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Advice, for what it's worth #311045
12/31/2023 06:19 PM
12/31/2023 06:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,378
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Tom Offline OP
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We have vacationed in Sint Maarten/Saint Martin every year at least once or twice beginning in the mid 80s when i won a trip with Xerox, where I worked in sales.
We bought timeshares at Belair Hotel on the Dutch side. Beautiful resort on Little Bay next to Divi. We may return there as renters in the future.
This became our annual 2 to 3 week family vacation for more than 30 years. Many promises for significant improvement, too few kept.
Our kids are now grown and we are in our 70s. We were fortunate to sell our timeshares just before Irma and the pandemic.
We tried a villa at Beacon Hill last year but that is a much better option for younger folks that like more activity and excitement.
We all have our subjective views but I will simply list my own summary on the changes I have seen on SXM, "The Friendly Island".
1. Getting there is more difficult and expensive and getting home is even tougher. That is in part due to the airlines involved. If it is more profitable to deliver folks to esewhere in the Caribbean, they will accomodate.
2. The airport is a mess. Carribean corruption has made lots of money for many that results in difficulty to passengers arriving and departing SXM. I am confident this will improve but for now it is crazy.
3. Traffic is out of control. Too many people and cars with too few roads makes for yet another nightmare. This too, will improve when business people lose $. Especially restaurants.
4. The forced tip issue(service charge 15-20%) at so many restaurants is all about greed. Most of us have been appropriately generous in the past but because some few people are cheap, this has become an issue in order for some establishments to boost profits.
5. Most of the long term SXM lovers and many new, will continue to adjust their vacations to accomodate the "new SXM". Some won't. I wish everyone the vacation they hope for wherever that may be.

SXM Sponsors
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311047
12/31/2023 08:12 PM
12/31/2023 08:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
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I don't find the issues you listed true to everyone that are regulars like we are to SXM. Our airline costs haven't changed much these last 5 years as we book very far in advance and traffic isn't bad for us because of the time of year we go. I don't like the 15% added SC but it's not a deal breaker as we would tip that or more anyway.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311049
12/31/2023 08:40 PM
12/31/2023 08:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 168
southeast tennessee
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So are you going to continue to visit SXM or are you done.
Not quite sure with your post.
As Scuba says we all must adjust to changing situations or crawl up in our shell and just exist.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: CLIFFTOPS] #311050
12/31/2023 08:54 PM
12/31/2023 08:54 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,887
Central Florida!
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Clifftops--I agree. I'm not sure what the purpose of the post is.

Many things have changed in the past thirty years. One must adjust to change or stay home.


Carol Hill
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311053
01/01/2024 01:45 AM
01/01/2024 01:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
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25 cent beer is long gone too.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311054
01/01/2024 08:03 AM
01/01/2024 08:03 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,432
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
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While everything you cited may be true, it won't stop us from our annual visits to this beautiful and unique island. We've been going for twenty years now, and are also in our 70s (well, I am; David's almost there). We vacation a little differently now than we have in the past; more main meals midday and fewer evenings out, but we still love everything the island has to offer.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: GaKaye] #311055
01/01/2024 08:24 AM
01/01/2024 08:24 AM
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We’ve made adjustments over the years also mostly because of age and really none because of changes to the island. The airport will eventually be fixed and I just adjust my tip accordingly on both the Dutch and French sides. And we still look for and find new interesting places to go after 30 years of travel to the island. For example, on this last trip we finally decided to try O Plongeoir restaurant in Marigot after years of driving by to and from Orient. What a pleasant surprise. For us the glass is always half full and I always look forward to the next trip. Which if all goes well is in about 10 days. Can’t wait!

