You can find cheap tickets to go off-season to the Virgin Islands, but they are not really known for being a cheap place to visit once you’re there. So how can you spend a week in the US Virgin Islands without breaking the bank?
Earlier this year (in 2021), I was feeling very stuck in NYC after almost two years enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, which had honestly been terrible for my productivity as a scientist. I was looking into escaping to somewhere that would be very different from where I live and give me a change of scenery. I was fully vaccinated, ran into super cheap tickets to the US Virgin Islands and decided that that was it: I was going to go to the USVI. A friend of mine from grad school has family there and had shown me pictures from the place, so I thought it would be great! Besides, the USVI require everyone to get tested for COVID-19 before hopping on a plane to go there, and most of our activities in the islands would be outdoors, so that gave me an extra peace of mind.
Ivan (whose name you’ll be reading below) went with me and, despite SEVERAL hiccups, we had a blast! Plus, I got to reset my erratic pandemic sleep schedule, so what else could I ask for?
Main things I would change in my itinerary: I highly recommend that you go to the islands in a sequence (we had some planning issues because of personal reasons, so we had to hop around) to save yourself some headache and money. Start either in St. Croix and fly out of St. Thomas or vice-versa. If you really enjoy being in nature like myself, schedule more time to spend in St. John. If you can, avoid the car barge from St. Thomas to St. John because it’s stressful; take the ferry and rent a 4×4 vehicle in St. John itself.
Ready to spend a week in the US Virgin Islands? Check out the tips below!
If you’re traveling during COVID-19, remember to make sure you’re vaccinated and tested, wear a mask, sanitize and wash your hands often, keep a distance from other people, avoid crowds, and respect/follow CDC and local guidelines. Check beforehand if the place you’re going to is safe and taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Overall, make sure you’re keeping yourself and other people around you safe.
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Week in the US Virgin Islands
“[…] just assume you might run into something unexpected and will take the first day to get settled.”
Day 1: get settled in St. Thomas
We got a flight that landed around lunchtime in St. Thomas and thought we would have the entire day to explore. Silly me, we ran into multiple problems with our rental car, had difficulty finding our AirBnb, took a while to get used to the roads there and had to go grocery shopping to get water, food, snacks, supplies, etc in the evening. So just assume you might run into something unexpected and will take the first day to get settled. If you have extra time to explore, take it as a bonus.