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Groceries & Ice chest

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Groceries & Ice chest

I've been lurking on this message board for several weeks in preparation for our first trip (only 28 more days!). Even though I've read and read, I still have a few questions.

We are a group of 7-6 adults and an 11 month old baby. I am worried about the price of groceries since we want to eat at the villa most nights. I am thinking that I will send a box in the next couple of weeks with coffee, foil, spices, etc. I need to allow at least 2 weeks for shipping, right? Can I send it directly to the villa? Management company? Or use a company like Connections?

For those who fly down with an ice chest, can you explain the logistics of this? Do you pull a rolling ice chest onto the plane with you? I keep teasing my mother-in-law by telling her that she'll be the one pulling the thawing steaks through the Atlanta airport. :) Do you use dry ice? Can you check an ice chest? If so, how does this work? Do you duct tape it shut? Do you just use the latches on the ice chest? Apologies if these are silly questions!

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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1. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

No, you can not send a box directly to the villa. Ask your management company. Some allow you to send the box to them, some do not. If they will not allow you to send it to them ask for the mailing info & phone number for Connections or other places. I believe there is someplace in Coral Bay now if you are staying on that side of the island. There might be a place in the Marketplace (where Starfish is located) as well. Use a "If it fits, it ships" box and mail it 2 weeks before your trip. Anything larger than that, you are better off paying the checked bag fee vs mailing it down.

As for packing a cooler; we have a soft-sided cooler on wheels that has a zippered top flap. It is small enough that we can carry it on, but big enough to hold meat for 6 ppl for a week. I vacuum pack & freeze everything at least a week ahead of time and pack the cooler just before we walk out the door. I don't use ice packs or anything else in the cooler. Everything is still forzen solid when we arrive. We haven't checked a cooler in years because the airline lost ours one year. Fortunately it showed up a few hours later and everything was still frozen. You can not use dry ice, period. If you do decide to check your cooler, use luggage straps (2) to secure the lid or duct tape. If you use duct tape, pack a roll in the cooler so security can re-tape it after they open it.

Edited: 1:17 pm, May 15, 2013
Smithfield, Rhode...
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2. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

Pack one suitcase with dry goods, it's almost cheaper than mailing it down.

I have an Igloo cooler that has wheels. Freeze your food and pack it just prior to leaving for the airport, if everything is frozen you do not need additional ice. Duct tape it shut and you will have to check it and be sure it's not over 50 pounds. Yes, security will open it but they will duct tape it back up. We fly JetBlue and first bag flies free, not sure what airline you are using, but last year my cooler and my dry goods flew for free and we took carry-ons for our personal belongings.

Any other questions, feel free to e-mail me personally, been doing this for 9 years and we have it down to a science!

Pennsylvania
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3. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

We have taken perishable foods on several trips.

We always check a cooler. I have used both a cheapy soft-sided one and later, a Polar Bear brand cooler that is my favorite. If you are careful and make sure everything in frozen solid and the cooler is well-packed with no voids, your frozen items should be just fine. We did 36+ hours with ice packs and our stuff was still frozen solid.

We took food for convenience. I meal-planned ahead to time and put the dry ingredients in ziplocs that went into the cooler along with the frozen meats. I bought the balance of the ingredients needed once we were on STJ.

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4. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

Thanks for the advice! My concern with the checked cooler was TSA checking it. I didn't think about supplying more duct tape to them!

Syracuse
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5. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

Rather than sending a package ahead, you can check a cardboard box with groceries). Then you throw out the box and don't need to pay for that piece on the way back.

For the baby, bring your baby monitor. The houses are mostly concrete and there are many noises outside (tree frogs, etc). If you need to rent any baby supplies, Island Baby gets good reviews. http://islandbabyvi.com/

Chapin
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6. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

Hi,

I just read your post. Does the security ever say anything to you when getting to your gate when you carry meat products? I am afraid that they will take my food. I am flying Spirit air to STT. Then ferry to STJ.

Thanks for your help!

Cyndee

Ohio
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7. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

No, Cyndee, they don't say anything. The bag is densely packed with frozen food - sometimes I've notice the person scanning trying to figure things out, and I tell them "it's meat." They nod, and out it comes. Only one time (out of 8 total - maybe?) have they opened the cooler, and they poked for a second and closed it back up.

Ohio
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8. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

Syracuse, I like your idea of checking a cardboard box very much!

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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9. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

If you decide to carry on your cooler, you cannot take soft cheeses or butter. You also can't carry on peanut butter. I wish they would allow those items instead of hockey sticks and the other weird items TSA has recently OK'd. I mean really, can you take down a flight attendant with a stick of butter or a pkg of cream cheese??

Ohio
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10. Re: Groceries & Ice chest

If it wouldn't be too big a loss, you can try to sneak soft cheese and butter through, though. I have, and have never had it confiscated. I always take brie and two sticks of butter. If they caught me, I wouldn't be out much, but they never have....