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RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Travel discussion for St. John

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RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby RickG » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:39 am

Reposted by popular demand and updated for 2013.

1. Don't invite anyone who is a whiner. Don't invite anyone that you would not spend a week with 1-on-1.

2. I pick the villa and the week and people get to decide if they want to come. It's okay if no one wants to come with me.

3. You get to pick your room in the order that you pay. I've already paid the deposit, so I go first. This deals with the equal rooms problem and #1 deals with whiners.

4. One vehicle per 2 couples with at least one person from each couple on the contract for each car. Expect there to be an early group and a late group each morning. This is not a problem. I get my own vehicle. I'm in the early group and my lover is in the late group.

5. Pick a beach each day that you want to visit; 11AM is a good rendezvous time. The late group can usually make it and the early group will have done a hike and another beach already. It's okay if no one meets me at the beach.

6. Do some happy hours at the villa. It's cheap and 6-8 people is a party. Bring Twister.

7. Dinner out for 6-8 is a pain in the a$$. Do some dinners at the villa and do some date nights. Meet for drinks before and after dinner. There's always room at the Beach Bar, Quiet Mon and Motu Bar for 6-8. 2013: Banana Deck has done some large walkin groups very nicely.

8. Expect to spend a day without leaving the villa. Make sure that there is not a mid-week maid visit scheduled that day. Start the blender at 10AM, but put sunscreen on all exposed skin first.

9. Put $100 per person in a food/drink kitty for villa provisions. If someone is concerned that they won't spend that much and want differential treatment, that breaks rule #1 - they don't get to come. $800 will cover food and booze at the villa for 8 adults for a week. Dinner for 8 at Zozo's is $680 (2005).

Lessons learned:
- If someone whines at home, they will whine more on STJ.
- If someone pitches in at home they will pitch in more on STJ.
- 10 people feels much bigger than 8 people - 60% bigger: c=(n^2-n)/2
- The herd moves at the speed of the slowest beast.
- Don't be afraid to say "I'm heading out. I'll be back for sunset."
- Newbies will assume the villa is on the beach, even if you tell them otherwise and show them pictures. If they can't get over this, they stay at the Westin.
- #1 takes care of almost every possible problem.

Cheers, RickG
Sailing the Virgins July 15-31 2017
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby islandbrenda » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:18 am

Dear RickG,

Your list is perfect!!! I have had lots of trouble with all of the items on your list!
I even OWN the villa and still get whiners! Once everyone knows up front what the rules are then they can decide if they can afford to and want to be a part of the group! Well done!
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby Bumblebee2 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:27 am

Some very smart advice! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby 54b » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:51 am

Solid...and though it might not make much fiscal or ecological sense, I'd even go as far as to encourage renting 1 jeep/couple.

Instead of putting $100 in per person to a food/bev fund, we just say that whenever someone pays for the group, they put their name on the receipt and put that in the jar...then at the end of the week, we add all the receipts up, divide by the number of adults and easily figure out the difference between what each person put in vs their equal share....I found that this helped because there were always additional trips to the grocery store throughout the week for more water, beer, etc and it sure did make group dinners easier when one person could just pick up the check...the paper trail of receipts also helped encourage "responsible" purchases. (Apparently not everyone shares my love for $12 Pop-Tarts.)

Also a big fan of #5 even though most people seem to abhor planning and I'd go as far as to pick an early morning activity in addition to picking a beach...in every group there will invariably be the "Sun-Ups" and the "Sleep-Ins" - and if you can get the early risers organized and out of the villa early, the sleepers are not only happy, but happy for the rest of the day too because they feel like they got all the sleep they wanted and the early crew feels like they didn't miss out on any activities having to wait.

And couldn't agree more on the villa happy hours...when we went out for dinner, we found that many times the cost of drinks was more than the food itself. So we tried to keep it to one drink per person at dinners.

Good stuff and definitely worth it as your purchase power, especially for the type of villa you can afford, is so much greater in a group.
It’s not about yesterday or tomorrow...It’s about today, for come what may – Sun, rain, or hurricane – we've only time for a smile, and none for sorrow
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby Tracy in WI » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:10 pm

Thanks Rick! I have seven, yes SEVEN! newbies traveling with me in late October. To be honest there might be a whiner or two in the group....

I'm doing my best to not end up being Julie McCoy from The Love Boat for a week!

Thanks for the great tips!
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby PA Girl » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:47 pm

RickG's rules always delight me.

RickG wrote: Newbies will assume the villa is on the beach, even if you tell them otherwise and show them pictures. If they can't get over this, they stay at the Westin.