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311056
01/01/2024 09:02 AM
01/01/2024 09:02 AM
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Tom I agree with your assessments. We sold our timeshare at the Atrium after last year's trip. Travel is stressful not just because of the SXM airport but going through customs and emigration on this end is a nightmare. We will surely miss all of the friends we have made over the years and all the wonderful meals and music but need to take a break for awhile.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Carol_Hill] #311057
01/01/2024 09:34 AM
01/01/2024 09:34 AM
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Happy New Year Carol and well said .

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311059
01/01/2024 09:41 AM
01/01/2024 09:41 AM
Joined: Nov 2023
Posts: 60
South Carolina
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I completely understand your point Tom while I have not been going to SXM for 20 or 30 yrs every year but I have been to SXM a few times. We did 3 yrs in row back in 2011 and next year will be another 3 in a row over Xmas. After stopping here on cruises for many years we started going to the islands we found interesting for land based vacations.
While I am still a young 60 compared to some of the posters here I am not as arrogant either. Even I have noticed some of your points in my brief time on SXM. The thing is most places are are getting like this in the Caribbean and Mexico. I have mentioned that I am very lucky to be able to take a few vacations every year some I tact on to my business travel which includes Europe and Asia. The thing about Mexico and Caribbean is for us it is easy to travel to because CLT has direct flights but yes cost ARE getting higher on plane fare ( I fly over a 100 flights a year I know) I am lucky to able to use points for around half of my vacation travel unlike most on here and get preferred seats in main cabin for no extra cost so cost are not that bad for me so where I save on flights I spend on accommodations and dinner. We spread are travel around just because of what you mentioned if I go to only the same place every year and do the same thing over and over it does make me look at the things you mention more. XMAS is a time I always know I will not be traveling for work usually there have been exceptions but my wife enjoyed a Xmas in Taiwan once because of it and it only cost me her airfare. We have enjoyed SXM, Cozumel, Nevis, St Kitts and Curacao all over XMAS in the past 15 yrs. I grew up 2 hrs from Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head and went there many times but for the same reasons you mentioned about the growth of SXM so it has be at those places too I have not spent a summer at either in over 20 yrs. Different strokes for different folks right but I do understand your burnout and frustrations. So let me end with this even during China Flu I had to fly for work get special visa for Asia travel do 2 week quarantines but the planes and airports were empty since the restart of Travel it has been a fricking mad house of rude and me too travelers who don't have a clue about the etiquette of travel or being polite. Travel use to be fun now it is a combat zone at least when I travel for work I get combat pay smile

Last edited by Alltech63; 01/01/2024 09:42 AM.
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Alltech63] #311060
01/01/2024 10:39 AM
01/01/2024 10:39 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
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Central Florida!
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mort--I read somewhere that you were no longer going to go to SXM. I am sorry to hear that.

Travel is a PITA, that's for sure. Crowded planes, crowded airports, airlines squeezing out that last dime. Travel to SXM right now is more of a PITA than it SHOULD be, because of the corruption and mismanagement of the airport. It is a disgrace that the airport is STILL not fixed, more than 7 years post Irma. But corruption in the Caribbean--and elsewhere--is a fact of life.

And Alltech, yes, people are RUDE, everywhere. Gentility and civility have gone by the side of the road, especially here in the US. I blame it on Covid, and other factors, which have tipped the scales in travel, and life in general, toward lack of understanding and civility. Local people in SXM are, in the vast majority, the exception to that, as most local people show consideration for you and each other, if you reciprocate.

As for traffic in SXM, some things are much better than they used to be. I remember when Theo first started talking about the causeway, I thought it was a pipedream. Now, travel to Marigot is such a breeze from the airport! I remember years ago when we would travel from the French side to the Dutch side in the evening. There was no causeway, there was no roundabout at the bottom of the hill--but there was the MIDEA$$ shop!! Travelling towards Simpson Bay, we would routinely get stopped toward the P'burg end of the hill, near where Koyman (sp!!!) is. The car would literally CRAWL all the way up and down the hill, getting to the traffic light at theCole Bay end of the hill. Back then, it was part of the "charm" of SXM, somehow, and we didn't mind taking 45 minutes to get up and over the hill.

