U.S. Virgin Islands

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

U.S. Virgin Islands Money-Saving Tips

Stay off the Resort

Skip the pricey resorts and consider a back-to-basics vacation surrounded by nature at one of several campgrounds. Rates for two people can be had for well under $100/night and generally include must-have amenities like cots, bedding, and cooking supplies.

Pay the bill

Although Mastercard and Visa are commonly accepted, some establishments are cash-only – check before you pull out your wallet. You'll find ATM machines at banks, supermarkets, malls, bars, and sometimes fire stations.

Rent a car on St. John

You might save a few dollars bringing a St. Thomas-based rental car on the barge to St. John, it's not worth the hassle and risk of missing your flight home.

Rent a villa

The price per person is often lower than a hotel room, you'll have room to stretch out and you won't have to eat all your meals out.

Food shopping

On St. Thomas and St. Croix, Plaza Extra stores are the best and have the widest selections. On St. John, Starfish has the best selection and, unfortunately, sky high prices.

Drive on the left

Although this is a U.S. territory with American-style vehicles, drivers kept to the left. Most people get the hang of it fairly quickly.

Slow down

Don’t expect mainland service when you're on island time. The pace is slower, the power goes out occasionally, sometimes the phones don't work, and service can be a tad inefficient.

History

The United States came to own the islands when they bought then-Danish West Indies from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. They wanted the islands as a defense against Germany as World War I wound down.

Language

Most Virgin Islanders speak English (albeit with a charming lilt) as well as their native Creole dialect. Immigration from other Caribbean islands has added spice to the linguistic stew.

Manners

Virgin Islanders place a big emphasis on starting conversations with good morning, good afternoon, or good evening. If you forget, they can get a bit frosty.

Carnival

St. Thomas celebrates Carnival in April, St. Croix makes merry on its holiday Crucian Christmas Festival and St. John puts on an annual July 4th Celebration. Expect parades and activities like food fairs and music shows during these times.

Fast Food

Forget McDonald's, fast food here comes in the form of tasty pates – a fried turnover filled with spicy chicken, conch, or ground beef. Find them at roadside food stands.

Crime

It’s not a huge issue, but you’ll still want to take a taxi at night if you don't have rental car, lock your villa or hotel doors, and avoid the back streets of the island's main towns.

Kmart Cocktail

With a big selection, good prices, and packing boxes, this discount department store is a good bet for duty-free alcohol. There are two locations on St. Thomas and two on St. Croix.

Duty-Free Shopping

Take advantage of duty-free shopping while you're here and splurge on a few items that would cost more because of taxes in the U.S. American citizens can take home $1,600 worth of duty-free purchases every 30 days from the U.S. Virgin Islands – that’s twice the allowance of other Caribbean islands. Just be sure that you'll be able to bring all your purchases back home with you.

Off-Season Savings

Visiting during the off-season will save you money on hotels, so book your vacation from mid-April to mid-December when hotel prices decrease by an amazing 25 to 50 percent. 

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