Cheers, RickG


This one will forever make me laugh. So true, so true........

Since our February trip, we are Motu fans. Great location, drink and wine options, comfy furniture and plenty of room to spread out.

We provision the basics and most of the booze and then utilize a modified version of "name on the receipt" method. What usually happens is I pay for the provisioning and our friends do the on-island shopping. Once we get home, we figure out the difference and pay out to the other party.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby kklay » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:56 pm

RickG,

I have a question for you - maybe your answer will be included in your next GROUP TRAVEL RULES. So here goes, what is your rule or process for when or how or who choses airfare? I typically travel with a group for our St. John trips and yes, I'm a planner. . . . don't really like waiting for airfares to go down. The past couple of years we've been able to get some decent rates/flights/times from the Ohio area (March and November trips - usually around the $435 - $550 range). This year the flights started in the $600's (May timeframe) and have continued to climb. Everything I am reading on airfare says not to expect a return to the "cheap" flights. So......I was ready to book in May, we didn't, and now the same decent flights/times are going in the high $700's to $800 range.

Sorry for the long, drawn out question - I'd just like to understand your process!

And yes, we have a "WHINER" in our group, but we all know it and just ignore most of the whinning and/or make fun of him. Of course, he doesn't think he is whinning!

Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom!
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby ChipN » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:27 pm

kklay,
I'm not Rick but I'll say that we leave airfare up to each couple. I'm like you and tend to plan well in advance. We also usually fly on miles and therefore will book as soon as they allow in order to get the flights we want. We tell traveling partners when we book our tickets and leave it to them to book their own. This usually results in us arriving well before them as they wait until only the late arriving flights are available. We have met several at the beach bar as they've taken the 10:00 PM ferry from Red Hook.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby Xislandgirl » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:51 pm

Not Rick but....

When we traveled with Newbies we looked at flights and found decent times with a good price. We booked and immediately told the newbies:
1. We booked these flights
2. They are a very good price
3. They will likely go up but could go down
4. Book now or chance it

They all booked.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby Tracy in WI » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:41 pm

I did the same as Xislandgirl, I found flights, emailed everyone and told them I would be booking and that I would book anyone else at the same time. I had one taker, the rest booked their own.

I have two in our group of 8 that aren't staying the whole week so they did their own thing with my advice on timing. Other than that we had only one person who chose a different airline and time - fortunately it's pretty close to the larger group so no waiting around a long time.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby waterguy » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:15 pm

As far as rule 1 goes I won't go on an away Vacations with anybody till I have at least a weekend with them closer to home to see if they fit into the whinner cat. As I have been fooled in the past by someone hiding it for nights out.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby PA Girl » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:47 pm

The one couple that travels with us all the time isn't crazy price sensitive over airfare so when we have our dates, we gather at one spot and book all the airfare at once. When the grandparents go along, they are more concerned about traveling together than price so they let me do the flights and just write me a check.

For the slow pokes, we just tell them what flights we booked and leave them to figure it out on their own.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby AquaGirl » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:49 pm

This is great info, although we normally only ever travel with one other couple. We've spent weekends in a motor home with them, and had a great time, so a villa in STJ is great.

Since there are only 4 of us, I pay for groceries on island, then I tally up their share at the end. Each couple pays on CC for dinners, so that makes it easy. We get carry out quite often, and I normally pay for that too. They are good friends, and no issues with payment.

My fav quote in this thread:
"the paper trail of receipts also helped encourage "responsible" purchases. (Apparently not everyone shares my love for $12 Pop-Tarts.)"
My husband would definitely say that $12 Pop-Tarts are well worth it - LOL!
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby PA Girl » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:03 pm

B&J in VA wrote:My fav quote in this thread:
"the paper trail of receipts also helped encourage "responsible" purchases. (Apparently not everyone shares my love for $12 Pop-Tarts.)"
My husband would definitely say that $12 Pop-Tarts are well worth it - LOL!


Ha! I hear you. No joke, provisioning saves me money because it eliminates the $12 pop tarts or equivalent purchases. Don't get me started on the night the boys tried to sneak three pints of Ben and Jerry's into the jeep....

Maribeth, where are you? Her husband Charlie and mine suffer from the same price-blindness when on STJ.
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Re: RickG's group travel rules for St. John

Postby mbw1024 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:23 pm

:) currently in Maine where Charlie goes on daily ice run to the general store. Costs a minimum of $30 bucks each day on who knows what!!!!
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