I never understood the attraction of timeshares and many people are disaffected towards SXM in general because of the policies of their t/s resort. Tom, you are one of them, as I remember you complaining about the management at the resort. SXM needs timeshare regulation, but there is none. I would put that to a lack of will on the part of politicians, who have no interest in standing up to the big money there.

Service charge inflation is rampant EVERYWHERE, including here in the US. Profit margins for businesses are razor sharp and everyone tries to get some for themselves, and push the line a bit. My perception is that the situation in SXM appears worse than here because many of us don't cook on island, thus have no choice but to get fleeced.

In many ways, SXM is much better than when we first starting going to SXM. In many ways it is also worse. I miss many things from old SXM. i think she would not miss me if I didn't come. I know I would miss her.



Carol Hill
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311061
01/01/2024 11:26 AM
01/01/2024 11:26 AM
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I’ve owned timeshares at Pelican then Villas at SBR since 1984 and love owning there. I purchased particular units based upon views so I’m never disappointed upon arrival. We go twice a year December & March and intend to many years to come. Based upon the owners meetings they initially had I believe we were one of the youngest owners there at the time.

With the introduction out of the way I very much agree with the original posters comments. I am always looking to book our next flight there and have seen a material increase in airfares the last 1 1/2 years. I recently booked a Paris trip for a good deal less than sxm who’s flight time is several hours than Paris.
The situation at the airport is improving based upon our return 2 weeks ago but that it is taking this long to rebuild is astounding. Tourism is their lifeline.

Not much can be done about driving and parking which is horrible. Don’t see any solutions to alleviate it. We stopped renting and take taxis as I do not have the patience. Feels like I’m back in NYC rush hour. Added plus with taxis I don’t have to worry about drinking.

Not pleased about the surcharge but as long as the service is at least warranting that amount it’s ok. Rare I’ve had bad service

Counting the days until our March return😎

Last edited by Steve Bond; 01/01/2024 11:37 AM.
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311064
01/01/2024 12:54 PM
01/01/2024 12:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,313
Vancouver, WA
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Aloha Tom,

I agree with you on the Airport and Traffic, both are issues due to poor management and lack of planning and caring. I don't agree on the price to go, we travel all the way from Portland so we spend the extra to fly in the big seats. The range has been as low as $1200 round trip to as high as $2100 per person. I paid close to $2k back with US Air to do these flights 10 years ago, this last trip was $1550 per person so pretty average cost. They go up and down, planning makes a big difference as well as adjusting dates. I fly more than most people and the same applies the non SXM trips, they go up and down to adjust for market demand. Amen for competition. I do suggest TSA Global Entry as well as Clear, I have both and it helps.

Regarding tipping, there are not very many if any restaurant owners that did not start off rich that are getting rich. They are not opening up restaurants and then able to buy houses and live big, it is not greed that drives the added tip in most cases, it is being able to take care of their staff and stay in business. I have zero issue seeing 15% added, 18% is pushing it a bit and above that I do think they are pushing it too far. I have rarely ever tipped less than 15%, and almost always add to an included tip when at that amount. I would also note that whatever they add regardless of how it is presented such as tax or whatever, I consider that part of the tip percentage. Considering how many nationalities that don't tip it seems better to add the 15% than having those that do tip compensating for those that don't.

TB


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311065
01/01/2024 02:20 PM
01/01/2024 02:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,649
Brookfield, CT.
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Tom and all who took the time to read and post on this thread.

Another of my long winded rants so either move on or read - your call.

With the advent of 2024 this year will definitely mark our fiftieth year of at least once yearly (and often years of multiple trips….) making the trek to SXM with no regrets. Along the way we’ve tried many other vacation spots but none has done it for us the way Sint Maarten does but that said, I don’t think it’s just us. There has to be a reason so many West Coasters make the arduous trip to SXM. as opposed to the easier flight to the Hawaiian islands. We’ve gone there twice but never again given the long flights there and what I consider to be the better Caribbean locals.

