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tnv2stt
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June 18, 2014 6:21 pm  

My husband and I, mid 40's, are researching moving to the USVI's. I think we've decided on St. Croix. My job does not lend time for a PMV, so we will be just plunging in. We are doing as much research as possible, and have ordered a VI moving package through this site. I just wanted to know what areas on the island are best to live, and the safest. Also, if anyone has any tips on moving sight unseen! Also, is there a better time of year to move there, ie. is off-season cheaper or do the prices stay the same for rent year round. Also, we are aiming to move February 2015.


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Mixie
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June 18, 2014 6:30 pm  

Houses to buy or rent are best seen in person everywhere, more so in tropical climates and even more so in St. Croix where views, breeze, neighborhoods and so on are quite distinct.
Life is good, come experience it for a week or so.


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speee1dy
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June 18, 2014 7:02 pm  

i am kind of surprised to hear of you moving sight unseen, though it does happen reading everything you can get your hands on will still not prepare you for island life.

i do hope you enjoy the experience of moving and living here. just know that reality and expectations are two different things, especially if you have never visited before


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CruzanIron
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June 18, 2014 7:23 pm  

Last tennants that I had did the same thing. Came with furniture, dogs, vehicles.

2 months later they suddenly left, selling or giving away most of their stuff.


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tnv2stt
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June 18, 2014 7:48 pm  

I have visited St. Maarten (sp?) in the past a few times and always wanted to live the dream. Chose USVI for the ease of work. I know it seems crazy, but I can't take more than 4 days off of work, and to take a mini pmv would take a chunk of change from our savings to move on. We were planning on finding a short term rental first, 3-6 months, and then go from there. Any good advice?


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speee1dy
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June 18, 2014 8:56 pm  

much better idea to rent for a little while. dont bring things , store them until you are sure you are going to stay


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STXBob
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June 18, 2014 9:08 pm  

I have visited St. Maarten (sp?) in the past a few times and always wanted to live the dream. Chose USVI for the ease of work. I know it seems crazy, but I can't take more than 4 days off of work, and to take a mini pmv would take a chunk of change from our savings to move on. We were planning on finding a short term rental first, 3-6 months, and then go from there. Any good advice?

A 3-6 month rental is long-term, not short-term, and you don't want to commit to a long-term lease sight unseen. Start with a short-term rental of 1-2 weeks while you look for a long-term rental, and do NOT buy a house in the first year. You still need to see if living here is right for you. And don't bring a lot of stuff with you at first. You might hate it here and regret paying for all that shipping. Half of the stateside transplants leave within 6 months, so try to mitigate your risks.

Short-term rentals vary in price by season. February is high season. Long-term rentals of 1 year or more generally do not vary by season.

Good luck!


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noOne
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June 18, 2014 9:59 pm  

Yeah I really am surprised you are going to move somewhere you have never even visited and not read much about...

What do you plan to do for work? Some sort of telecommuting?


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tnv2stt
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June 18, 2014 11:17 pm  

I have been reading these posts and thanks for the good and the bad opinions. We have decided, if we can swing it, at least a weeks stay there. I know it's not a lot, but at least we will have seen the island. I am a Pastry Chef and my husband is a butcher. We both have tons of restaurant experience, doing whatever, so we hope to not have too much trouble finding work. I am doing as much research as possible, but do agree a visit of any kind is necessary. Any suggestions on affordable weekly rentals, to aid in our mini pmv.


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speee1dy
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June 19, 2014 12:37 am  

we had a butcher on island for about less than a year. we had a real bakery, starfish patisserie , that lasted for about 3. you might be able to get a chef job. if not are you both able to be servers?


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Afriend
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June 19, 2014 1:09 am  

You asked "Any suggestions on affordable weekly rentals, to aid in our mini pmv?"

In order to make meaningful suggestions you have to tell us what "affordable" means to you. All we know from you previous posts is you think a "mini PMV will take a big chunk of change from your savings".

Just so you know, nothing is cheap in the USVI's or anywhere in the Caribbean for that matter.


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Alana33
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June 19, 2014 1:30 am  

Use should visit www.flipkey.com and www.vrbo.com to get a sense of the rates for a short-term/vacation rentals here in the islands.
May - Nov. have the best rates. Dec. - April is considered "high season" and rates will be considerably higher priced than in "off season."
February is one of the busiest vacation rental months due to Valentines and President's week. You'd be better off coming in the begining of off season/May or June.

Furnished rentals are more expensive than unfurnished, few are a Just Bring Your Suitcase type deal and if you aren't willing to pay more and bring nothing then you will spend to buy all the little things: sheets, towels, pots, pans, dishware, glassware, toaster, microwave, tv and 100 other odds and ends plus deposits for cable, internet, WAPA, etc. Not to mention most rentals require 1st, last & security.
Many rentals just have basic furnishings. What about a car? You'll need one.

