Household items advice
I’m considering relocating to STX. Ive read conflicting information on the costs of bringing vehicles and some household items vs. purchasing on island, and would like advice. It appears that things are expensive there but so is shipping. I’m thinking we will need two cars. What are the advantages of bringing two cars - vs bringing one and buying one, or buying two on island? Would bringing our electronics (TV, computer) be a good idea or is it better to replace them there? How about our cheap but comfortable couch and mattress, are they expensive to replace? We are considering building a home, would it be wise to purchase appliances and a generator here or buy them on island? In short, given the cost of pricier and larger items on STX, is it a better value to bring them? Any advice is appreciated.
We've done this twice. Once in 2012 in 20 footer from California and back here after a brief 2 year hiatus to Florida this last spring, this time in 2 forty footers. My advice is to bring everything you can fit in the largest container you can afford. When you get here and get set up you will kicking yourself because you left stuff behind and will have to replace it here at considerably more expense. As far as cars are concerned, IMO its far better to bring what you have, and know, than to buy used or for that matter new here, after all this island is only 26 miles long and 6 mile wide where you gonna go?
Completely agree with Ca.Dreamers! Follow the old adage, bring as much as you can, as soon as you can. You may not be able to fine what you need in the stores on the island when you need/want it. If the items are in stock, the selection will be limited and will not be anywhere near a broad as you are used to finding back in the states, the items you need/want (especially things like furniture, electronics, small and large appliances) will usually be on the lower end of the quality scale and the prices of just bout everything will certainly be higher then they are on the mainland. Same applies to cars.
We lived in the Caribbean for 18 years and were always having the things we wanted/needed shipped down from the states. In addition, every time we went back to the mainland to visit friends/family, or for our annual medical check-ups, etc. we came back with suitcases full of all the goodies we couldn't get on the island. Big ticket items, small ticket items - it doesn't matter - you are better off shipping them down when you relocate. Same with your cars.
If you already own stuff you like ship it down. We shipped 2 vehicles and 2 twenty foot containers (both packed to the gills), each about a year apart. I’m sure shipping cost have increased in the past couple of years but inflation has made everything bought here more expensive as well.
As I recall each car cost roughly $3,500 and each container was about $7,500. The 40 foot container would have been more economical (vs 2 20 foot ones) but that didn’t fit our logistical needs. We moved everything from the Boston area, as reference. You also need to add in the moving and unloading the container once it gets to the island. I believe that ran about $1,600 each time.
I 100% agree you should ship items down. But I would probably wait on the bulk of the household items if possible unless you are positive you will be staying for a good amount of time. There a a lot of people who move to the USVI and find that they just don’t like it here.
I would also do a big sorting out of what you have. Any furniture that is not solid wood doesn’t hold up here well. Vehicles with higher clearance and 4WD are good to have too. Even if you have to buy something new (or new to you) in the states and ship I still recommend that. As mentioned, selection and availability are often issues here.
We are considering building a home, would it be wise to purchase appliances and a generator here or buy them on island?
If you're planning to build a home, you're looking at 3+ years before you'll be moving in. Plan accordingly.
As horrid as this sounds, if you don’t already own the land and have an approved set of plans, I have to agree with the 3 year timeline.
After buying our place in early 2019 I decided to build a garage and replace the driveway (crumbling asphalt to concrete) this took roughly 2 years and was a much more straightforward project than building a complete house. My lesson learned, focus on the quality of the work, not the timeline. I’m very happy with the outcome.