Florida Keys, Please: Travel Tips To Keep Costs Down
A collection of diverse islands sits off the coast of South Florida. Household name? The Keys. After our whirlwind of a wedding, my husband and I sought desperately for a quiet, secluded spot for a mini moon. Islamorada seemed to offer the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure somewhere in the middle of the archipelago, so we packed our bags for a weekend getaway – on a very tight budget.
While a trip to Islamorada can often come with a hefty price tag, follow these five easy steps to keep your wallet full:
Find a resort that offers activities
We stayed at the renowned Cheeca Lodge. And while we were initially irked to pay a $39 daily resort fee, I loved that this one set price included a ton of value: we had access to paddleboards, kayaks, bicycles and more. This allowed us to stay in control of our budget as we knew exactly what our daily activities would cost. Of course, upgrades like snorkeling and boat tours were extra but for us, cost free is the way to be.
Skip the mini bar, stop at the liquor store
This one sounds so simple, but it’s probably the #1 moneysaver I’ve found on vacation. Sunset cocktails at a tiki bar might sound tempting – and you should definitely indulge in a round at least one night of vacation. But for the rest of the time, have your favorite bottle of wine on ice in the room. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that cocktails are much more satisfying when they’re self-supplied for a fraction of the price.
Hotel restaurants are often expensive and highly disappointing. My best tip here is to venture out. We rode the hotel bikes around town after doing a little research and stumbled upon family-owned eateries that had delicious food for dirt cheap.
Hop on the resort shuttle
A new trend in luxury hotel stays is offering guests complimentary car service. At Cheeca Lodge, huge white branded vans were available to transport guests within a 2-mile radius of the hotel. The bell hop was super surprised when we called to arrange a pick up as this service is rarely used. The money you save on cabs can be directly deposited into the “vacation meals” fund. Take advantage of the free stuff, people!
Always ask for that free upgrade
Most check-in staff want to be your vacation hero, so don’t be afraid to ask if a nicer room is available…and also don’t be afraid to casually mention whatever special occasion you’re celebrating; eight times out of 10, they’ll say yes! After all, you can’t get what you don’t ask for.