In 1983 we took our daughters to the island for their first visit and paid $359.00 per person round trip nonstop from JFK at Easter/Spring-break time here in CT, a vary high demand time of year. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen normal prices like that but that’s a sign of the times. Cigarettes are no longer $4.00 a carton either.

I’ve always belly-ached about the traffic and roads on the island. We were there in the early seventies when they were building the road over the hill into town; we were on island to see several ‘new bridges’ - now old - floated into place and we were departing the island the day the causeway span was brought into the lagoon and got to briefly see it happening as we took off for home, so we have seen improvements but very little in the area of mass traffic. Aruba has a great system and I’ve been suggestion since 1995 SXM needs to take note. Nope! Not happening.

The airport is what it is - what more can I say? But we did get to use one of the new jetways on Nov, 15, the first day they were put into service and it is a huge improvement. The arrival situation will get better but just not soon enough to make most of us happy and still we come.

The garbage situation on island just continues to get worse instead of better, IMHO, and seemingly, so does the politics but that’s beyond a visitors sphere of interest

But unlike so many others, I do object to the added service charge on restaurant checks as it leaves too much room for encouraging less than wonderful service. Not always but often enough to be annoying. We will usually tip 18 to 20 percent for typical service and more for exceptional treatment but I strongly object to the restaurant owner dictating to me what the gratuity should be. Personally speaking, I’d far rather see the Dutch side following the lead of their French counterparts and raise their prices accordingly to cover all the costs of dining including gratuities, which also would allow for them to pay their waitstaff a more reasonable wage. At that point, exceptional service could be rewarded. Or not, at the discretion of the diner. This would put an end to a lot of the tipping questions and the ‘stories’ so many are told.

But all of that said, I still love SXM and all it has to offer - the good, the bad and the ugly I lost a four week timeshare that I loved but found an even better place to stay at BSV, and so many restaurants we loved have closed but been replaced by others we also enjoy.

Life goes on and so we will continue to visit the island for as long as we’re able, knowing full well that islanders and those who had already come to know the island in the fifties and sixties probably felt much the same way about those of us who first came in the seventies and eighties. And those now coming will never know what a heaven on earth SXM once was to us old-timers.

Food for thought………..can’t wait for April to come.

And for all who had the patience and perseverance to read this far….Happy New Year, one and all.

Last edited by pat; 01/01/2024 03:09 PM.

Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: mort] #311066
01/01/2024 02:44 PM
01/01/2024 02:44 PM
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lcote Offline
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Quote feature is not working for me.
But Mort, if customs and immigration is an issue, get Global Entry. We went through a few weeks ago. We were through immigration in less than 5 minutes!

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: pat] #311068
01/01/2024 03:54 PM
01/01/2024 03:54 PM
Joined: May 2002
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Well written my Dear Pat and Happy New Year !

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: lcote] #311069
01/01/2024 04:08 PM
01/01/2024 04:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,088
Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by lcote

But Mort, if customs and immigration is an issue, get Global Entry. We went through a few weeks ago. We were through immigration in less than 5 minutes!


I was gonna say the same....way more time waiting for checked bags than going through C & I...and...

Quote
I purchased particular units based upon views so I’m never disappointed upon arrival.


Correct. Our two weeks at our SBR upper B buliding 5th floor unit has sunset views to die for..from Saba to the Causeway ....

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311072
01/01/2024 05:16 PM
01/01/2024 05:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
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Quote
I purchased particular units based upon views so I’m never disappointed upon arrival.


Correct. Our two weeks at our SBR upper B buliding 5th floor unit has sunset views to die for..from Saba to the Causeway ....

