Shipping Food to St. Thomas/St. John
We have a large group going to St. John in Jan. and I have read that some people ship groceries down. Because of the size of our group and to save money since we are going to be there for almost two weeks, it would help us a great deal to send some food ahead of time. We plan to take most of the meat with us.
First of all, is it really cost effective to ship dry goods?
If so, how to you ship it, USPS, UPS???
Where do you ship it to if you can't ship it to your villa? I would prefer to ship a box to St. John.
If anyone can help me with this, I would really appreciate it.
Contact your property manager and see if they have a shipping addy for you. Or, maybe consider taking the boxes as checked baggage. That's the cheapest route. My husband and I can get all of our stuff into two checked bags and maybe 1-2 carry-ons, so we have room to check 2 bags of food, if necessary. Remember, you barely need any clothes down there. They have washer/dryer on site, so pack as little as possible in that department. The villas also have plenty of towels available, ice chests, beach chairs...pretty much everything you'll need....except snorkel gear, bring that yourself. My point is that if you're not bothered by transporting the food yourself, don't waste your money shipping it. It's probably the same price to just buy groceries down there as it is to buy it stateside and then ship. You really won't save much, if any, money that way.
Just remember that if you ship it will take 7-10 days for it to arrive on STJ if shipped by USPS PRIORITY MAIL even though they will tell you at the post office that it is a 2-3 day guarantee 🙂 If you ship first class mail it will average 5 weeks 🙁
The US Post Office is the cheapest way - UPS, Fed Ex and DHL are 2-3 times more expensive.
Most villa rental agencies will accept packages so contact them (as long as they don't have to hold them more than a few days) if not check into the mail center in The Marketplace or Connections in Cruz Bay - both offer that service for a fee.
Hope this helps
I agree with Crystal, you will not save the money if you ship it more than likely, better off packing a box or 2 on the plane with you!
If you should decide to ship anyway, Pia's info. is correct, ship in plenty of time or you might not see it for your trip!
Thanks for the advice. If we fly Spirit, they restrict you to one bag and charge you for additional bags, so I think it would be easier just to ship it. I get groceries cheap when they're on sale and with double/triple coupons and a couple in our group has a meat locker and is providing all of the meat. We will still need to buy perishables like milk, produce, bread, etc. down there. I just thought it might be worthwhile to ship boxes of dry goods I know we will need or is expensive down there (based on the relocation guide grocery costs) such as boxed cereal, etc. My husband and I will be in St. Thomas for four days and then in St. John for three days before our group arrives. If I send it down to myself there, I can pick it up before the group arrives.
Do you happen to have any contact info. for the place to mail items at the Marketplace or Connections?
The price Spirit charges for an extra bag is cheaper than postage to ship an equivalent box. We sent ourselves a box Priority Mail from FL January 6 and it arrived on STT last week. For us, Priority Mail from the states takes two months far more often than two weeks.
Shipping or packing tips - condense. I take cous cous and rice down with me in summer - need enough for 16 days and 4 -6 adults. I take the interior packages OUT of the boxes. The rice and cous cous comes in boxes, but there are those inside packs. I use a marker to write what the flavor is on the flavor packet. I empty out all of the rice and put it in one big gallon zip lock. Same with cous cous (it is all the same flavor til you add the spices that come in the boxes). This makes everything much more packable.
Same with oatmeal packets.
Same with seasonings. I take my own - but put them into little plastic bags with a label to indicate what they are. No bottles/shakers.
One thing that is too heavy to take - CANS and JARS. I buy them down there - spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatos, olives, pickles, etc....
Other things I take: cookie bake mix (the instant kind that is moist in the pack), granola bars, Boboli pizza dough (HUGE hit after a day at the beach - yummie veggie pizzas made with veggies off of the grill by the pool).
I also take olive oil (EVOO) - I found it in a plastic jar. It's around $10 here, for that size, so I can only imagine what it might be there.
I'd love to try shipping this stuff down.
Has anyone heard of "Tastefully Simple" products?? Well they make some awesome dip mixes. I am taking down the "Key Lime" mix and the "Warm the Oven" cheese dip mix. Will buy the cream cheese (to mix it with) and crackers there. Makes for some great snacks for either afternoon or bedtime coctails!
My mother-in-law buys us their spices all the time...I love them!!! Hubby puts the garlic garlic all over his baked potatoes. Their season salt is fantastic, too....they have really great items!!!
The Garlic Garlic mixed up as dip is great with french fries! All there spices/mixes are great with the Beer Bread. Oh, I'm getting the munchies! and I've got 10 more lbs to lose by april 18!
Although I will strongly advise against shipping food down to yourself due to the fact that you can never guarantee how long it will take to get down here, here are the phone numbers for the Mail Center at The Marketplace and for Connections:
Mail Center - 340-714-7250
Connections - 340-776-6922
As a side note, I shipped two boxes down here from the same place at the same time, and the one we sent priority arrived AFTER the one we sent through the regular mail.
"As a side note, I shipped two boxes down here from the same place at the same time, and the one we sent priority arrived AFTER the one we sent through the regular mail"
See. That's the kind of insanity that makes me leery of shipping. Thanks Andrea.
I too, had guests that shipped stuff way prior to their arrival. Shipped it to McLaughlin Anderson. It arrived the day they departed! Alot of good that was! We held their box for them till the following year, except for the things that we knew wouldn't make it that long. Jeff and I got to enjoy that! 🙂
Thanks, I think I will just pack very light and take as much as I can in my luggage.
By the way, do you know if any of the stores in St. John take grocery coupons? Since we have such a large group, we are going to need a lot of things. Any savings would help.
Thanks again! 🙂
mfinn... I just called the Starfish Market and asked if they took coupons and they told me they do not. I would have tried calling the Dolphin - but their phone number is not listed on the map I have. Their ad on the map does say they give 10% off for just mentioning the ad (which they gladly honored 2 years ago)... but I don't know if they still offer that.
Hi, and thank you so much for calling the Starfish Market for me. I cannot seem to find a number for the Dolphin Market. I have looked everywhere on the Internet. If anyone has the number, could you please share it with me? Thanks! The other market in St. John, Sion, does not accept coupons.
I called the Marina Market at Red Hook in St. Thomas and they do accept manufacturer's coupons and are open 6:30 am to 9:00 pm about 365 days a year, I was told.
I also called the Pueblo Market and K-Mart and they also accept coupons. The K-Mart store is open 8 am to 10 pm and they carry grocery items including milk, so that might be an option as well.
Thanks again to everyone who replied.
Here's the URL for the VI White Pages in case anyone needs it:
One thing that I noticed, when I chose grocers in St. John, it brought back all of them. I found the K-Mart's listed under Department Stores. There are some listed for St. Croix and if you are not familar with the islands, you may get them. For example the Sunshine and Sunny Isles stores are in St. Croix.