Packing Frozen Meat for an Island Villa


Feb 4th, 2010, 04:48 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Packing Frozen Meat for an Island Villa

Hello all:

Just a quick shout out to everyone here at the forum to see if there has been any additional difficulty to pack and check in frozen meat (steaks, chicken, ribs etc) on a plane for a week in a villa on the islands.

Specifically we are going to Curacao, but thought that I would extend this discussion to travelers to other islands as well so that they could share with us what experiences they have had with bringing meat to their island villas. We just want to ascertain if bringing meat still makes sense given the added airport or security measures.

Ed and Peg
foodiechan is offline  
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Feb 4th, 2010, 09:19 PM
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I never do this b/c if you have extensive flight delays, everything will thaw. I definitely would not do it for Curacao b/c you have to do a connector flight.(At least here you do).
It's not worth the hassle for me. I just go out & buy food @ the nearest grocery store when I get to the villa.

I can't speak about any security related problems except to say that I find that the lighter we travel, the better today. We always do carry-on only.
OceanBreeze1 is online now  
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Feb 5th, 2010, 05:06 AM
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I agree with OceanBreeze . . . buying at the local stores not only supports their local economy but is also a great way to get into the island mood. We have discovered that you need to go WITHOUT a specific meal plan, see what's fresh/looks good and make your menu as you go!

I've also heard that Curacao has great restaurants . . . always listed as a "foodie destination" so enjoy!
Tamsentm is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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We've taken coolers of frozen meats checked as baggage on two trips--to St John and to Turks and Caicos. Both times worked out great for us. (We didn't take one when we went to Curacao as we were staying at the Marriott and Kura Hulanda.)

When we went to STJ everything was still frozen rock solid after 12 hours.

We've packed steaks, hotdogs, spaghetti sauce, bacon. (One lady on another forum takes frozen cookie dough!) We do it to save time and hassle at the grocery store (more beach time!).

Our personal style is to be out exploring with the family during the day, have a nice lunch out somewhere and come back to our villa. By the time we come back, no one really feels like showering and going out again most nights. So it's nice to have something easy like steaks or a premade dinner of sorts to enjoy by the pool while we're relaxing.

We've never had to pay for the cooler (fit within our free luggage allowance) and never had any security issues whatsoever.

Happy travels!
where_to_next is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2010, 06:20 AM
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People take coolers of frozen meats to the islands all the time. Make sure all your meats are well frozen and the cooler is well insulated and has a good seal. Using a good quality cooler is the key to success. Your foods should arrive still frozen even if you end up overnighting somewhere enroute.

Check the import rules on the island you are visiting. Some islands require that you obtain an inport permit, others do not allow meats with bones. Also, if you are planning to "carry-on" your cooler make sure it meets the dimention restrictions imposed by your airline and remember that the TSA WILL NOT allow anything that is a liquid or gel when it is in it's "unfrozen" state.

Lastly, if you plan on using dry ice as a coolant check with your airlines as some have restrictions on how much dry ice you can put in a checked cooler and most, if nit all, do not allow dry ice in carry-ons.
RoamsAround is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2010, 09:00 AM
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no dry ice is allowed by the airlines. you will not need it. we've never even used used cooler packs.
we take a cooler everywhere and things always arrive completely frozen, including one trip to t&c - i left home in maine at 4am. arrived on island around 3pm. no cooler. it did not arrive until the following day around 3pm. all contents still frozen solid.
be sure all contents frozen solid before you pack them. we take meats, shrimp for scampi, chicken strips already marinated in kens ceasar salad dressing, butter, frozen juices, aforementioned frozen homemade choc chip cookie dough, lobster meat and the special buns for lobster salad sandwich. also asst. homemade or ordered apps. cooler should be tightly packed for best result. we put almost everything in seal-a-meal bags to prevent leaks - however all meats must travel with USDA label in pkg. so either cut it off and display in your own packaging or leave meats in original pkg.
prepare a list of contents to give to customs - not always required but they like it. if you purchase meat from a private butcher take the printed receipt they give you in lieu of USDA label if it's not on the pack.
and yes some of this takes time before trip but saves tons of time/effort once on island. meaning more beach time!!!!!!!!
in luggage we have taken cereal, coffee/tea, pb&j, tuna packs.
we sometimes pick up as much booze as is allowed to go to particular destination by customs in duty free at the airport.
this by no means means that we do not spend $100's at the grocery store or need to purchase add'l booze.
take a roll of duct tape to the airport. tsa may want to hand check the cooler. then THEY will tape it shut for you. at other airports luggage goes into giant screener machine so you tape it before you hand it over.
i would love to know if you liked your curacao villa and how the snorkeling is when you get home.
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