An Overview of Our Family Vacation to the Keys and the Everglades

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As most of you may know, I love to travel. I love to experience new places, new foods, and new cultures. I have been planning a family trip to Ireland in 2016 and the thing is……my kids have never flown. I wanted to put them on a short plane ride before I tried to clear customs and had them sit on a six and a half hour flight. I also wanted  to do a budget friendly vacation as Ireland is not a cheap vacation and we have been saving for a few years.

 

I researched many different places but in the end I booked a trip to southern Florida to visit the keys and the everglades.

 

We packed up and left on the first flight out of Providence, Rhode Island.  Early flights are the way to go. It’s hard because it’s early in the morning and I think our kids were still sleeping while we were going through security but the best part was we were in sunny Florida before noon and by three o’clock we were laying out by the hotel pool.

 

We flew into Fort Lauderdale International airport. I have to say I was worried about the rental car. I have never rented a car before and to be honest I was sure it was going to be a process. With two kids in tow and trying to navigate the airport and trying to find the rental car terminal and get the shuttle, I had pretty much made up my mind that it would be a project. To my surprise it was anything but that! We arrived in Fort Lauderdale and directions to the rental car area were clearly marked. We waited for the shuttle and we made it quickly through line and we were off to pick up our car.

 

Enterprise was great. We got a standard SVU with unlimited miles for 7 day for $281 including taxes and fees.

 

Rental Car tips……

 

  1. A standard size SUV was plenty big enough for our family of four and all our luggage.
  2. Be careful up selling. When we arrived and started walking through the parking garage to our car the attendant showed us a few full size SUV’S and proceed to try to “sell” us one for “only $10 more per day”.
  3. Check with your airline if you need a car seat/booster seat. US Airways allowed one FREE checked car seat/booster seat per ticketed passenger.  We saved $60 on the rental car price by bringing our own seat.
  4. Bringing back the car was super easy. It was a quick pull up and drop off.
  5. Look in to your car insurance before you leave to see if you need to buy any extra insurance through the rental car company.

 

We left the airport and started making our way to the hotel. The only advice about driving in the area that I can give is PAY ATTENTION!! The driving was unreal. People we changing lanes and squeezing in to spaces that they barley had room to fit in you really need to pay attention and for the most part just stay in one line and watch ahead for brake lights. Traffic travels at a high speed and comes to a quick stop often so PAY ATTENTION. I can’t say it enough…..PAY ATTENTION! We did pass a pineapple farm on our drive which the kids thought was pretty neat.

We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott in Homestead, Florida it was about an hour drive from the airport. The hotel was clean, easy to find and in a nice location. When I booked the hotel they were offering a package that included a $25 voucher per day for the bistro at the hotel. The voucher was great and covered our breakfast each morning. The bistro at the hotel only served breakfast and dinner, it was not open in the afternoon for lunch or late afternoon snacks.

The pool was beautiful and clean, they had a great patio in the back which was a nice place to eat breakfast in the morning or sit outside at night and have a drink and relax! The one thing that the hotel needed was a place to hang your wet bathing suits and such. With traveling to the beach and using the pool we had a lot of wet clothes and no where for them to dry. I used the luggage holder and placed a towel under it so we could set our clothes out to dry. It worked but it would have been nice to hang that type of stuff in the bathroom.

If you are looking to visit both the keys and the everglades the Courtyard in Homestead is a great choice.

The only thing I have to say about the area of Homestead is it’s a great location to see both the keys and the everglades. Key Largo was a forty minute drive and the Everglades were a twenty five minute drive. The area where the hotel was located was great but the surrounding areas were not so nice.

If you want to read more about our travels in the Keys CLICK HERE

If you want to read more about our travels in the Everglades CLICK HERE

 

Overall it was a great affordable vacation and we really enjoyed ourselves.

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I would love to hear about your travel tips please leave me a comment below!!