I’ve received several private messages of people enquiring about our trip to Florida, either because they are traveling there soon or because they were curious about our choice of destination. As you’ve probably noticed if you follow me on Instagram, it was one of those trips we don’t take every year and I really wanted to write about it on the blog. Now that I see there’s also an interest, I’m even more encouraged to write this series of posts.
In order not to write a too long text, I’ve decided to split the information in three posts: the trip arrangements, Miami and the Keys.
That’s a question we were asked a lot, particularly during the trip. I think ‘you’re very brave’ is the sentence we heard most after ‘your baby is so cute!’ 😉 I agree that crossing the Atlantic with small children can be an odyssey. Such a long journey can easily discourage anyone.
Despite that, we wanted to take the opportunity of me being on maternity leave to go on a trip, one of those memorable ones. Not working and knowing you’ll eventually be able to go back to your job is so uncommon and such a special moment in your life that it’s the perfect time to plan a trip. Besides, babies under six months travel in a bassinet in the plane, which makes the experience much more pleasant.
Choosing the destination wasn’t easy. We wanted to go somewhere warm, where we could swim in the sea. At this time of the year, it meant we had to travel outside of Europe. Options are limited with a baby. For us it was very important not to take any risks and to have access to a good health care system in case the kids were sick. Moreover, we didn’t want to take three planes or to endure a very long flight. These three criteria (good weather, health safety and ‘relatively easy’ trip) reduced our options to Mauritius and Florida.
Mauritius looks really beautiful but we felt that if we’d chosen that destination, our trip would have been limited to staying in a resort and going to the beach, when in fact what we like when we travel is combining beach and tourism (not much, but as much as we can realistically do with the kids).
Florida is the perfect combination of heavenly beaches and things to do. Besides, when Inés was a baby, we had already travelled to Florida. On the one hand, we were tempted to change destination, but on the other hand, we thought it would be great to go to the same place, this time with Théo. And with Inés being older now, we thought she would enjoy the holiday a lot more and remember it better. That’s why we chose Florida.
I must say I’ve never been an adventurous person. I have bad memories of the time my parents tried to find a destination and a hotel in the middle of August without a having made a reservation. I’ll always remember a trip to Galicia when the four of us had to sleep a night in the car because there wasn’t a single room available anywhere. Besides, with two little kids, not to plan is even riskier.
It took us a while to start planning, though. We couldn’t make up our mind about the destination. When we finally did, the hotel prices were high. The US are an expensive destination right now because the dollar is strong. If you’re thinking about planning a trip there, I advise you to look at accommodation in advance!
Flights prices were very competitive, though, as there’s an extensive offer. We flew Iberia with a stop in Madrid and the tickets were quite cheap for this kind of flight. I hadn’t got good feedback about Iberia but the truth is we were very happy about the service we got, especially the kids, so I think we’ll fly with them again.
The other open question was which places we were going to visit, as Florida is a big state. When Inés was a baby, we went to three different places in two weeks (Miami, Palm Beach and the Keys). It was actually too much driving and packing and unpacking. That’s why we decided to limit ourselves to two stops this time: Miami and the Keys. We had fallen in love with both places and really wanted to go back again.
We considered going to Orlando to visit Disney and the NASA, but as we’re not into Disney that much we decided to take advantage of the fact that Inés is not asking yet 😉 The Eastern coast looks really nice too, but the places we liked the most in that area were 8 hours’ drive from Miami.
We also had to decide whether we would rent a car for the whole trip (which would have been very expensive) or not. In the end, we decided to rent one only during part of our holiday. In Miami, you don’t need a car. Parking is expensive. We took Uber every time we wanted to visit a place and I can really recommend it. Uber is a global app which helps you to find a driver and enables you to pay your trip in advance in just one click. It’s much cheaper than a taxi and is even more practical as you know from the beginning how much you’re going to pay, even if there’s a traffic jam or some other delay.
If you rent a car, I also recommend you do so in advance. Now renting a car is like booking a flight or a hotel: prices increase the later you book.
Finally, the last thing I recommend you do when you plan a trip to the US is to be aware that the price you book isn’t the one you’ll pay. You always need to add hotel taxes and service charges (i.e. tips, which aren’t always included and correspond to about 10% of the price).
Stay tune for the next episode, which will be about Miami 😉