STX with family for a month!  

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Arwpersonal
(@Arwpersonal)
New Member

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

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Posted : December 28, 2015 1:44 am
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member

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.

I need to put some space between me and that world

USVI will certainly do it.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 3:19 am
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

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)

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Posted : December 28, 2015 3:24 am
monogram
(@monogram)
Advanced Member

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.

[quote=OldTart]
I can rattle off the names of half a dozen people who were born and raised here, have excellent professional credentials and have tried unsuccessfully to come back and give back to the "their" community only to be shunned. If I as a mere "transplant" can come up with that number then I'm sure that number is infinitely greater.[/quote]

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Posted : December 28, 2015 4:07 am
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member

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

What are the other types?

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Posted : December 28, 2015 4:17 am
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

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

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Posted : December 28, 2015 5:15 am
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

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.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 9:21 am
islandnewbie
(@islandnewbie)
Advanced Member

We have been really happy with Judi's at Croix ([url= http://www.judiofcroix.com/p/welcome-home-to-st-croix.html]). Much less expensive than at the airport and they will meet you there. Dennis is great to work with.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 11:33 am
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

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.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 11:49 am
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

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.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 12:05 pm
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

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

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Posted : December 28, 2015 2:14 pm
thoogie
(@thoogie)
Advanced Member

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.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 2:27 pm
monogram
(@monogram)
Advanced Member

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.

[quote=OldTart]
I can rattle off the names of half a dozen people who were born and raised here, have excellent professional credentials and have tried unsuccessfully to come back and give back to the "their" community only to be shunned. If I as a mere "transplant" can come up with that number then I'm sure that number is infinitely greater.[/quote]

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Posted : December 28, 2015 4:24 pm
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member

These fine broads remind me of east St John.

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Posted : December 28, 2015 4:49 pm
Arwpersonal
(@Arwpersonal)
New Member

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. 😉

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Posted : December 28, 2015 6:24 pm
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