Vacationing in St. Thomas

No passport needed for an island getaway with your beloved. St. Thomas is the easiest tropical destination to get to!
USVI, Caribbean
Airport: STT
Budget: to
Duration: 1 Week
Type A or Type B

Photography by
Chelsea LaVere


o passport needed. That's certainly the biggest draw for Virginians to the U.S. Virgin Islands! As a United States territory, St. Thomas is a particularly popular tropical destination for its easy travel, lack of currency exchange (three cheers for not needing to find an airport kiosk to get cash!), and no sales tax for shopping lovers everywhere.

In February, the temperatures were in the 70s with mild humidity. It felt like an early Virginian summer! Shorts, breezy dresses, floppy hat, light fabrics, sandals, and typical island wear are definites in your suitcase.

Quick Tip: Bring the bug spray and sunscreen. Island bugs and sun will get to you!
Once off the airplane, you find communal shared taxis right outside that will take you and several other visitors to your respective resorts; these can range from $4-$20 one way. The roads can be windy so if you get motion sickness, be sure to ask the driver for the front seat!

While you can rent a car, taxi transportation tends to be the most stress-free way to get around particularly since St. Thomas roads operate on the left side system and are very hilly throughout the island.

Gorgeous resorts, like Sugar Bay Resort and Spa where I stayed, line the coast of this little island for the most optimal ocean views. Just across the way, you can see neighboring islands such as St. John (if you're on the east side of the island).

Worried about staying in touch with loved ones back home or Instagramming your island adventures? No worries there either! St. Thomas is considered domestic, so no roaming fees! Always check your rate plans, but I personally have AT&T and never once was without signal or was charged for miscellaneous fees. If you have a limited data plan, most places also have Wi-Fi, especially at the resorts.

Quick Tip: If you're using your phone a lot for photo memories, carry your portable charger as there aren't many public power outlets available!

Even though I stayed mostly resort-bound at Sugar Bay because of its all-inclusive perk, I did research island restaurants and chat with a few locals on their personal favorites. Gotta live vicariously! My food allergies and dietary restrictions prevented me from eating some of the local favorites such as roti, conch meat dishes, and Caribbean lobster. For gluten-free friendly places, I was very impressed by the knowledgeable staff and dedicated menu at XO Bistro in Red Hook, but comparing my past experience to other very accommodating non-U.S. Caribbean islands, I did wish there were more gluten-free friendly options in St. Thomas.

Whether you hop on a ferry out of the Red Hook Ferry Dock bound for St. John's Cruz Bay, stay local for resort-provided water sports, or go in pure vacay mode on one of the many beaches, there is quite a bit to do. If you stay more than 4 days, it's absolutely worth going over to the British Virgin Islands -- be proactive and be sure to bring your passport with you before you leave Virginia; you will need it for BVI!

Through kayaking, snorkeling, or hiking, there are ecotours available to showcase some of the island's most beautiful ecosystems, including coral nurseries that help the local underwater communities thrive for future generations.

While the island is pretty family-centric in its offerings, there are also plenty of romantic options for couples such as private boat charters for the day (or even sunset and moonlight sails!), high-end shopping adventures, strolls through historic Charlotte Amalie, and rum tasting tours.

St. Thomas is a beautiful island and a great getaway for couples looking for a tropical destination without a long flight from Virginia or the complications of international travel.

- Chelsea LaVere

Disclaimer: Airfare, accommodations, meals, transportation, and activities were provided to Chelsea for an on-site photography assignment. All opinions are our own. All photos in this post were taken by Chelsea LaVere.

In the Footsteps of a Sun Goddess: Danny Darling's Journey to St. Thomas via Travel Pulse
Relaxing in Saint Thomas via Entouriste

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