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To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

Methuen...
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To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

Staying at Sapphire for 2 weeks. Just two of us. This will be our first time on the island. I have read previous forums regarding this topic and have looked at the prices on the FreshfoodsVi website but can use additional insight.

To check a bag would cost us $50 round trip. I personally think we will spend less if we check a bag vs. buying it in STT but I've never been. I am an extremely picky eater, whereas my sister is not. Both of us are foodies though. I am a big snacker and she loves meat.

We will obviously dine out here and there, but would prefer to spend more of our budget taking day trips to St. John and other islands/taxi to and from as we aren't renting a car.

Best ways to pack the food? We typically do all inclusive vacations so this will be our first time cooking meals at a condo. Do you meal prep the first day you get there to make it easier? Is the meat marinated /frozen then packed and checked for easier/less prep time? Issues with checked bags - traveling non stop from Boston via Delta (will be our first time flying w/ them) .

We aren't sure if we will use a taxi at the airport or go the private route for a stop at the market to grab water bottles and other things we can't pack.

Thanks in advance!

Edited: 10 April 2017, 03:11
24 replies to this topic
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1. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

we are leaving tomorrow and I'm currently packing my bag of food to bring for me, my husband and our 2 teenage boys. This will be our third time going to St Thomas (2nd time bringing food). We pack breakfast foods ( English muffins, bacon, sausage, granola bars, coffee) lunch stuff ( deli meats, wraps, pretzels, pb&j, bagged salads) and snacks (crackers, cheese, chips, etc). It saves money plus the only things we need to buy when we get there are milk, bread, eggs, water, drinks for the kids and rum for adults. we go out for dinner every night but bringing breakfast, lunch and snacks definitely saves us a lot of money plus we don't have to waste time grocery shopping when we can be on the beach!

If you check a bag also pack a lot of sunblock, it's expensive on the island!

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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2. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

You and your sister will have a blast!!! Don't over think what you are packing. Take 1/2 as many clothes as you think you need. Food wise; we take lunchmeat & cheese, sandwich thins, mustard & mayo packets saved from fast food restaurants, bagels & cream cheese, english muffins & peanut butter. Coffee, sugar, Gatorade powder, Nutrigrain & granola bars, Pringles & Goldfish. We check a bag on the way down for our food, but also pack our sunscreen, bug spray, shampoo, aloe, etc. Go to a thrift store and buy a cheap bag to check (and leave behind), or use a duffel bag that you can fold up and put in your other bag on the way home.

St Thomas
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for St. Thomas
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3. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

BostonMA25, you've said you don't plan on renting a car for your two week stay as neither of you is comfortable driving on the left, but have you looked into how taking taxis is going to impact your budget? It's just something you may want to rethink. Taxis charge per person based on location and, for instance, just to get into Red Hook which is a five minute drive from Sapphire will cost you $4 per person plus tip. Here's a link to the taxi rates:

vinow.com/stthomas/…

Hundreds of thousands of visitors come here every year and within 15 minutes easily adjust to driving on the left. Our max speed limit is 35MPH and you'll rarely find yourself even hitting that speed with most of your driving in the 20-30 range (vehicles are standard US left hand drive). I gather from previous posts that you want to stick to a budget and you plan a lot of sightseeing so you may be seriously underestimating how relying on taxis is going to impact the budget. You don't need a 4WD vehicle to get around St Thomas nor for a day trip to St John - a simple compact will suit you just fine.

If you don't want to rent when you arrive, there is a rental agency right there at Sapphire. Just something you should think about - having your own wheels is priceless.

Birmingham, Alabama
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4. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

Totally agree. The taxi cost adds up quickly even just down to red hook round trip is $16+ per trip for 2 people Driving on the left is not a big deal at all. I was nervous at first also but u quickly adjust. To me I felt safer than some of the cab rides we took on the island.

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5. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

Amanda, How exciting!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and tips on packing extra sunscreen. I figured we would save money that way. Enjoy your vacation!!

Maine
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6. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

we usually stay out on water island, and do a mix of things: we always bring dry goods with us (crackers, pasta, coffee, etc.) since the pricing is outrageous on the island. We do also work with grocery goddesses (check facebook), to provision the condo we rent... additionally, since we stay for at least 10 days at a time, we hit the gourmet gallery at the crown bay marina, or the pueblo around the corner from there to pick up things we ran out of etc. I think fresh foods VI is a little bit crazy on pricing -- things are expensive, but the bread isn't $9 a loaf. this combination of grocery strategies has worked well for us over the past 10 years we've been visiting...

Boston...
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for St. Thomas, East End
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7. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

If you can drive in Boston then you can drive anyplace so don't hesitate to rent a car for at least part of the trip. As mentioned there is a car rental by the guard shack at Sapphire so once you have the lay of the land you can rent right there.

We bring food with us and my wife does as much prep work at home as possible to save time and keep it simple. We have brought down most everything including a turkey one time when down over Thanksgiving. We bring frozen meat mostly as it is better quality than whats generally available and it is cheaper. We buy as needed to supplement what we bring, for example, we bring our own meatballs but then buy spegettii and sauce down there and my wife brings small plastic bags with her spices.

Hopefully you will have rented directly from an owner at Sapphire and can check with them to see what utinsels and cookware is available in the condo.

If you rented through a 3rd party then don't bring food as you will have no idea whats there to cook with.

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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8. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

BeautifulBill - I disagree with your statement of not bringing food if renting through a 3rd party and not knowing what is in the kitchen to cook with. We have rented many different properties over the years. Are some better stocked than others? Definitely! Were any of them stocked as well as my home kitchen? Definitely not! BUT, we have always managed. 😊 We go for 2-3 weeks at a time and make breakfast everyday and pack sandwiches for the beach. We cook/grill dinner most nights too when we go with others, but eat out (dinner) when it's just the two of us.

We save a lot of $$ by bringing some food with us and also packing our sunscreen & bug spray in our checked bag. We ran out of bug spray on our last trip and one small can of OFF cost over $11. I spent less than that for two large cans here (which are already packed).

7 more sleeps!! 😎

Boston...
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for St. Thomas, East End
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9. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

bluewater

I have no doubt your advice is fine for St. John villas, and I'm sure for St. Thomas villas as well but Sapphire is somewhat unique in that 3rd parties only have access to a limited number of units. Some of the units are totally renovated and quite nice, but others haven't been touched in 20 years.

If you read the reviews of Sapphire you will see some very negative reviews that mention things like only a single burner working, no AC, no glasses, plates etc. Those are some of the units that 3rd party renters get.

It's possible to get a good unit but why take a chance, use VRBO. Speak directly with the owner and get details on the unit .

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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10. Re: To check a bag w/ food or purchase in STT ?!

Bill - I have no doubt that there are some bad apples out there. The unit (condo) we are staying in for our upcoming trip was built in the mid 80's. It's all original, but everything worked when we stayed there last April/May. My sister & BIL stayed in another unit. Theirs had been completely redone, but for some reason the owners did not think an oven was necessary. It did have a stove top. There was a community gas grill that we used several times.

I'm a realist. We can make things work when necessary, but I'll also write a review of the property if it doesn't meet advertised expectations.

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