Exactly the way we feel. Purchased 2 fixed weeks in a row of a one of a kind 2 bed unit with a great view at Flamingo. Then bought another top floor one of a kind unit to move into after our first two weeks are over. Knowing your dates way in advance gives you the ability to book airfare when they first come out for best rates and itineraries.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311079
01/01/2024 05:54 PM
01/01/2024 05:54 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 185
East Tennessee
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We are more recent "discoverers" of the lovely island of St. Maarten. And while it does have some challenges, we consider it part of the price to pay for the wonderful time we have on this island (on our second trip we waited 3 hours for our luggage.... way before the recent additions - I felt the worst for the poor Airbnb guy who was waiting for us all that time at our unit).

While I'm sure all of Tom's observations are valid, I believe it is more a result of the passage of time than anything else. You really can't expect anywhere to remain the same after 30 years. We love a place in Florida, Anna Maria Island, which we discovered when my 30 year old daughter was 4. It was a wonderful, quiet, undiscovered spot which we dearly loved. On our last trip it took us more than an hour to cross over to the island and waits for our favorite restaurants were more than 2 hours in the middle of the week in May... and the costs for the week have skyrocketed. We have had to decide whether we want to continue going there or choose other options.... just as you have had to chose. But, there are many other people who had recently discovered it who think it is just wonderful.... as do I, just different.

For us, we have found SXM much less expensive and easier to get to, with MUCH better food options than other Caribbean islands we have visited multiple times in the past like St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Lucia. The comments about how great it used to be doesn't change my opinion at all about future trips, as I have researched and experienced it first hand... the good and the not so good - and we don't expect perfection. We frequent the places we enjoy and avoid the others if we wish.... we enjoy the discovery!


Laura
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311098
01/02/2024 09:14 AM
01/02/2024 09:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,378
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Tom Offline OP
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I always find it interesting that when some opinions or observations are posted on TTOL, we see defensive responses as if the postings are attacks on SXM. Comments questioning whether we will return to SXM obviously missed the part of the post where I said we may return to the resort we vacationed for more than 35 years sometime in the future. No, Carol I do not agree that anyone needs to "adjust to change or stay home" with regard to SXM". There are other alternatives available for vacation. I simply think that I am entitled to have a personal point of view and that was the purpose of the post. I've always tried to respect others without offense.
Happy New Year.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: SXMScubaman] #311099
01/02/2024 09:39 AM
01/02/2024 09:39 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,378
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Tom Offline OP
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We live in Pennsylvania and always go to St. Maarten over Christmas/ New years. Air travel has doubled. We always book far in advanced. I don't know when you go but my husband was making comments on when we last went and the changes we observed.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Carol_Hill] #311100
01/02/2024 09:42 AM
01/02/2024 09:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,378
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Tom Offline OP
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The purpose of my husband's post was to share, in a polite manner, what we observed on our last visit. We were there over Thanksgiving.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311103
01/02/2024 10:46 AM
01/02/2024 10:46 AM
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I agree that the airfare has skyrocketed. And if you are traveling when there is a holiday involved, it is even more expensive.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311110
01/02/2024 12:10 PM
01/02/2024 12:10 PM
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Auburn, WA
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"I don't know when you go but my husband was making comments on when we last went and the changes we observed."
Since you asked we always go the same time every year for fixed weeks 19-20-21-22 which is May/June. We book air around 330 days in advance. Our fares haven't increased more than 10% over the last 5 years on the flights we take.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311113
01/02/2024 01:20 PM
01/02/2024 01:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,313
Vancouver, WA
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Originally Posted by Tom
The purpose of my husband's post was to share, in a polite manner, what we observed on our last visit. We were there over Thanksgiving.


I think you did exactly that, and I think most agree with most of the post but it opens up discussion not all directed at the original poster. Consider your post read, and thought about, and views on those subjects put out there. Pretty good stuff!


