Doing Key West on a Budget

Key West Budget Travel

When you think of budget travel, Key West is probably not one of the first destinations that comes to mind. However, there are tons of free and cheap attractions in Key West. Here are some of my favorites!


Lodging is going to be your biggest expense in Key West. Whether you choose a Bed & Breakfast, a hotel, or a beachfront house rental, you want to save the majority of your budget for lodging. I was reading a post from the Florida Rambler about lodging in Key West. Their suggestion was to find a place with a shared bathroom. If that’s something you can handle, you could save a pretty penny!

Outside of sharing bathrooms, to save the absolute most money, your best bet is to book a Bed & Breakfast in the off-season. Watch out for resort fees, parking fees, and any additional fees they might try to tack on (regardless of where you stay). You’ll want to add these in to get your final total, and compare total to total instead of base price to base price. You’d be shocked at how big of a difference the final price can be, even when several spots have the same base price!

Affordable Fun in Key West

Admission to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is $8.50 for kids and $12 for adults. The whole family will enjoy this place!

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is great for history buffs and political fans alike. You can buy tickets online for $25 each.

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is another one for the history buffs, but everyone enjoys this museum. Admission is $5 for kids and $14 for adults.

Water Fun

Did you know many beaches in Key West have admission fees? If you’ve never visited before, you might be caught off guard! Here is a list of public beaches in Key West. Some beaches are dog-friendly, so be sure to check those out, too, if you brought your furry friend along.

Taking a jet ski tour for two can set you back about $200, but it’s 90 minutes of fun you can’t experience anywhere else. Pair it with a glass bottom boat tour or a snorkeling tour and save some money.

Kayaking is also popular in Key West. It’s more affordable than most people realize. This list of the Top 10 Kayaking Adventures can help you find the best option for your budget.

Oh, and you don’t want to miss the famous Key West Sunset.

Other Fun in Key West

Much like Oahu, Hawaii, Key West is home to many wild roosters and chickens. They’re very vocal, and adorable… until you’re trying to sleep and they’re outside your window crowing all night.

Can’t get enough of the animals? Visit the Key West Wildlife Center.

Take a free historic walking tour by printing this PDF.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Key West? Let me know in the comments!

Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

Doing Maui on a Budget

3 Perfect Spots to Experience Southern Hospitality in Charleston, SC

Charleston South Carolina

South Carolina is a destination that offers something for everyone in the family – mountains, beaches, rafting and more. Some of the most beautiful historic cities offer great food, amazing tours and welcome visitors with wide open arms in the most amazing ways full of southern hospitality. Charleston, SC is a city full of history, culture, shopping, night-life and more ~ A city everyone should visit at least once! If you plan to visit soon, here are 3 perfect spots to experience southern hospitality in Charleston: 

Charleston South Carolina

Wentworth Mansion

A 21-room tribute to Charleston grandeur, The Wentworth Mansion is a downtown Charleston inn that exemplifies splendor with Italian crystal chandeliers, hand-carved marble fireplaces, gracious hospitality, luxurious amenities – all just steps from award-winning dining, art, history, and shopping.

True to its original role as a private residence, The Wentworth Mansion embraces guests with warm, intuitive service. Like the greatest family traditions, it preserves its original intrigue and ensures that each guest is not a mere witness to the magic, but integral to it.

Built by a cotton baron in 1886, the palatial private home welcomes guests seeking a personalized and decadent touch to their Charleston visit. The rooms are spacious, come with free WiFi, king-sized whirlpool tubs and some are dog-friendly with direct lawn access. Enjoy breakfast (included) on the porch each morning and come back after a day of exploring for sherry and hors d’oeuvres in the historic paneled parlor each evening.

The Restoration

Made up of five buildings that offer a look and to what traditional Southern living might have been, the easy going and relaxed nature of the staff remind you that you couldn’t be anywhere but South Carolina. The rooftop terrace offers fantastic views of the city. Included in every room at The Restoration is a curated assortment of Beekman 1802 soaps and lotions, all handmade on the Beekman farm. The luxurious rooms blend modern decor like stainless steel appliances and leather headboards with exposed brick and authentic historical elements that reflect the building’s 100 + year history.

