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Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

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Annapolis, Maryland
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Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

We will be spending Christmas week in St. John. We have rented a large home for 8 people. We had thought about bringing some food items with us to save a little $. We will be traveling with 4 teenagers and they can really eat and they snack constantly. I can imagine that food at the grocery stores can be pretty expensive. Does it make sense to bring a cooler of food or is that just going to be a pain?

New Jersey
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1. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

Murph, there is always alot of discussion on this subject and many swear by shipping a box of dry goods ahead or checking it in with a cooler full of frozen foods. For your size crew it would probably save you big time plus you wont have to fit shopping into your trip. Husband and I went to starfish two sundays ago, first they were low on inventory of fresh produce because they restock mon/teus so if you are coming in on sunday ? the deli had closed early that day so no lunch supply we than pd $55. For 12 pck coke, box of cereal, some cheese bread milk and can tuna small mayo. I am beggining to see why people swear by packing cooler.

Annapolis, Maryland
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2. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

NewJerysey, Thank you for your quick reply. We are arriving on Sunday and given that it is Christmas week I imagine we might run into the same problem. Thank you!

Kansas City...
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3. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

With four teenagers, definitely pack and check at least one cooler loaded with frozen meats on the bottom and cookies, nuts, snacks etc packed on top. The grocery prices are high and the meat quality is low.

St Thomas
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for St. Thomas
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4. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

What many do when in a large group such as yours is rent their vehicle on St Thomas and make a stop at CostULess to stock up, then take the car barge over to St John. It's an alternative discussed top right under the "top Questions" heading. Probably too late now for you to do this. I don't shop on STJ but "the meat quality is low" comment is certainly not true of STT! Enjoy a wonderful vacation!

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5. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

I think it's the kids' snacks that would be most costly. You might be best off bringing snacks down, and if they're dry type like trail mix, chips, crackers, that sort of thing, you wouldn't need a cooler. There are a lot of free bags involved in 8 airline tickets to STT. I'd fill one of those bags with snacks. Crushable items fare better packed within boxes in the suitcase, FWIW.

We are "food bringers." If you have any questions, you can PM me.

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6. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

With 8 people I would definitely pack some food. When we went with 12, we packed hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, etc. we were glad we did because the first nights "cheap" dinner was over 600.00. We also had 8 20 something's and all they wanted to do was eat.

With just the 2 of us, it's no big deal.

Smithfield, Rhode...
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7. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

Hi Murphy,

Yes, pack a cooler with frozen meats, hot dogs, bacon, butter, cheeses, etc. We take a rolling 40 qt. cooler and check it. Just be sure it's not over 50 pounds. This past summer I pre-made meatballs, chicken cutlets, and sauce and also froze that. Makes for an easy dinner. You do not need additional ice, just pack all the frozen stuff together and duct tape the cooler. We have never had anything defrost. Then pack a small suitcase with snacks, peanut butter, nuts, coffee, koolaid packets ( 2 little packets make a gallon), great for the kids drinks.

We buy milk, coffee cream, bread @ Starfish and directly across from there is a liquor store if you want to grab a few items. We have friends that live on island and they are kind enough to grab some produce for us on STT, but we have purchased greens @ Josephine's in Coral Bay.

Bring your clothes in a carry on, you do not need a lot of clothing on St. John, it's very casual and most of the week will be spent in a bathing suit, shorts and flip flops.

Have a great trip.


ct. usa
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411 posts
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8. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

When we used to bring our kids with us I'd pack an entire big suitcase with frozen food. Insulated the bag with foam and made sure the food was frozen solid. It was very nice to have a tray of lasagna, or chicken cutlets etc. all cooked and ready to heat and serve. The food was always still frozen when we arrived. Didnt care if my clothing bag was delayed, but sure was happy to see that food bag come off the plane! We also enjoyed meals at restaurants . This was ten years ago and fresh meats and many foods were not easily available on some islands, but I would certainly do it again if traveling with a crew. Relaxing to stay in the villa some evenings and eat in.

Miami Beach, Florida
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9. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

I would definitely bring at least some food, especially if you are checking a bag. You can stuff your suitcase crevices with snack items like granola bars, nuts, oatmeal packages, microwave popcorn, tuna, crystal light packages, etc. I also like to send a box ahead via flat rate priority USPS shipping.

My opinion is that with a crowd like that you might be better off going to Cost U Less to save money, but you'd have to be renting a vehicle on STT for that to work out.

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10. Re: Should we bring any food with us to St. John?

I read about this idea a few years ago on this forum and it's worked great for our family. Take a very large nylon duffle bag and do all your typical Costco vacation food type shopping and fill the duffle bag. We pack everything from bagels to suntan lotion and not only does it save you a ton of money but you have the things you like which you might not be able to find on the island. Little things like plastic bottles of mayo, mustard, etc. will come in handy for a family.

Just check the bag in as luggage and on the return trip when the bags empty, just fold it up and pack it in your suite case. Sounds like a pain but it's a great idea and you'll be surprised at how much you can pack. Just bringing your sun lotion from home for a group of 6 will save you big bucks.