At the end of April, the hubs and I took a little vay-cay to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and it was one of the best [and cheapest] vacations we have taken! So, let's talk details...
One night in February, John and I were browsing around Google Flights (per usual) and we stumbled upon ridiculously cheap tickets to Ft. Lauderdale (I'm talking $100 EACH). We looked at each other with the same thoughts of wanderlust and knew we HAD to book the tickets. We made a "Vacation Budget" about a year ago, so we had some money saved up as well, so it was an easy decision! Within 10 minutes, we had two tickets to Ft. Lauderdale from Boston and we started to count down the days. :)
Let me just tell you -- Google Flights is AWESOME! It literally searches every flight website (including the actual airlines) and puts everything in one place for you. You can also see what dates are the cheapest and it shows you a map of how much it costs to fly anywhere. That is how we stumbled upon the Ft. Lauderdale flights -- we were just exploring prices for flights all over the world. Check it out and you will become addicted!
Next, we had to book our hotel for 4-nights, so we started looking at both the Marriott and Hilton websites since we have credit cards from both places and we had points saved up. We finally landed on the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina because it was cheaper than the hotels right on the beach, but it had a free shuttle to the beach. We used our points for 3 nights and paid for the last night on our own, so the total cost for our hotel stay was $120 (a steal!).
For food, we didn't always go to the cheapest places, but we didn't go too crazy either. Our hotel room had a mini fridge, so we saved some money [and calories] by buying healthy breakfast foods. We bought protein shakes, fruit, and a few other items which cost us about $30 for the entire trip. We also took Quest bars with us for snacks during the day. For lunch and dinner, we used Yelp to find places that were at least 4 stars and had "Moderate [$$]" prices. For lunch we spent between $20-$25 and for dinner we spent between $35-$45. Here are a few of the places we went to and loved...
Nanou French Bakery & Cafe -- our suggestion: any of the panini sandwiches, the chocolate eclairs, and the gelato
Pelican Landing -- our suggestion: the sriracha buffalo wings or the fish tacos (and ask for Raphael!)
BurgerFi -- our suggestion: the conflicted burger
Gyroville -- our suggestion: the traditional gyro with a greek side salad
A lot of our vacations consist of site-seeing and packing as much tourism in as possible, but this one was different. This vacation to Ft. Lauderdale was all about relaxation, so we purposely did not rent a car or plan anything major while we were there. We did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted... and it was amazing. We rented two Vespas ($70*) one day and just rode along the beach and through the neighborhoods of Ft. Lauderdale. Another day we bought tickets ($40*) for the Water Taxi and saw Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood from the water.
*I did not include these costs in the total price because these were extra things we decided to do -- not things everyone would do.
My takeaway from Ft. Lauderdale -- It's a great place to RELAX! There is not much to see and do around the city of Ft. Lauderdale, which is why it was so inexpensive, but there is great food and there are beautiful beaches which is why I would recommend going there. We were able to catch up on some reading and enjoy traveling together -- and that is all we could really ask for. :)
Scroll through some of our photos from the trip and a full breakdown of the costs below! Also, comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. Happy Traveling!
Flights (including one checked bag) -- $250
Hotel -- $120
Food -- $300
*Extras -- $110 for Vespas and Water Taxi