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Check bag, mail or buy there?

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Ellicott City...
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Check bag, mail or buy there?

I just booked my first ever trip to St. John! My husband and I will be spending 11 nights in a condo at Grande Bay in January--thanks to all the good information here, I have booked the condo from the owner, have reserved a jeep and found some (relatively) reasonably priced flights. Question--I think we can get everything we need into carry on bags, except for sunblock, bug spray, etc.--all those things that are limited to 3 oz of carry on. Would it make more sense to check a bag for that stuff, mail it ahead of time or buy it when we get there?

New Jersey
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1. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

I would mail all that stuff ahead of time (give yourself about 2 and 1/2 weeks to mail). You can send it to Connections. Just let them know its coming ahead of time and it will be there waiting for you to pick up when you arrive. We do this every year - I send a box filled with toiletries, snorkel gear, snacks and coffee for our villa. Highly recommend! I am almost tempted to ship everything ahead of time this year when we return - LOL.


Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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2. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

SInce the cost of checking a bag is now at least $25, we can mail a box down for $15 (or whatever the current priority "if it fits, it ships" box cost now). I can't remember if it's the largest size box or the medium. Anyway, we pack sunscreen, bug spray, after sun lotion, shampoo, etc, as well as a small jar of peanut butter and anything else that will fit that you aren't allowed to have in your carry-on. Mail it 2 weeks ahead of your trip. Anything leftover we just leave behind for the next people. Ask your condo management company if you can send it to them and hold it for you. Otherwise you will have to mail it to Connections in Cruz Bay. They charge for holding the package for you. Sorry, I don't know what they charge, but I'm sure someone here will. Happy travels and enjoy your first trip!!!

St. John
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for St. John
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3. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

If you do mail, remember that you cannot mail aerosol products. And make sure you tape the tops of things and put them in zip lock bags. I would guess that after paying for shipping and the holding fee at Connections (as possibly having to wait to pick the box up since they are only open 1/2 day on Saturday, closed on Sunday) that paying the $25 for a checked bag would be just a little more, but you could bring (and/or take home) more in a checked bag. Or you could just buy it here :) and support our local economy :) Have a great time!

Kansas City...
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4. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

Don't know who your flying but another option might be to sign up for the Delta or American credit cards. Gives everyone in your party one free checked bag + other amenities. I know Delta waives the $100 annual fee for first year and you can drop it after. Signed up online and it took about three minutes to sign up, including approval.

5. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

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Ridgewood, New...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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6. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

Although you can buy some version of anything you need on St John, there is a more limited choice than you will find at home. If you use only certain brands and SPFs, it's best to bring or mail your own. I always forget shampoo and conditioner; and, I've never seen my preferred brand anywhere on St John.

lincoln park, mi
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7. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

I would also check with your owner at Grande Bay whether or not they use a villa company. The owner we rent from uses St John Villa Co, and we were able to ship our liquids to the company and it was waiting at our condo upon arrival. I used a large, flat rate Priority Mail box.

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8. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?


I definitely agree with mailing ahead. Ask your condo/villa/house manager for their address. Our Managers have always had our boxes at the villa when we arrived. I sent 5 boxes prior to our last trip. Please allow three weeks, at least. This last trip in June, the USPS was really slow. I always get insurance too. It helps when they ruin or loose a box, plus it comes with free tracking.

Good Luck and have an Awesome trip! :)

P.S. Even with insurance and tracking, do not believe the date the USPS says they will arrive. Our boxes got there almost 2 weeks after the promise date! It is about the same to pay for a bag on the airline as it is to ship a med to lg box.

Edited: 23 June 2013, 23:34
Destination Expert
for St. John
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9. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

If you do mail, here are some tips.

Use a flat rate PRIORITY mail box.

Tape the top of all toiletries and place them in individual zip lock bags( I re-use then on island to keep sand out of sunscreen)

Pack the box as tightly as possible so there is no movement

Pay for delivery confirmation

Send 3 weeks in advance.

We ship a priority mail box each trip. I have had the box arrive in 4 days and I have had it take 16 days and anywhere in between.

Cedar Point, North...
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10. Re: Check bag, mail or buy there?

We have done it all three ways. We now just take the 3 oz size of our liquids and buy more on Island when we need it.