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: SXMScubaman] #311116
01/02/2024 02:00 PM
01/02/2024 02:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,887
Central Florida!
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Tom--I think part of the confusion with your post is that it was titled as "Advice". I think probably what you intended to say was that these were observations? Everyone is entitled to their observations and their opinions, but when it is titled 'advice', it seems like the purpose of the post is to advise people not to go to SXM. Everyone has to make up their own minds about their travel choices, in a world in which, increasingly, the trip is often extremely unpleasant on both ends.


Carol Hill
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Carol_Hill] #311118
01/02/2024 02:14 PM
01/02/2024 02:14 PM
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Posts: 5,318
Thanks Carol.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311141
01/02/2024 08:18 PM
01/02/2024 08:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 522
SW Florida
Jerry_R Offline
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SW Florida
First of all, let me thank all of you for your input/observations. That is exactly what this forum is about. My wife & I made our first excursion to SXM in 2000. We used RCI and traded into Pelican, now Simpson Bay Resort. Through this site we made the acquaintance of David & Gladys who so kindly volunteered to show us around. They took us to dinner at many places on the French side and escorted us shopping in Phillipsburg. It was a tremendous vacation. We flew in just after Xmas & spent New Year's Eve on the island.

Since that time, we have traveled to SXM nearly every year and sometimes 2 times per year. It has never failed to recharge our batteries. I think our longest absence was the time since Irma until this year. If I add them all up, I think it's 25-30 trips.

In those early years, our flights were around $450 to $700 per person from Chicago. At least one stop along the way. Those days are long passed. Our latest trip, September of 2023, was nearly $1200 per person from Miami. A non-stop no less.

We have traded into nearly every RCI property available. Some no longer exist. All of them have their own special attraction and I would do each one again if I could. We have never entertained the idea of owning in/on St. Maarten due to the minimal financial protections available for owners. Our home resort is in the US and it provides great trading potential as well as some financial protection.

Not everyone is going to like everything about the island, but personally, we'll deal with it to get to the great accommodations, friendly residents, and amazing food. I will continue to vacation there and hope that all of you will. I'm not going to let the problems of the airport ruin my vacation. If you think the SXM airport is bad, you need to travel more.

Someday, we will stop visiting SXM. I hope it is not anytime soon.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Jerry_R] #311143
01/02/2024 08:41 PM
01/02/2024 08:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,887
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Jerry--I have NEVER seen a price from Miami at $1200 a person, except perhaps for a holiday week. Was this last minute?? Especially in September.. Doesn't make sense.


Carol Hill
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Carol_Hill] #311144
01/02/2024 08:44 PM
01/02/2024 08:44 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Auburn, WA
Originally Posted by Carol_Hill
Jerry--I have NEVER seen a price from Miami at $1200 a person, except perhaps for a holiday week. Was this last minute?? Especially in September.. Doesn't make sense.

Unless it was a First Class ticket and is pretty high too for MIA to SXM.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311145
01/02/2024 10:55 PM
01/02/2024 10:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2023
Posts: 11
Saginaw, Michigan
C
Coconut Joe Offline
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Coconut Joe  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2023
Posts: 11
Saginaw, Michigan
I'm not a regular poster on here although I follow this thread regularly. Most of us are asking for help and many of you are kind enough to offer it. And then there are the SXM snobs who denigrate the populace because we are not as sophisticated as you.

Always be kind, gentle and helpful. Your impatience is toxic.

Peace and love.

CCJ

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Carol_Hill] #311165
01/03/2024 10:50 AM
01/03/2024 10:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 522
SW Florida
Jerry_R Offline
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Jerry_R  Offline
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SW Florida
Labor Day. Tickets purchased 30 days prior to departure. Labor Day departure was cheaper than the day before. We travel when a trade is available. Our RCI trade fee is less than $300 for a week. That was the only week we could get into LaPlage thru RCI based on their availability and ours.

AA Main Cabin Extra upgrade. NOT 1st class. Checked bag charges as we bring home alcohol and souvenirs for friends.

