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Thinking about moving to US Virgin Islands

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My husband and I are thinking about moving to Virgin Islands in few years once all the kids are grown and on their own, whats the best jobs? My husband is a landscaper here in RI where are the best places for grocery shopping? And can you purchase meats like steak,chicken, pork chops, and how are the prices? What's the best areas to live? What's cheaper renting or buying a home? Like I said we're thinking about it and trying to figure some options out now

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    There's a website (www.vimovingcenter.com) dedicated to living and working in the USVI's. There's so much information there it will take you weeks to read it all. You'll find answers to all your questions and hundreds more you haven't even thought of yet. Start at the top of the Home Page and click on all the dropdown menus to find all the different topics. There's also a link to a very active "relocation" form with 10,000's threads covering every topic imaginable. The questions you've asked have been addressed 100's of times on the forum so use the forum's search feature to enhance your research.

    The best advice anyone can give you is that you do as much "first hand" research as you can, including doing a pre-move visit (known as a "PMV") for at least several weeks - the longer the better. Do not go as a tourist or stay in a resort but instead stay in an efficiency apartment and do everyday chores so you get an idea of what daily life is like. It is far different than visiting there on vacation. Now this may sound hash - if you can't afford to make a PMV, you'll have great difficulty (economically) living in the Caribbean since living expenses are going to be higher than they are where you now live and wages for comparable jobs are lower - that's the Catch-22 of living in the Caribbean. Make sure you have saved up a nest egg of at least 6 to 9 months living expenses BEFORE you make the move. You'll need at least 3 months rent (first, last and 1 month security deposit) just to walk in the door of a rental unit. Add to that money you'll need for everyday expenses (food, utilities, transportation, insurance, etc.) to tide you over while you find suitable employment. Money "goes fast" in the Caribbean.

    Most "relocation experts" will advise you not to purchase a home for at least a year but rather you should rent. That will give you time to "get the lay of the land", find employment and evaluate if you want to make the move permanent (a very high percentage of transplants stay less than a year).

    You'll have to decide which island you want to relocate to - St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John or Water Island - each is very different.

    To answer your other questions:
    1) What's the best jobs? - That depends on YOUR qualifications. It's very difficult to find employment without actually being "on island". Employers rarely hire anyone who is not already living on the island. it is not unusual for people have 2 or even 3 jobs in order to "make ends meet". Is your husband familiar with "dry climate" landscaping - it's different from what you have back in RI but some of his skills will probably be useful in the Caribbean.

    2) Where's the best places to grocery shop? and Can you purchase meats, etc.? - It depends on the island where you live but there are supermarkets similar (but smaller) to the ones you have in RI. Yes, you can find steak, chicken & pork chops - all the same things you get back home. On average, expect grocery prices to be 30% to 35% higher than they are in RI.

    3) What's the best area to live? - Again, it depends on what island. FYI - it's impractical to live on one island and work on a different island (with the exception of living on Water Island and working on St. Thomas.

    Good luck following your dream.

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