As a destination wedding planner in the Caribbean, one tip, which I have touched on in previous posts is the need to hire a local planner in the destination of your wedding who has relationships with vendors such as caterers, hotels, restaurants, local vacation rentals, etc. I will not include that in my top 5, instead, this post is geared towards those of you who have opted to plan your own destination wedding! Planning a destination wedding from afar can be difficult but can also be a lot of fun if done correctly.
Why a Destination Wedding?
Destination weddings can be amazing but there are lots of moving pieces that you must stay on top of to make it a success, not only for you but for your guests. For example, nothing can ruin the experience of a destination wedding like your mother in law to be staying 30 minutes from the rest of the group or someone not reserving a rental car when it is the only way to get around the island, etc. There are some possible problems with destination weddings that could happen but by being prepared to plan your destination wedding you are one step ahead.
This is a small sampling of many pointers that I could give but these 5 tips for the perfect destination wedding could be enough to make a destination wedding everything you have dreamed of and to make your destination wedding fun for your guests. Looking for more pointers and advice? We offer hourly consulting options that can help to set you up for success on your special day. Email us with your questions for more information!
As a top Caribbean destination wedding planner and a Virgin Islands wedding officiant, these are just a few of the tips and pointers I could give. These 5 tips for a perfect destination wedding in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Fiji or wherever you decide, could be enough to make your destination wedding everything you have dreamed and at the same time, they will help make your destination wedding a memorable vacation for your guests.
You have taken the first step, you have decided to visit the island of St Croix! Now, it's time to book your flights. With the current COVID pandemic, travel is at an all time low which also means some fares are also at an all time low in 2020. With virus surges happening in the United States, your best bet is to find fares at least a few months out. Many airlines are offering flexible fares for those who are traveling post-COVID, be sure to check with the airlines for the most up to date travel information and restrictions for the US Virgin Islands and be sure to take proper safety precautions such as wearing masks and sanitizing often.
St. Croix is an amazing place to visit, the art, food and adventure activities have put St. Croix on the map as one of the best islands to visit in the Caribbean but depending on where you are located and when you want to visit it can be difficult and sometimes downright expensive to get there.
No problem, check out these tips on the most affordable ways to get to St. Croix!
Travel to St. Croix, USVI from the United States
US cities that offer direct flights to/from St. Croix include: Miami, Atlanta, San Juan, St. Thomas, Fort Lauderdale and sometimes NYC, Charlotte and Chicago with some of these being seasonal only. Delta, American, Jetblue, Spirit and United are the big name airlines that serve the island in addition to a few little guys.
Delta offers flights on Monday and Saturday from Atlanta during peak season and one flight one day a week typically during the off season. While the flights are harder to come by than American or Spirit Airlines, it is my personal preference. As a Delta Medallion Member, I tend to fly Delta, I have experienced the fewest delays or cancellations on Delta vs their competition, and am treated with respect, regardless of my seat class. I will often go out of my way to fly out of San Juan or St. Thomas in order to get a flight on Delta if I can't afford the STX option. Because there are so few direct flights to St. Croix on Delta Airlines, they tend to be the most expensive but sometimes they will surprise you and offer a great deal. . Another thing to note is that Delta provides seat back video screens as well as Wi-Fi on board on all STX, STT and SJU flights (Wi-Fi is for purchase), this is not the case with most other airlines. Delta Wi-Fi is now available the entire flight,although typically it will still tell you that it is not available when flying over the Caribbean.
United Airlines doesn't offer a direct flight to STX BUT they do offer connections through San Juan (SJU) airport in Puerto Rico on Seaborne/Silver Airways. Typically not the cheapest option but sometimes 2nd to Spirit. United Airlines has received a lot of bad press in the past but as one of a handful of limited flight options from the US to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it is worth checking out.
JetBlue used to be a good less expensive option for direct flights to STX but after Hurricane Maria and the launch of Spirit Airline flights JetBlue stopped offering direct flights into the Henry Rohlsen Airport on STX. You can still book through JetBlue but you will likely have a layover in San Juan and then fly inter island via Cape Air.
American Airlines is typically the 2nd runner up when it comes to choosing flights to St. Croix in both the price and quality categories. While their fares tend to be more than Spirit, they do tend to be cheaper than Delta for most flights into STX. For Delta flyers, expect more services , lower baggage costs and more legroom than Spirit Airlines but not the level of service you are used to with Delta. I have personally experienced several delays (including overnight) on American as have MANY of my friends so this is a valid concern however, sometimes worth the risk vs.other options. American Airlines has 2 daily flights to/from MIA, Miami International Airport.
