Sadly, I am not on a cruise ship right now sailing back from the Dominican Republic. But that’s okay, because I did get a mini-vacation in South Beach, Florida this week. Oh sure, my Pinterest board was full of what to pack for my cruise, and where to go in Puerta Plata, but the truth is, that was not what saddened me most. It was the first of its kind in cruising to help others…an impact trip, and I was going to be helping people in the DR with things like English as a second language in school, reforestation, concrete floors for homes, and organic cocoa and chocolate making. However, the Coast Guard knows best, and I believe in letting them do their job of properly inspecting a new cruise ship, so my girlfriend and I rolled with the news and headed over to Miami for a few days before coming home.
5 Ways to Enjoy Travel Changes
So how did we make the most of our money as well?
- We immediately looked at booking hotels online, not through the front desk. We got better prices for more nights online than through the front desk and then when we checked in, we told him what happened to us. He threw in some extra beverage coupons.
- We use Uber instead of cabs, and then got a free ride for referring the other friend to use it. So the next time we used it, it took $15 off. While we rode, we asked our drivers all about the area. Locals know the best places to eat and go.
- We took advantage of the happy hour that was included in the “resort” fee at our hotel. Know what you are paying for and what each hotel provides and when. Ours was “free” wine each night and “free” coffee each morning. It was a very nice hotel chain and it was quite lovely inside. The Kimpton hotels definitely have the feel of something different as you walk in.
- We walked everywhere and I used my cell phone map app and changed it to walking so I knew how far it was. We passed many cool sites this way and because it was South Beach, we were in the middle of beautiful art deco buildings, shops, and flowers I might have missed if we had taken the 25 cents local bus…which perhaps we took one night and got lost. Walking was better.
- What we should have done differently…was share meals. We were so hungry and loved everything on the menu that we each ordered a meal, then realized we should have split it. Definitely consider splitting meals. But I did eat the local food because Cuban food is muy bueno. Find out what is a local favorite and order it. You won’t be sorry.
Lastly, we met some amazing people on the trip because I do like to strike up conversations with folks and so does my friend, so we had a good time even though it wasn’t where we thought we were going…but that’s the thing about travel. It’s about the journey, not necessarily the destination.