hello, my wife and i are looking to move down to either stt or stc, we are coming for a pre move visit in feb. we were just wondering from michigan for a weeks stay what would the pre move visit cost by the time we get tickets round trip, hotel and car for a week plus food. what did it cost you when you came down for a visit? any ways we can save some money that you could suggest to us? thanks.
Coming in high season will be much more expensive than if you waited until may or june.
Airfare: Sign up on www.kayak.com to have alerts sent to your inbox daily or weekly (your choice) if the fare falls below a certain point which you choose. I have it set to let me know when the fare goes below $600, and it happens more often than I expected. You can also search for fares on kayak.com for different times of the year to get an idea of what they will cost you. Flights that require an overnight stay in Miami or Puerto Rico tend to be cheaper. I once slept in the airport in San Juan (yes, in the airport itself, not in the hotel attached to it!). Not fun, but I did enjoy saving a few hundred dollars.
Hotel: Cottages by the Sea is reasonably priced and right on the gorgeous west end beach. Each "room" has a little kitchen, dining area, and living room, so you can really do a PMV... make your own dinner, etc., without totally missing out on enjoying the beach! I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but if you're at all outdoorsy or into camping, stay at Mount Victory Camp www.mtvictorycamp.com -- they have neat little screen houses which are basically like a screened porch, but all the way around. Or, if you really want to cut costs, like we did, you can take your own tent and just camp on their land.
Rental Car: You don't need to rent anything fancy. A cheap little roller skate will do just fine and will get you almost anywhere you want to go, including much of the rain forest. You really, really do need to rent a car, though. This is not a walking island, and you've got to get out and explore since that's the whole point of the trip.
Food: Do not pass up the butter bread at Centerline Bakery on (surprise, surprise) Centerline. It's $1.25 per loaf, hot and fresh every day, and it's just delicious. Also try the gooseberry ice cream at Armstrong's, a little farther west on the same road. Aside from that, consider treating yourself to a meal or two out at one of the places that locals enjoy, but try to make most of your meals yourself. After all, that is what you'll be doing (I assume... unless you typically eat out all the time) once you move, so you might as well get used to the sticker shock at the grocery store! Having said that, though, to save some money for your PMV (keeping in mind you will eventually have to pay the grocery prices or find a way to "import" them), you might consider bringing down some dry goods with you from home.
Entertainment, fortunately, is free... enjoy the beach or go hiking or drive all over the island and check it all out!
On a sort of related note, I recently discovered www.budgettravel.com and have found it to be pretty helpful.
Hi, and welcome to the forum. Obviously you want to start with checking airfares. You might want to start with American, since they service the island more, but any of the usual travel sites will help you figure that out. There was a thread a while back about airfares. Have you figured out the search option? Do a search for airfares, and be sure to set it to at least 90 days out, or longer.
For accommodations, you might want to check with me and/or some of the Realtors on here. Some of us have short term rentals that are in line with usual rents, a bit higher, since it's such a short term, but not anywhere near hotel rates. And the added benefit is you get to live as we live, have a kitchen, so you can grocery shop, deal with the usual traffic and meet neighbors other than other hotel guests. My website is http://www.virginislandsrentals.com.
For eating out, check out the STX restaurants rating thread on here. Lots of the posts are just about the service and quality of the food, but quite often we include how much we paid for a meal. You can also use the search option again and look for grocery prices. Tippi often posts the weekly grocery prices at the major food stores. That is extremely helpful, not only for people considering the move but for us already here, so we can decide where to buy what.
Linda J is right. If you can come during the off season, you will get better prices on airfare, rental car and hotel, if you decide to go that route.
My sister and mom are coming from Detroit Metro on 1/26 and just got tickets last Tuesday for $894 for two. She bought through Expedia going from Detroit to Atlanta to STT to STX
We went to STX from Ohio in November for our PMV and spent about $7,500 for everything, but we also stayed at the Buccaneer and ate out every night. It's not cheap here, which is why everyone recommends coming for a PMV first. I have to be honest, though... absolutely everything costs way more than you expect. Car insurance (which we purchased on our PMV) was nearly triple that of here in the states. So, if you're concerned about saving money on your initial visit, you may not be able to afford to live on the islands comfortably. I don't mean that to be rude or insensitive, but I read the same thing on this board more than once before we visited, and it's very true. Good luck!
My personal opinion is that you should come for a pmv totally UNLIKE a vacation. They are 2 totally different animals.
You should find a local short term apartment, shop at the grocery, go to the post office, go to WAPA and wait in line, you should drive around and really LOOK and FEEL the island of your choice. It is a whole different animal when you stay at a hotel.
Drive on a projected path that you would take if you were working here. Drive from the mid-island to the Buccaneer area - go thru town during rush hours and past the schools. Go to the gas stations (Gateway especially) and see if you can handle the way it is here.
You need to emulate living here.
There are great people on the Classifieds forum on this site that offer shorter term rentals on apartments - not hotel rooms or fancy condos. Go look at the places you can afford to live - look at your electric bill and triple it. That's what you will pay here.
Just be realistic. I came down in 2005 for a 30 day PMV and within 2 weeks found a job and a place to live. I didn't use my return ticket.
But I am single and gypsy-ish. Life is to experience - we don't know if we have tomorrow. Make the most of today.
American is running a special right now. Check their website fare specials. Fares are good Monday-Thursday until Feb. 4. Have to book by Dec. 21. It's not all cities, not all flight, but I'm pretty sure Detroit was listed.
we didn't have enough time/notice to do a PMV but we got a short-term rental for our first 3 weeks while we got settled in.
I used VRBO.com to find something short-term in the area we were looking for.
go to cheapoair.com the best prices this week.
Really good points, Linda. Reminds me that I should have noted in my earlier post that a one-week PMV might not be long enough. Of course, it's difficult to get away from many jobs for longer than that, but if you can, a longer visit might be more fruitful. I did a month-long PMV, and it was still not quite long enough to get completely out of vacation mode. 🙂