The three islands comprising the U.S. Virgin Islands—St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix—are celebrating an important event in 2017, and it's travelers who are going to benefit. March 31 is the 100th anniversary celebration of "Transfer Day," when Denmark sold the islands to the United States for $25 million, and the three islands normally mark the holiday with parades.
But since 2017 is the centennial year, the USVI have decided to do something more special: Give $300 to anyone who spends more than three consecutive nights visiting at least one of the islands during the calendar year. Considering that you can sometimes find flight deals from the east coast down to the USVI for as low as $300, you could essentially find yourself getting reimbursed for your transit.
However, the government isn't just handing you cash when you arrive at the airport—instead, you'll get a voucher of $300 toward your "Historical/Cultural Tours and Activities" that can be redeemed at your hotel. To take advantage of the rebate, check out the USVI's tourism website, then book your trip through the page.
There are a few restrictions. For one, you need to book your trip before October 1, 2017, and must travel sometime during the 2017 calendar year. Additionally, you'll need to stay for a minimum of three nights. The latter shouldn't be hard, especially if you plan to bounce between the islands, which is relatively easy: St. Thomas and St. Croix both have airports, and you can get to St. John via ferry. (And it won't take long to get through airport security upon your arrival, since you don't need a passport to visit.)
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You'll also have to book a room at one of the hotels participating in the program, which include some longtime Condé Nast Traveler favorites like The Buccaneer in St. Croix and Caneel Bay in St. John.
Besides lazing on sunny beaches and swimming in the ocean, what should you do while in the Virgin Islands?
If you want to hang out in town and check out cultural sites like museums, head to Charlotte Amalie, capital of the USVI territory, which is on St. Thomas. Nature lovers should make a point to visit the stunning bioluminescent bays on St. Croix at the Salt River Bay National Historical Park. Just be sure to wear bug spray: The islands have mosquitos infected with the Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.