Curious if someone could recommend a reliable, cost effective shipping company that would ship from Miami, FL? We need as much information you can give regarding shipping items via shippnig containers to the VI. If my job transfer comes through then we will be moving either to STT or STX and would appreciate any information you might have on the questions we have below.
1. Average size of containers
2. Cost to ship that size (based on every day household items being in the container) example: what it might have cost you to ship one
3. Would like to keep our boat, 27' Formula curious on the best way to ship this item
4. Cheapest flights from the Miami area in FL
5. For all the transplanted people there, would you choose STT or STX? Our biggest concern, where to raise our 4 daughters.
Thanks The Casey Family
I can answer some of your questions. I'm sure others on the board can answer the rest of them.
1. Containers come in two sizes, 20' and 40'. they are 8' wide.
Tropical shipping or Crowley ship frequently to STX. I don't know about STT. As far as which is the better island on which to live. those of us who live on STX believe it is the better place to live. Those who live on STT think it is. The two islands are very different. I think STT is more urban. STX is more small town. They both have their pluses and minuses. Do a search on this board. This has been discussed a bunch. One of the things that most people (including me) recommend is a Pre-Move Visit (PMV). This is a non-vacation visit to the island where you check out things like the grocery stores, regular shopping, roads, places available to live, etc. Keep in mind, you are not moving to Paradise. You're moving to a place with really nice weather and great seas to play in. Life here is somewhat different than in the States. Do a lot of homework or you will find your move here to be a really expensive trip to the Caribbean.
For shipping, I can't recommend highly enough Jennifer at Flemings Transport. We used them to move everything, including two vehicles to STX from Ohio in January. Extremely competent and very easy to work with!
For the flights, I would try searching Expedia and Travelocity.
Like Ric, I very strongly suggest a PMV, especially with kids. Also, you seem to be looking to find the cheapest prices for things, and you may be blown away by the prices of things here. I know I certainly was. Where I used to be able to buy food, clothing and toiletries at Wal-mart for a family of 4 for $150 a week, I now spend $150 for food only for about 4 days. Haircuts are $55, a gallon of milk is $6.29, and the list goes on and on...
I don't know the current schooling situation for your daughters, but that was a major decision factor for our two kids. Please research that extensively, for their sakes. Do a search for "school" over "Last Year" on "All Forums" and read what comes up. We have been very blessed in the school that we chose, but the price was staggering to me. If you choose one of the two major private schools (on STX), you'll be looking at roughly $12,000 per year per child. Good luck in whatever you decide!
Jennifer is no longer working for Fleming's Transport, according to the new person who answered the phone a few weeks ago. However, Berry is fantastic, and he's still there. We agreed that he would park my car at the airport and hide the key in it last night when I arrived, but he was there waiting for us anyway. And he wasn't concerned about payment... said he'll take my credit card info by phone on Tuesday since he didn't have any way to take it last night and I didn't have $3000+ in cash!
I really like kayak.com for flights, though I know others have had good luck with Expedia and Travelocity and others as well. It's also worth looking directly at the American Airlines website and the sites for other airlines that frequently come here. Delta has a weekly flight, and there are a number of small local carriers. Also think about getting an American Airlines credit card so you can start building frequent flyer miles. I did that several years ago and get a free flight every year or two -- and I have no family and very minimal expenses that I put on the card.
I third the idea of a PMV. There's no better way to find out what you're getting into.
As far as STT vs STX goes, I think it's impossible to get a good answer to that question without visiting each island yourself. Having said that, though, STX is more rural/less populated, whereas STT is busier. STT is also very close to STJ, so if you want easy access to STJ, STT would be the way to go. I do think STX has beaches that rival the beauty of STJ, though.
I keep hearing excellent things about Berry, at Flemming, but I can't seem to get a quote from him. I did, however, get a religious chain letter email from him. I politely (I thought) asked him not to send those and reminded him I was still waiting for a quote. I guess I offended him. Haven't heard from him. I talked to Bill at Brandon Transfer, and he was extremely helpful. I just have a small amount of stuff I want to send to my daughter in FL. Bill made some suggestions that would save me money, even though it meant less business for him.
I love using a credit card for points. Our WAPA bill alone gets us at least one airline ticket per year. Another good point (no pun) is when I use credit card points to buy a plane ticket, I still get frequent flyer miles, so I'm building up a ticket there, as well. My husband, being a mid-westerner, hates using a credit card. I have to keep reminding him...points, points, I want the points! LOL
I love using a credit card for points.
You're paying for it. Credit card companies charge about 3% to the merchants and the merchants pass it on to the consumer. In the case of WAPA though, you might as well take advantage of it, because the next trick won't work.
Next trick: After getting a quote from somebody for a service, ask if there's a discount for paying cash. I sometimes get 10-15% off that way.
Oh we do that STXBob. I've never gotten 15% though, usually 5%, and then we don't get the senior discount, which is usually 5%, so we go with the senior discount and get the points.
The worst part is I am getting the points, and therefore the airline tickets, while the next guy is paying the higher price to cover my credit card use, and he isn't even getting points. Not fair, I know.