Since moving to FL in 2016, prices have always been more than flying from ORD. We've tried both MIA (AA) and FLL (Jet Blue) direct non-stop flights. I don't think the JB from FLL direct flight exists anymore. I will not fly Spirit.

I did not complain about the cost. Willing to pay what I have to so I can go when and where I want. Will continue to go to SXM until I can't travel anymore or can't afford it.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Jerry_R] #311167
01/03/2024 10:58 AM
01/03/2024 10:58 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,887
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Jerry--OK, I guess that explains it, and I guess you took what was available. Fares were cheaper on AA when Jet Blue few nonstop from FLL, but that's been a few years since they stopped that flight. I would fly Spirit over Frontier at this point, but Spirit normally doesn't seem that much cheaper than AA. We live about 2 hours from either Tampa or Orlando, and a connecting flight from there to Miami to SXM is often $150 PP cheaper than just the nonstop from Miami. But we prefer to drive the 3.5 hours to Miami for the nonstop, which is worth more to me. We paid about $600 last year from Miami (cattle car seats) and same time frame right now is about $100 more, although we booked our tickets last year, just about as soon as they became available.


Carol Hill
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311177
01/03/2024 02:07 PM
01/03/2024 02:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,313
Vancouver, WA
Todd Offline
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Todd  Offline
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Vancouver, WA
Supply and demand, and people prefer non stops so they are in higher demand than connecting flights. If you have direct flights where two airlines are competing on the same or similar lane then that will help, like they do often out of the NY/NJ area.

We adjust our flights usually adding nights on island to save money on air fare, we would rather spend that and a bit more on hotels on island. Those extra nights are also some great times allowing us to try different hotels on island, and at this point I think we have stayed in about 40 different buildings on island and a few over on Anguilla.


I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Todd] #311179
01/03/2024 02:22 PM
01/03/2024 02:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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Auburn, WA
We take the red-eye out of SEA which gives us one connection either in MIA or CLT which is less money then morning or afternoon departures with multiple connections which get us to SXM usually on same arrival times next day.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Carol_Hill] #311307
01/05/2024 06:18 PM
01/05/2024 06:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,409
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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Rhode Island
Originally Posted by Carol_Hill
Jerry--I have NEVER seen a price from Miami at $1200 a person, except perhaps for a holiday week. Was this last minute?? Especially in September.. Doesn't make sense.


Carol we haven't found fares that cheap for years. We used to travel from PVD with stops but now from BOS non-stop and always felt the high fare was worth the non-stop but when I booked for March 2024 the fare was 3 times what it was for the same time frame in 2023. So I used points for one fare and still paid more for the other fare. Plus the great earlier arrival time had change to after 3 pm.

The only year we got a great fare was when we drove to NY $450 rt per person. But then we had to add the cost to drive there, stay overnight in a hotel, pay to park the car. I envy those that fly out of NY.

But as long as we can afford it and are healthy we'll go to SXM.

I book the fare and never discuss it with hubby or he'd be lamenting as Tom is. Hubby's biggest complaint is SXM traffic an the bikes riding the center line..

Last edited by RonDon; 01/05/2024 06:21 PM.
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311421
01/08/2024 09:16 AM
01/08/2024 09:16 AM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 215
Michigan
mprevo Offline
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Posts: 215
Michigan
We booked from Detroit to SXM, one layover in Atlanta. Booked in August of 23 for February 24 travel. We paid $1360.77 per person (round trip) with Delta. This is up from previous years. I assumed the increase was due to the inflation/fuel cost. This is just my assumption. Also, it did not even cause a second thought on our travel. I love our time on SXM to much.

BTW: The Atlanta to SXM (non-stop) was $997.97

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311519
01/09/2024 12:17 AM
01/09/2024 12:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 410
the Long Island
the captain Offline
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Posts: 410
the Long Island
Interesting perspective...

