike up a conversation on the beach, at a bar, in line at a store, etc.
Welcome to STX! Two weeks to go!
Thank you very much for the info! I think i'll definately check out choice wireless.
roadrunner: thanks for the banking info! I would actually love to stay with my current bank here in the states and any way I can make the move easier without the hassle of setting up a new account I'm all for:-) I'll definately contact Juanita as well
Thanks again for your input and well wishes!
As far as banks go, if you don't have to open an account here, don't. I've had nothing but horrible experiences with the banks here.
The Bank of St. Croix is okay. I keep a mainland account, but I've had no problems with BSTX, other than the fact that they close at 4PM.
Different people have different experiences. We use Banco Popular as our only bank and have for the last 7 1/2 years. We bank on line and have gotten credit cards with good interest and 2 car (personal) loans from them without incident. We do avoid doing any banking at the branches, that's a time-consuming process.
Most people say AT&T for cell service. May depend on where you live as to which is best for you.
Banks are pretty much "6 of one and half dozen of the other", as far as I'm concerned. We have accounts at Scotia, FirstBank and Bank of STX. The only real difference I can think of is which has the shorter lines and is convenient for where you live/work. I think FirstBank has the most locations and they have a drop box for deposits and an ATM machine, so really the line issue shouldn't be a big deal.
Do check with them to see what the minimum deposit is to open an account and what ID you need. A lot of people get there, money in hand, and discover they need a lease or some other document they didn't think of. Also, I THINK they put a hold on the first deposit, even if it's cash. Anyone know about that? I could have imagined that, but do ask.
Sorry, I don't have any apartments available for Feb. 24, but I do have a couple of spacious 2 bedroom units opening up March 1 and again on April 1, so if you hook up with a roommate, you might want to take a look. http://www.virginislandsrentals.com
Zip me off an email, if you like....firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I just posted yesterday on the classified, with some info about the March 1 unit.
I've had excellent experience with 1st Bank VI. Although I have a mainland bank account, I find a local bank most helpful. Both have e-banking.
Bank Stx is the best of the lot but that is not saying much. I deal with all Three Banks for work and because of that I have never had a banking acct on island. We've had the same stateside bank for about 15 years, no problems getting our paychecks direct deposit, no problem getting car loans, etc from our bank. We love our bank, the only thing they can't do is a mortgage down here. But not all banks are created equal. If you're just using something like Bank of America you might as well get a local account.
I second Banco Popular on line
We've been here 7 months now and have had no major problems. Things run slower here, but as long as you take a deep breath and remind yourself of island time, everything will work out 🙂
We have accounts at banco popular and scotiabank- no problems (took awhile to get the checkcard, but that's life here)
Check for island cars here under classifieds and also in the avis (local newspaper)... lots are around the streets with for sale signs right now too...
We use AT&T for wireless and have no probs... service is spotty way out east and in the rainforest (remember your are on an island)
Lots of hospitality jobs available (especially if you are competent, trustworthy, and reliable)
People on island are very friendly and love to help (that was my experience atleast) Meet many people and tell them what you are looking for as far as jobs, cars, apts, etc... and things WILL turn up!
Try to get a short term lease 3 month somewhere before signing a year lease, so you can explore and see what side of island you want to live. (found our short term on here)
Now you know people, PM if you need anything:)
Have a safe trip!
Just remember Good morning Good afternoon and Good night/evening go a long way.
Wow! I can't thank everyone enough for all the helpful information:@) I currently belong to a credit union so I do all my banking on-line. I think I'll just keep my mainland bank for now and if need to open another one later. I currently have At&t but will probably switch to choice since they are cheaper. It's also nice to know that there are plenty of hospitality jobs available! Thank you Juanita for your input and If I find a roommate I'll definitely check out your properties and email if I have any questions. I'm pretty outgoing and can't wait to meet and talk to whomever I run into! I'm already practicing saying "good morning, evening and night";) I'll definitely keep my eye's open for for sale signs as well so I can cruise the island and find an area I like!
Thank you friends and I'll PM as more questions pop into my head:@)
Counting the days,