Shipping Barrels To and From the Caribbean

I never wrote on this blog that we needed to ship back a bunch of stuff once it was time to return to the U.S. from Barbados. I realized that small but significant oversite when I saw this short piece in today's New York Times, "Shipping Christmas to the Caribbean."

Yes, Christmas is pretty huge in Barbados but what is even more huge are the prices of things like laundry detergent, dry cereal, and clothes. Prior to moving to Barbados for the year we were advised to "send a barrel full of stuff because everything is so expensive here." I looked into this but never did happen upon any information about shipping a barrel. All I found was that I could get a portion of a shipping container but that seemed overly large for our needs. I even thought about sending one of our cars over to Barbados, filled with extra "stuff," but worried about getting slammed with a high tariff.

The airlines have made it so that in the year we were away, we could bring home even fewer bags than when we came. We could pay extra for each bag, of course, but it was going to really add up. That is when we got on the stick and found out about shipping a barrel. The only place that does this type of shipping in Barbados is Laparkan whom we bought an empty cardboard drum from (similar to the one in the photo). We took it home and filled it up with 300 pounds of books, long pants, a rip stick and beach towels. Laparkan then came to pick it up and facilitated our shipping the barrel back to New York. We were told it would take about a week. It really took two and a half weeks (not bad) and we had to go down to JFK to pick it up. By the way, our barrel was opened and inspected somewhere along the way, not in Barbados and not in the U.S. but all of our stuff was there, though we had Lego pieces flying everywhere.

If you're moving to the Caribbean, be aware that the prices of all the things you know and love (or at least the things you rely on) are going to be really high. If you're in the New York area, check out this Times article for some advice on who ships barrels to which countries.