Spirit Airlines is by far the least expensive flight option to St. Croix (STX) from the continental US that you will find. All flights connect through FLL (Fort Lauderdale), there are 4 flights each week including one on Sunday,Monday, Thursday and Friday. I have seen flights from top destinations such as Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Detroit (DTW) and even Chicago O'Hare (ORD) for less than $100 each way which is CRAZY CHEAP. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Spirit has offered round trip flights to St. Croix as low as $60 round trip from cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You have to watch for these flights but it isn't uncommon to find flights for under $400 round trip from many destinations so by far, Spirit is the winner for the cheap flight from the Continental United States to St. Croix US Virgin Islands Henry E Rohlsen Airport (STX).
Travel to St. Croix from Europe, Asia or Africa
Are you traveling from Europe, Asia or Africa to the United States Virgin Islands? Flights from destinations such as Doha or London to St. Croix (STX), St. Thomas or even to Puerto Rico (SJU) are affordable and readily available, especially during the peak travel season in the Caribbean destinations. Flying to St. Croix via Qatar Airways offers luxury travel to the Caribbean at affordable prices. Qatar Airways has available fares under $1000 round trip from various destinations in Europe to St. Croix.
While some people prefer to pay a premium for direct flights to the Virgin Islands, or flights with the fewest stops and layovers to the Caribbean vacation destination, direct flights to St. Croix can be expensive. For those more adventurous travelers that enjoy airports and extended layovers, first check availablity of cheap flights to SJU (San Juan) or STT (St. Thomas) and connecting flights on Silver Airways (formerly Seaborne Airline) or Cape Air. For a unique and fun travel option from St. Thomas to St. Croix, take the 3 hour ferry boat from St. Thomas to St. Croix, or better yet, take the seaplane in St. Thomas to the seaplane port on the boardwalk in St. Croix.
Inter-island Flights from St. Thomas and San Juan to St. Croix
Cape Air: Cape Air is an inter island option with small (sometimes VERY SMALL) planes, they work with several of the major airlines to offer connecting flights from San Juan and St. Thomas on one continuous itinerary. Inter island flights can range from $50 to $200+ each way depending on the island, the day and time of day.
Seaborne/Silver Airways: Very similar to Cape Air, Silver Airways offers smaller planes and cheap connections from nearby Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Flight prices vary greatly depending on several factors. Seaborne is the exclusive option for seaplane trips between St. Thomas and St. Croix. If you have never taken a seaplane it is almost worth it just for the experience and to say you took off and landed on the water. When looking for flights on the seaplane, use airport codes SSB for St. Croix and SPB for St. Thomas.
Please note that you will need to take a taxi if you are connecting to a regular flight at either STX or STT airports.
Lastly, if you like to live on the edge, consider one way tickets as well, for example, you may want to fly into St. Thomas on one airline, take the ferry or seaplane to St. Croix and then take a flight from St. Croix back to the states. Opting to go this route to the US Virgin Islands sometimes proves to be the most affordable option for flights to St. Croix and also gives you an opportunity to island hop from one Caribbean island to another and visit more than one island and on a Caribbean vacation .
The Top 15 Items to Pack for Your Trip to the US Virgin Islands and the Top 5 Items NOT to Pack
So you are getting ready for your trip and you just aren't sure what to pack! First and foremost, don't pack too much. It is warm, you will wear as little as possible during most of your trip and you won't want to be lugging things with you around airports, etc. Also - if you rented a Jeep, there is VERY little room in the back for luggage!
To make your life easy, use this list as your guide for the top 15 things to pack and the top 5 things NOT to pack for your vacation! Of course, if you are getting married, make this the top 16 things to pack as you will probably also want to pack your wedding attire!
And there you have it folks, the top 15 things to bring and top 5 things NOT to bring on your St. Croix Virgin Islands vacation!
Tips, Tricks and Hacks for your Visit To St. Croix
It shouldn't need to be said but when traveling to new destinations, making an effort to observe local culture and traditions is always appreciated and will generally make for a better experience. Remember, you are in their home, if you want people to welcome you, then respect them.
St. Croix and the rest of the US Virgin Islands are part of the United States and its residents are US Citizens but you will find that many more of the customs and traditions stem more from the European and African roots than from the US. St. Croix does have many stateside conveniences but there are many things that you may not be used to such as the rough roads and the tropical flora. No need to worry though, we have you covered - below you will find the best tips, tricks and hacks for an enjoyable and easy trip, vacation or even wedding in St. Croix!
Culture and Customs
Driving and Getting Around
Other Useful Tips and Information:
1. Rent a Jeep and drive through the rain forest to Scenic Drive - you will get the most amazing views of the island! This particular shot is at the far west end above the Renaissance Carambola Resort!
Lori Konkler knew how much she loved helping people to realize their dreams and for many years in the hotel industry had the opportunity to do just that! In 2016 Lori relocated to the island of St. Croix to realize her own dream of becoming an independent event planner and helping people achieve their own Memorable Dreams through their weddings and events.