We did the t/s thing in 2006. For a 1 BR, the maintenance just hit $1000/wk for Presidents week for the first time. Still a good deal, right outside the airport.

Airfare, we pay for the nonstop premium. We're happy w JetBlue and AA but now that AAs JFK n/s is gone, we are taking Delta there for the first time ever. $749.20 PP O/W in C+ (and have miles to burn on JetBlue MINT return).

Honestly, our family of teens is almost off to college but coming here since they're a few months old, we all look forward to that warm week in February.

We knew in 2006 we'd fly peak times b/c ITS WORTH IT. It's that lil break and vitamin D you want after skiing a few weekends.

I have noticed a TON of people going to Aruba the last few years, and in the summer, too, which makes no damn sense to me since summers on Long Island are same as the Carribean. Sure, the Caribbean is cheap in the summer but to each their own.

Lastly, huge PRO TIP, learn to pack 1 carryon and check NOTHING for arrival into SXM. I can proudly say that even with 2 curly gals traveling with us and their hair dryers & product, they have watched enough tiktoks/YouTube and I'm proud to say, they know how to pack! Over the last 12 months, we've done St Maarten, Israel, France and Canada, all WITHOUT checking luggage. For the return HOME, if we wanted goods, we might pack a bag and check it. Checking luggage is for chumps wink

The last 2 flights into SXM, even during pandemic, we were at Driftwood within 35 minutes of touchdown...


BTW, Tom, what was the advice?

Last edited by the captain; 01/09/2024 12:20 AM. Reason: I didn't see any advice.
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: the captain] #311538
01/09/2024 12:01 PM
01/09/2024 12:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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SXMScubaman  Offline
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Posts: 18,819
Auburn, WA
"Checking luggage is for chumps"
That might work for you but not for everybody so calling them "chumps" is rude.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: SXMScubaman] #311555
01/09/2024 01:47 PM
01/09/2024 01:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,088
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Massachusetts
Yup....Guess I fit into that "chump" ID.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: SXMScubaman] #311597
01/09/2024 10:05 PM
01/09/2024 10:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 410
the Long Island
the captain Offline
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Posts: 410
the Long Island
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
"Checking luggage is for chumps"
That might work for you but not for everybody so calling them "chumps" is rude.



Im just kidding guys. But seriously, even with free luggage, we dont check.Makes life SO much easier

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311601
01/10/2024 07:36 AM
01/10/2024 07:36 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,409
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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RonDon  Offline
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Rhode Island
Bring back Club O then we won't need luggage at all!

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311604
01/10/2024 08:04 AM
01/10/2024 08:04 AM
Joined: Nov 2023
Posts: 60
South Carolina
Alltech63 Offline
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Alltech63  Offline
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Posts: 60
South Carolina
Funny that you would call someone rude Scubaman LOL. Just like the captain I also get free luggage and fly a lot but IMHO he is right if you can get by without checking luggage do it. It was obvious to me he was joking with the chumps comment.

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: RonDon] #311647
01/10/2024 06:21 PM
01/10/2024 06:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,378
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Tom Offline OP
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Tom  Offline OP
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Hershey, Pennsylvania
Could not agree more!

Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311905
01/15/2024 08:05 AM
01/15/2024 08:05 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 155
New Jersey
filet2u Offline
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Posts: 155
New Jersey
we have found last year that charges double charges happened by mistake at three dining establishments... but you just have to be aware... sad they did that we always tip well as well.. but airfare are very very high EWR TO SXM 1200 round trip ouch


People ask me why St Martin I say the best food the best beaches. Two different experiences on the same island
Re: Advice, for what it's worth [Re: Tom] #311906
01/15/2024 08:11 AM
01/15/2024 08:11 AM
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 193
E
erb923 Offline
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erb923  Offline
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Joined: May 2021
Posts: 193
Depends on your exact dates, tons of united flights EWR-SXM are $500-$700 R/T

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