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Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

Dallas, Texas
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555 posts
6 reviews
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Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

Finally made our villa choice and put our dates on hold for Rapture. In the meantime, looking at flights and car rental reservations.

This being our first trip, needing advice on:

1) Flight departure time. Looks like we have a choice of flights to depart around 2:00-2:30'ish or 4:00-4:30'ish. With a 10am villa checkout in mind, which time is better to choose? We will need time to return the car rental and lunch (in STJ or STT?).

2) Car rental. We can reserve a car through the villa's management company with Paris Car Rental. Is this a good idea or better to book directly? Any experiences to share regarding Paris? Other suggestions of car rental companies with reliable 4x4/all-wheel drive cars and decent rates?

3) Rent a car for 7 or 8 days? Looks like we won't arrive into STT until late afternoon (3-4pm).....so probably won't get to STJ until early evening. Probably will not do much the first night other than settle in. And thinking about hiring someone to help us with grocery provisions beforehand. If so, it worth renting a car from Day 1 or wait til the following morning (then just take taxi to villa in Virgin Grand)? Do any rental car companies offer free pick up/drop off service?

Thanks again for your help/advice.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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6 reviews
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1. Re: Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

1. Do the 2:00-2:30 departure. You have to be out of your villa at 10am. Take the 11am ferry to Red Hook. That puts you at the airport before noon. If you are checking bags, you definitely need 2+ hours check in time. Have a good breakfast before leaving STJ. Food at the airport is....not very good and not worth what they charge. They don't even have a water fountain in the terminal. They only have warm water in the restrooms to refill your water bottles, so your only choice is to buy their expensive bottled water.

2. Your villa rental company may be able to get you a 10% discount. I don't know if I've ever rented from Paris. You can do a search in the box above for reviews. The rates for all the car rental companies on STJ are pretty much the same. Go to www.stjohnusvi.com to compare rates and LOTS of other info.

3. Get the jeep when you arrive. You can do the shopping yourselves that evening or the next day. Taxis charge per person. And getting one to come get you the next day will be a pain. We always take at least coffee, sugar & powder creamer to get us started the next morning.

*not aware of any jeep rental companies that drop off at your villa.

St John.....is a place of it's own. You either "get it" or you don't. Laid back, explore, pack the cooler to take to the beach (only Trunk & Cinnamon have food/drink shack - NOT to be confused with a beach bar!)

Horsham...
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2. Re: Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

We take the later flight, why rush to leave paradise? Arrange for a private cab to pick you up at Red Hook and have them keep your luggage while you have a nice lunch or shop in town. Or go to Emerald Beach for lunch, they will keep your luggage in the lobby and it is a short cab ride or walk to the airport. Bougainvillia has cars in excellent shape and are a pleasure to deal with. Get your car when you arrive, much easier.

Smithfield, Rhode...
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3. Re: Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

I always leave early, if you have to check out by 10, why wait around, but that's my preference. Most of the car rental places close @ 5, however, if your villa company recommends a certain provider they can sometimes get the car for you and then you have to do the paperwork next day, this has happened to us once before when our flight was delayed. We've rented for 9 years and 8 of those years were with St. John Car Rental. One of us stays with luggage @ ferry dock and usually I just walk over to car rental place, do the paperwork, pick up luggage and friends and we go directly to Starfish Market, then across the way to the liquor store. We bring our meats with us. I freeze everything, (even butter), and pack a large rolling cooler, well worth it. I pack another suitcase with dry goods, coffee, sugar, cereal, spices, etc. We buy break, milk, juice, etc. @ the market when we arrive. We pretty much have it down to a science!

We always try to get on island early #1 to begin our enjoyment, and #2 to get our liquor and food staples. I fly out of Boston and last 2 years have taken midnight flight to Puerto Rico and then 8am flight to STT, we are on island bright and early, and we do have 3 hour layover in PR, but well worth arriving early in my book. I never sleep the night before I travel anyway! We rent the villa an extra day (earlier) so when we get there we can check right in, enjoy the pool, unpack, etc.

Have to agree with blue water, you either get St. John or you don't, we started to bring friends after 5 years of going there and I tell everyone that if you want to relax and just unwind, this is heaven.

Enjoy your trip!

Dallas, Texas
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555 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

Thank you all for this valuable advice. So helpful!

And yes, I do get that not all newbies will 'get' STJ. Hoping we will be some of the lucky ones that will.....very much looking forward to finding out!

Thanks again for indulging all of my questions thus far, too. :-)

5. Re: Booking flights & car rental -- advice needed

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