Maybe contact some of the larger supermarkets in STX to see if they have any positions open for a butcher.
Maybe contact some restaurants at hotels and see if they need a pastry chef.
If you come in Feb which stated is one of our busiest tourist months, most jobs are filled by then.
High season is short so people will often not wish to negotiate a "deal" for a vacation rental.
Most longterm rentals want a min. 1 yr. lease.

Be prepared and do your homework.


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Flash Gordo
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June 19, 2014 2:28 am  

Good luck on the move tnv2stt! I hope you and your family find what you are looking for in the islands!

One thing I have been told regarding jobs on STX is that most employers will be more interested in hiring AFTER you are physically on the island. Primarily due to many people from the mainland apply for jobs saying they will be coming to the island in the future, but then change their mind and abandon the thought all together. Understandably, this frustrates the employers hence they wait until you have landed on the island.

There is a good deal of information on LinkedIn regarding employment and discussions related to the USVI which may be helpful as well.


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gonetropo
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June 19, 2014 10:43 am  

We would not move to a town on the other side of a city without first investigating it thoroughly and visiting!

Why would you make a blind decision to move to a small island likely thousands of miles from where you are without due diligence?
You really need to think about this more!

THIS IS NOT KANSAS!


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MosquitoBaitt
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June 19, 2014 11:39 am  

and to take a mini pmv would take a chunk of change from our savings.

HOW BIG A CHUNK OF CHANGE WOULD IT BE TO MAKE A BIG MOVE TO STX AND NOT LIKE IT? Take 2 weeks out of your life (and savings) and do a PMV the right way - it could save you your life savings!


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Ca. Dreamers
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June 19, 2014 12:25 pm  

Also, if anyone has any tips on moving sight unseen!

DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!

We visited several times over the years and looked seriously for 4 year before buying here on St. Croix in 2012.

Greatest place in the world to live for us, but it has to be for you and you'll never know till you at least come here.

CD


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loucypher
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June 19, 2014 12:57 pm  

Where do you live now? It doesn't matter a whole lot I'm just curious. Listen to what we are telling you. DO NOT just up and move here without doing a proper PMV. Even if you have visited another Caribben island you have no idea if this is for you. Your job doesn't permit it? I would make it work. Think about the money you are going to waste if you decide to leave after a month. Will that job take you back?


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tnv2stt
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June 19, 2014 7:22 pm  

I am very grateful for all of your tips. It's kind of crushing the dream, but it is being very realistic! I live in California, and to take that visit would be about $3,000. I do understand what you are saying, that $ is peanuts compared to if we sold everything, made the move, and didn't like it. I do really appreciate the eye opener, I am a bit of a dreamer. Where I work, I am the only one who does my job, so it's hard to leave for a period of time.


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Rowdy802
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June 19, 2014 8:28 pm  

I am very grateful for all of your tips. It's kind of crushing the dream, but it is being very realistic! I live in California, and to take that visit would be about $3,000. I do understand what you are saying, that $ is peanuts compared to if we sold everything, made the move, and didn't like it. I do really appreciate the eye opener, I am a bit of a dreamer. Where I work, I am the only one who does my job, so it's hard to leave for a period of time.

Oh don't give up... Just do a more thorough research... As soon as I saw what you both do for a living and talking about "plunging in" and moving to a place "sight unseen" I could tell how much information you lack...

The VI's can be yours only if you know you are for the VI's... 🙂


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Afriend
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June 19, 2014 9:35 pm  

You said "I'm a bit of a dreamer" - well there's nothing wrong with dreaming but deciding to relocate anywhere based on a "dream", especially place you've never been to, don't really know much about and you'll be "just taking the plunge" to do it is somewhat foolhardy. What the responders here are trying to tell you is the reality of living on an island in the Caribbean is far different than what most people see in their dreams.

You can do a lot of "research" on this and other websites but none of what you'll read will fully prepare you for island life - it's not all palm trees, sandy beaches and sipping pina coladas while gazing upon turquoise waters. Those are all lovely but you still have to deal with everyday life - household chores, working to earn a living, paying the bills - all the same "stuff" you do back in California.

Living on an island is like living in a small rural town without the ability to easily drive to the "big city" when you want a taste of "civilization", and believe me, you'll want a taste of civilization once in a while.

So a PMV will cost you $3,000, you'll have to take time off from work and perhaps work a little harder when you get back (because "your the only one who does your job"). Well, that's a small price to pay to gain valuable first hand experience.

Keep in mind a large percentage of "newcomers" don't last more than a year or two. Often when a couple relocates to the islands one likes it and the other doesn't. What will you do if that happens. Wouldn't it be better to find that out during a PMV rather than discover it after "taking the plunge".

