Sigh… this time last week I was sunning myself on South Beach, listening to the sound of the waves, the squawks of the over-friendly seagulls and the laughter of young tanned Americans determined to make the most of their Spring Break.
I had quickly realised why Will Smith had eagerly sung about Miami, and how it had got the nickname the ‘Magic City’. I too had fallen its glamorous spell.
It’s always hard to describe how a place gets under your skin and the unique atmosphere it holds. The first things I noticed about Miami was the cleanliness, the palm-tree lined roads, the angular lines of the white art-deco buildings and the serene space that most cities just don’t have.
The second thing I couldn’t fail to notice, were the prices! Miami is not a destination for those on a tight budget, and the cost for just about everything starts at midrange and quickly extends to eye-wateringly extortionate.
However, as someone who likes to think of themself as a savvy traveller, I did find a way to make savings elsewhere. Firstly, direct flights to Miami can be found at very competitive prices from a variety of airlines, I personally flew with British Airways for just £360 return.
Miami hotels can be expensive (even the so-called budget ones), but money can be saved by staying in downtown Miami, or by renting an apartment (which we did) through a company like airbnb.
We stayed in an art deco studio flat in the midst of the action (Washington Avenue), just a short stroll from South Beach and Ocean Drive. It was lovely, and an ideal spot for sightseeing and enjoying all of Miami’s highlights!
We spent our days enjoying the sunshine: hanging out on the beach or sneaking into the plush hotel pools (surprisingly easy to do).
Our evenings were spent with tasty meals out, before partying the night away in Ocean Drive or one of the glam hotels. Whilst drinks may be expensive in Miami – you do get what you pay for. Cocktails for example are about triple the size of ours here and you don’t need many to feel the effects!
We also embarked on an exciting trip to the Everglades, where we got close to some alligators and enjoyed an airboat ride (driven by an excitable Steve Irwin type character) around the marshy waterways. It took a while to convince my sister (who likes to keep her feet firmly on dry land) that it would be fun, but she seemed to thoroughly enjoy it once we were onboard. I happily took the edge-of-the-boat seat and took pics of the alligators swimming by.
The whole week flew by and before I knew it I was back here in the dealchecker office, trying desperately to hold off a bit before booking my next trip.
Many people have asked me if I had fun – and I can honestly say that I really, really did. In my opinion, Miami maybe a tad expensive (okay, it’s just downright expensive) but it makes a holiday to remember and is well worth a splurge!