Written by PresidentELLA
Need a quick getway? That's what Florida is for. Miami is a great, quick get-away for couples, too. I've been to South Beach before but I was trying to do it "grown" this time. Trav and I weren't even officially dating when we decided to get on a plane, but I think we were both overdue for a vacation & treat each other to a very Happy Valentine's Day. Needless to say, we had an amazing time. This relaxing, low-key vacation was perfectly lit. If you're looking to plan a getaway, but want to be realistic about the details, I've broken them down here for you as best as I can! Travel is not impossible, you've just got to do it smart! I prefer my vacations to run smooth. You know proper preparation prevents poor performance ;)
We flew JetBlue into Ft. Lauderdale from NYC. The flight is about 3.5 hours. We left NY at 2:43p, arriving into Florida at 6:08p. It was perfect timing to not have to be at the airport super early, and we would still have time to hang out when we landed. Our flight out was at 4pm; I like to make sure we have time to check out, grab one last bite and drive back to the airport (to drop off the car rental).
FLIGHT COSTS & TIPS = $80 each way x 2 people via JetBlue= $320+ taxes = $500 Remember, the earlier you buy, the more you save! Make sure to sign up for member rewards and log you points! I use the Best Fare Finder feature where available to find the cheapest day to travel.
We stayed 4 nights and 4 days (Saturday, Feb 11th to Wednesday, February 15th) and it was plenty time. By the last day, we didn't want to leave but we had done everything we set out to do!
DOG WALKING: While I'm out town, WAG dog walkers walk & feed my dog. (Use my CODE: ELLA2269 to sign up and get 5 free walks!) 30 minute walks are $20; 1-hour walks are $30 + tips. I had my dog walked the first day for 30 minute, and 3 days for 1 hour = $20 + (3x$30) + 10% tip =$132
We definitely rented a car. I typically book with Budget online. Pick the cheapest car! When you pick up, you can upgrade for a cheaper in person ;) My other car-rental tip is to book ONE DAY LESS than you actually need the car. When you return the car late, you'll only be charged a $10 late fee, as opposed to paying for the full day ;) I suppose UBER would have been just fine, but it might have even been more expensive for us to UBER back and forth from the grocery store or go for a random late night drive. We weren't staying in a commercial area, so we certainly needed wheels.
TRANSPORTATION COSTS & TIPS:
CAR RENTAL = $137.59 + 99.47 (The tank came full, so we never got gas, but we also forgot to refill it before dropping off! This is an expense that can def be avoided in the future. SMH.) = 237.06
PARKING = $7/day for 3 days + valet tips (for speedy service) + parking for guests = $50
UBER: To and from LA GUARDIA AIRPORT (him) = $60
We stayed in an Air B&B in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. The apartment was a full one bedroom. The cozy kitchen opened into the dining area/ living room combo. Our host lad almost everything we needed (cooking utensils and basic cooking needs) and we did our own grocery shopping. It was a great location in that it was the mid-point between the Airport and South Beach. We were about 10 minutes west from the beach, 30 minutes north from South Beach & 30 minutes south of the airport. The view was phenomenal; we had a view of the full-access pool and of the beach. The pool was never packed, but there were always 2-3 kids swimming around. Most of the adults made use of the jacuzzi and grilling areas. We didn't get to use the grill, but we definitely wanted to. We also had a huge balcony that spanned the entire apartment. The location was very family friendly; seemed there were residences as well as rentals.
Our stay was mostly quiet. The host left us alone, which was great, but she was not very communicative; I wish she had just left a few notes as to things like the wifi login & to know the cable guy was coming. But I suppose her set up was fairly new, and she was nice anyway. Arriving was a bit confusing. The Air B&B is located in a residential compound; the entrance is large, but there are a lot of buildings. You have to ask the guards what building you're in and where to park. While the post said parking was free, it was actually $7/day for 3 days, or $10 for each day. The valets are super nice & fast as possible, if you tip ;)
HOTEL COSTS & TIPS: AirBNB = $105/night x 4 nights + fees & taxes = $618 (+ there's a $300 security deposit, to be refunded after the stay. Plan for that to be held on your credit card.) CLICK HERE to sign up for AIR B&B with my code: ellat70 & save $40 off your first trip!
South Beach is always fun.. but it feels single. I was on my first vacation with my guy, not my girlfriends, so I wasn't really trying to party hard. If you're looking for something low key, I recommend heading over to the Wynwood Art District to view some amazing murals. After you stroll around for photo ops, you can stop at any of the many bars or restaurants. We went to RUST, which was OK. The experience was great, though... the seating was outdoor in a backyard of sorts, under candlelight. It was super low-key and the owner gave me free dessert because I didn't really like my burger lol. I didn't say so, but he was so very nice. I had an amazing Dulce de Leche dessert I'd def go back for.
FOOD & FUN for 4 days- This includes dinners at places like RUST WYNWOOD & groceries for the Air B&B. I made breakfast in the morning & we made a huge pasta meal that lasted a few days. We grabbed quick meals at places like Panda ExpressThis is also accounting for alcohol and anything other supplies or vices (because 8th of herbal is $40 a day &, in vacation, I like mine with a mimosa upon wake up). We also picked up things we needed, forgot or couldn't bring, like my hair gel, shampoo & conditioner :) = $500
Our main point of attraction was to go to gun ranges, so I did a bit of research before I got there. I purchased a groupon for Pembroke Gun Range to shoot firearms & Lock & Load Miami for machine guns & shot guns. Other than that, we both have family in Florida, so we met up with some and tried to meet up with others. Our hotel was super comfortable, so we didn't need (or want) to move much farther than the pool!
GUN RANGE #1 = Pembroke Gun Range Groupon Deal = $29 includes Range Fees, Targets, Eye and Ear Protection, and Firearm Rental for Two) Still, you have to pay additional fees for the actual ammo when you get there. I think it was about $30 for the bullets. We chose 2 guns that would use the same ammo. CLICK HERE to use my REFERRAL CODE and get $10 OFF your next purchase.
GUN RANGE #2 = Lock & Load Miami - $134 Basic Package (includes 3 Guns & instruction) x2 = $268 + fees & taxes = 383.06 This was my ONE big spend which I was there. It was my Valentine's Day gift to my guy and the purpose of the trip. If you don't want to shoot guns, you can save yourself some cash here.
OUR TOTAL COST = I would say 4 solid days was $1200 a person
These are approximate! I think it's helpful to have a breakdown of actual costs + hidden fees and incidentals. Someone's gotta walk the dog! The most comfortable things about traveling with Trav was that we didn't have real money issues. I think we were both respectful of the other's expenses. Since we paid for the flight, I paid for the hotel. Since I got the car rental, he paid for parking and would have paid for gas, had we remembered to refill the tank.
COST TIPS: You can def SAVE MONEY get this down to $1000 per person by refilling your gas on time, not getting a car rental at all, trying UBER or cutting out some vices. You can find a cheaper place to stay as well; the same place we stayed goes down to $87 a night sometimes! I would say plan the entire $1200 though. Consider the trip $1000 + $200 in security. Pay for whatever you can in advance (flight, hotel, dog walker, car rental, activities) online may have better deals! Then, you'll be able to save whatever you don't spend. Maybe you don't have a dog or a car, but you might have to pay for childcare, or parking for you car back at home. Or maybe you want to drive to the airport and park your car there. These are just my costs for your reference, make your adjustments!