Do all the research you can. Then evaluate the reasons why you want to make the move - be honest with yourself. Would those same reasons make you want to move from where you now live to another town/city in California? How about an adjacent state or one in the mid-west or perhaps on the opposite side of the country? If the answer is still yes would you "take the plunge" and move to those places sight unseen or would you take a more conservative approach an make a PMV?

My spouse and I spent over 10 years making PMV's to 25+ islands before we found the island that was right for us. We learned a lot along the way and I can tell you this the biggest thing we learned is living in the Caribbean is nothing at all like our initial dreams - some aspects of the dream are better some are worse but overall it's VERY DIFFERENT then our original dream.

Good luck with your research. I hope you decide to make a PMV and that it's successful and one day you call yourself an islander.


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speee1dy
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June 19, 2014 10:09 pm  

dont give up on your dream, just be more realistic about how to make it come true


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wcpalmtree
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June 23, 2014 3:33 pm  

I would like to hear more about the High and Low Seasons, if anyone has any more information to offer regarding that I would greatly appreciate it... i.e. when is the "optimal time" to make a move to the islands?

I am planning to make my move to STX the first week of November... I figure if December is the start of the high season, than November would be when most restaurants, bars, etc. would be "beefing up" their staff and would make finding a job a little easier, if I need to go the route of serving/bartending when I first arrive.

I have applied to Ridge to Reef Farm, and am waiting to hear back from Nate as to if I have been accepted to work on his farm for either the work exchange program or the agritourism program. (Gardening is my hobby and my passion, I want to learn more about organic gardening and work towards living an entirely sustainable lifestyle)

In the perfect world (that is in my mind) my move would go a little something like this:
November 2014 - Move to STX and work on R2R Farm for about 3-6 months. In this time I will be able to establish a friend group, become entirely familiar with the island, purchase a car, learn invaluable lessons on farming in the Caribbean and sustainable living, and hopefully make island connections for an affordable long term rental after my stent working on the farm.

By May 2015- Hopefully, I will have been accepted to live and work on R2R Farm and at this point will have a vehicle, group of friends, and a connection on an affordable long term rental.
I applied to Big Beards Charter in Christiansted back in January 2014 (and stopped by their shop to speak with them in person on my PMV in February 14) and they (like many others, and understandably so) told me that they only hire folks that have lived on the island for a bit. I used to teach sailing on the Chesapeake Bay during my summers through college and am currently working as a biologist at an AFB so they said I was well qualified and would probably be a good fit for their staff, I just need to reside on the island and re apply. So hopefully after working/ living at R2R Farm I can snag a position crewing with Big Beards during the day and serving/ bartending at night. I have been scouring craigslist for the past year looking for long term rentals, but I feel (like most things on the island) that word of mouth and in person transactions will be the best way for me to find a rental that suites me. I would love to work for Big Beards taking folks on tours of Buck Island for a while before eventually working to snag a more "professional position" in the field of biology somewhere on STX.

If my "perfect world plan" doesn't go as I hope, I have looked into other options as well. I have contacted the owner of St. Croix Haven to speak with her about a one month rental when I first arrive (if R2R Farm doesn't work out). I do not want to commit to a Long Term Rental until I have purchased a car. St. Croix Haven seems to be the only spot that I can find on line that is offering a one month rental option at an affordable price (roughly $600/Mo for an efficiency studio apartment).

If anyone knows of any other places that will rent on a month to month basis please direct me to their website or a number that I could contact them through.

I didn't intend to go off on a rant about my "secret master plan" when I started typing, but alas here we are. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on what I have planned or advice or opinions on changes I may need to make. Please poke holes in my plan and enlighten me to any glaring obstacles that I have surely overlooked.

Also, I didn't mean to steal the thunder from the original feed, but I find All feedback is helpful in planning a big move like this, even if its not directed at the one asking the questions.


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Mayerslayer
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June 26, 2014 1:56 am  

My partner and I are from San Diego, living in Vegas and going to spend a month in STT for a PMV in august/September .
We were there once, but have been to many surrounding islands. We want to stay in the US and we went with STT or St Croix.
Our base will be STT but we plan on checking out both islands while there. This is also our dream, yet more realistically our plan. We know how beautiful everything is and all that, but we also know about the negatives. Yes we still have to get jobs and pay bills, but we want to do this like you. Even if after two years we say we've had enough, at least one day when I'm on my death bed, I can look back and say I tried it.
Life is too short to not make some leaps and I admire you both for doing so. We too are in our 40s and 30s, with absolutely no ties to anyone.
Keep us posted on your dream


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speee1dy
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June 26, 2014 12:09 pm  

it never hurts to have a dream. i wish all of you luck. i am curious though. WHY do you all want to move down here? specifically


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noOne
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June 26, 2014 1:32 pm  

Because it's a party all the time!


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