Being a tourist can be expensive. If you’re blessed financially, more power to you. However, if you’re like most people, you make sacrifices in one area of your life to afford spending in another.
After a dozen trips to Key West in the past decade, I’ve learned a few tricks to experiencing the getaway of a lifetime without going home broke.
- Rent a bike or scooter. Traveling in Key West via taxi and car can be expensive. By biking or motoring around Old Town, you will avoid the hassle of parking fees and experience the island on a more personal level.
- Eat where the locals eat. Bo’s Fish Wagon at 801 Caroline Street isn’t much to look at, but provides an inexpensive, tasty lunch-on-the-go. Enjoy a delicious Cuban meal for a very reasonable price at El Siboney on Catherine and Margaret. Trek over to Petronia Street and check out the Bahama Village stores for other hidden food deals. Take advantage of local bar and restaurant Happy Hours, such as Alonso’s 1/2 price appetizers.
- Enjoy its public beaches. Pack your water bottles (purchase a 6-pack at CVS) and a couple pieces of fruit (from your Continental Breakfast or mom-and-pop deli), beach towels, and your favorite book. Snorkel the clear waters at Fort Zachary for a nominal entrance and gear fee, and then read on the beach in the shade of a tall pine tree until you get your fill.
- Stroll Duval Street. People-watch your way from Upper Duval with its upscale retailers and art galleries to Lower Duval with its quirky souvenir shops and tourist bars.
- Intersperse splurge activities with budget ones. You’ve traveled a long way to enjoy a dream holiday with your loved one. Choose one or two extravagant activities–go all out! (SEE BELOW for suggestions)
- Charter fishing boat as a couple
- Rent a yacht for a special dinner occasion
- Fly to Dry Tortugas for a day of snorkeling and sightseeing
- Eat a fancy dinner — ie Hot Tin Roof, Michael’s, 915, The Flaming Buoy
- Dinner at Sunset Key
- Dolphin Encounters
- Shopping at an upscale art gallery, clothier, or jewelry store
- Sunset Sail
- Eco Kayak and Snorkeling Tour
- Party Boat — Fishing or Snorkeling with a larger group
- AQUA Club Drag Show
- Jet Skiing
- Key West Cemetery
- Key West Butterfly Conservatory
- Nancy’s Secret Garden
- Ghost Tour
- Ernest Hemingway Museum and Home
- West Martello Tower
- Peruse local FREE newspapers for lectures, exhibits, concerts, matinees, gallery openings, or library programs
Please share your travel tips with us! We all love to save money, right?