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Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

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Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

We visited the beautiful island of Anguilla last year and are returning in a few months. We had a very hard time finding sunscreen - especially anything over a SPF over 4. We only brought carry ons so we were limited to liquids - also had contact solution to bring. I was wondering if it would be easier to mail a package with all of our liquids in it to our villa or to put everything in a checked bag. I have heard it can take an hour or so to get your bags. The few things of sunscreen we did find were very expensive. Buying 3 on the island might be same cost as mailing it. And we dont waste any "beach time " searching for sunscreen. When we went to ST John a few years ago it worked out perfectly mailing a package to the villa. Of course this time it would be international mail. I haven't ever done that. Also not sure how reliable the delivery process is on the island.

Thanks

Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Check, too iffy to mail - mail is slow, then you may have to pay duty at the PO, (plus go there and wait in line) if you check you know (hopefully) it will be there when you arrive. We check, and the longest I have ever had to wait is 40 mins and that was on a Sat when all the big planes come in.

Alberta, Canada
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2. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Do as Ellen says - check a bag. If your airline still allows a free checked bag it is definitely the cheapest option, and it is (in spite of misdirected luggage horror stories) more reliable.

We try not to check, but when we had to, the wait at SXM was anything between 10 minutes and close to an hour. The former was probably when we had a long wait for passport control (before the "transit" channel was created) and the latter was clearly "special" as the bags for later arrivals emerged before ours.

Nevis
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for Nevis
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3. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Agree, mail is S-L-O-W and you'll never know when the package will arrive. I'm assuming you are based in the US. If so, the reason your package got to St. John a few years ago in a reasonable time frame is you were dealing with the USPS "all the way". When mailing to a non-US island things don't go as smooth. For instance, someone from recently sent us a small package to Nevis (about the size of an old VCR Cassette) by Priority Mail and it took5 1/2 weeks to reach us. That same package would have taken about 3 days to reach any of the USVI's. You'll encounter similar delays when mailing packages to Anguilla.

You could use Fed-EX and get the package in about 2 days but you'll spend close to $100US for shipping.

Your only real options are to put your (excess) liquids and gels in your checked luggage or bite the bullet and purchase them on the island.

Maryland
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for Anguilla
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4. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Now that there is a French pharmacy at tomac Plaza on the main road, I buy my 50 spf sunscreen on island. I visit the island 3-5 times each year and they have always been stocked. If I were to send items ahead, I would use one of the services through the Anguilla post office: either EZone for air or Home Shopping to go by boat if time is not critical. Your hotel or villa concierge/manager may have an account and be able to help with that. Once a year I check a bag with liquids other than sunscreen and it doesn't take any longer to wait for the bag at the airport than it would to wait at the post office to pay the duty on a shipped package or at the airport for a fedexed package.

Naples, Florida
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for Anguilla
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5. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Definitely agree with checking a bag! We sent a deposit check to a villa owner in a very timely fashion. It went all the way to the Post Office in Anguilla where it got a lovely postmark and, even though it was correctly addressed, it was returned to us in Washington, DC. That's just the most recent of the horror stories involving the local mail. Check the bag.

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6. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Thank you so much for your quick responses. We definitely will not mail a package down. I was thinking it would be super slow and not sure if it would ever get to Anguilla.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Checked baggage. I have same issue. Only been to AXA once in recent years, but have flow via SXM to other island destinations, over the last 3 or 4 years, and have been pleased with my decision to check one bag. Never more than 5 to 15 minutes wait (maybe I got lucky?) in baggage claim. Conversely I mailed a package to the same general region about 8 months ago, and it was returned to me, supposedly unclaimed, yet the person I sent it to checked diligently at her post office weekly. Take whatever you needed with you, and check that bag for peace of mind. :)

Edited: 23 March 2013, 18:36
London, United...
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8. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Bring your own contact lens solution. We could not believe how expensive this was on island - at least 4 times what we pay in the UK. I agree with you regarding sunscreen - very difficult to find the higher factors later in the season, we found some higher factor Banana Boat at the sailing place and in one of the petrol stations but you should bring it with you. I think 40% of our luggage weight is sunscreen and other toiletries! We are very light travellers on the way home!

Leesburg, Florida
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9. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Definitely Check--I sent a Xmas present to some friends on AXA the first week in Dec and it arrived the first week of Feb !!!

Devon, Pennsylvania
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10. Re: Which is better... Checking bag or mailing package

Agree with all those "check it" folks! For the second year in a row we mailed our deposit check to our Agent for the villa and it took 6 weeks!

Since my DH has fragrance allergies, we have to check a bag with lotions/shampoos,/deod, etc because we buy fragrance free ones and, while we can find them on island (Ming's had it), they are very expensive and worth the checked baggage fee of $25.

Suggestion: We go through out luggage closet and find an old bag we haven't used (too many) and check that full of our lotions, favorite cheeses/crackers/cereals (we note that it also raises eyebrows at TSA because we always have a note in the bag saying they opened and inspected --LOL). We then either give the bag to the housekeeper or Agent (or toss if in really bad shape) so we come home with only carry on.

The US airport baggage claims are far slower than SXM. The most we've waited was 15 minutes and that was on a Saturday with other planes in.

Enjoy!!!

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