If you are buying lottery tickets in hopes of financing a move to a Caribbean island, stop scratching and start planning. As an American citizen, you can move to St.Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, without winning the jackpot. It's really no different than moving to another state, since you don't need a visa and can simply arrive and establish residency. However, the cost of living is high, and hurricanes happen all too frequently.

St. Thomas Attractions

If you are heading to the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is likely where you'll arrive, and it's far and away the most commercialized of the islands. Its bustling capital, Charlotte Amalie, is both the shopping center of the Caribbean as well as the busiest cruise-ship harbor in the West Indies. Only 32 square miles large, St. Thomas has a lot going on.

Tourists come for the beaches,including the beach at Magens Bay, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The blue Caribbean Sea calls to sailors and folks who love to fish, as well. People also come to snorkel, dive or make use of the island’s world-renowned golf course. St. Thomas is also packed with things to do of an evening, sizzling with the most extensive nightlife scene in the Virgin Islands. You can drink at the pubs and bars in the capital Charlotte Amalie, or frequent the bars and eateries of Frenchtown.

Getting There

Flying to St. Thomas can be a relatively quick affair depending on where you are coming from. It's under two hours to fly from Miami into the Cyril E. King Airport, just west of the central business district in Charlotte Amalie. If you are coming from elsewhere, you are likely to connect through Miami or San Juan Puerto Rico, less than an hour flight away.

Those seeking direct passage from other U.S. cities may be able to find a flight. Try American from the East Coast. It's about four hours to get to St. Thomas from New York City. Continental flies direct from Newark, Delta from Atlanta and U.S. Airways from Philadelphia. JetBlue flies from Boston, while United is a good bet from Chicago and Washington D.C.

Getting Settled

Of course, you'll need to find a place to live on St. Thomas. You can ask a realtor for help renting an apartment or simply respond to "for rent" advertisements in the local newspaper in whatever town you intend to live in. You aren't likely to find beachfront homes, as most of the shore is occupied by commercial real estate. Many people live in traditional West Indies-style houses made of concrete, although you can also find condominiums for rent in St. Thomas. However, it may be harder than you think, since much of the housing market is reserved for weekly tourist rentals.

If you need to find a job, your best bet is in the tourism sector. Another large sector of the economy is manufacturing. You may also try looking for work in the agricultural and financial sectors.

Keep in mind that there are several drawbacks to moving to this beautiful area. You will find the island isolated and the cost of living high. The frequency of hurricanes can also be a problem. Hurricane season runs June through November.