At The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits, The Restoration’s very own farm to table restaurant, it’s all about celebrating the bounty of local ingredients, sourced directly from nearby purveyors, and enjoying one of the best views in the entire city. Charleston’s architectural history, from 350 year old church steeples to Greek Revival period buildings that inspired Edgar All Poe will be your view while dining. Classic low country food served along with fresh seafood picked up at the docks just hours before you order will leave you wanting more and more!

French Quarter Inn

Comforting amenities and friendly service are offered to all who stay at this Charleston boutique hotel. With a perfect location in the heart of historic Charleston, the French Quarter Inn is close to many of the city’s famous shops, world-class restaurants and event sites. French Quarter Inn is the perfect combination of luxury and location that is unrivaled by other hotels in Charleston. Upon check-in, you’ll be greeted with champagne to toast your arrival ~ there’s that southern hospitality again! The Inn is located among the old cobblestone streets and just a short walk away from the horse carriages, art galleries and restaurants of Charleston.

A nightly wine and cheese reception invites you to mix and mingle with other guests and the nightly turn-down service includes a glass of fine port wine (or milk if you prefer) and fresh baked cookies. Continental breakfast is served each morning in the lobby or can be delivered to your room.

If a visit to Charleston, SC is in your plans, be sure to look at one of these great locations that will welcome you with southern hospitality!

Limited Time: Lock In Last Week’s Prices for Disneyland Tickets!

Disneyland Tickets
Photo via Disneyland Resort

Still Want Disneyland Tickets at last week’s prices? When it comes to visiting Disney, every penny counts!

Ticket prices at the Disneyland® Resort recently were raised, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay more! Lock-in your low price with Get Away Today and save up to $32 over gate prices per ticket when you book by February 21, 2017!

Don’t miss this great deal! Must purchase by February 21, 2017 – YOU CAN PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE

Get Away Today is a leader in the travel industry offering discount cruises and vacations to Disneyland, San Diego, Hawaii, Orlando, Mexico and more since 1990!

Disneyland Tickets

Also you can book your 2017 Disneyland package online at or call to speak to a Get Away Today agent at 855-GET-AWAY! Use promo code OPENSUITCASE and automatically receive a $10 discount on a Disneyland and/or a Southern California vacation package!

Great News! Get Away Today has a vacation layaway plan to help plan your Disneyland and Southern California vacations!! Use promo code OPENSUITCASE for a $10 discount!

Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate links

Doing Maui on a Budget

This is the first in a series we will now run on “Doing Travel on a Budget”. 

Maui Budget Travel

The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is dotted with quaint towns, artist communities and local favorites that have been around for generations. From shimmering beaches and sacred Iao Valley to migrating humpback whales and sunset on Haleakala, it’s not surprising Maui was voted the “Best Island” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for more than twenty years. 

Determine how you’ll get around

Once you land on Maui, will you be renting a car or taking the bus? You can get a Maui Bus Pass for just a few bucks a day, and it does stop at the airport (among other popular spots on the island). You won’t get the option of exploring as much if you just have the bus pass, so keep that in mind.

If you’re going to rent a car, consider an economy car instead of a 4WD. Everyone wants the 4WD so you’ll pay a premium for it. Unless you plan on off-roading (in a rental vehicle? Eek!), 2WD should be fine. Don’t skimp on the insurance, though! Check with your insurance company before you leave home, to see if they will cover your rental. Usually if you have full coverage back home, rental cars will be covered as well.

Maui Budget Travel

Plan, plan, plan

When you’re planning your Maui vacation on a budget, make a long list of things you’d like to do, places you want to see, and of course popular tourist attractions that everyone loves if that’s your type of thing. As you get closer to actually visiting Hawaii, your list can get chopped down to your favorites. Map everything out so you know where one stop is in relation to the next. Creating a plan will save you time, money, and headaches.

Because you’ll be on vacation, it’s also important to understand that things do come up. Traffic gets crazy. There are road closures. Having a long list of things you want to do while on the island can make your stay less stressful, because you’ll always have a backup plan.

Avoid tourist traps

Some tourist spots are okay because they are parks, or beaches, and completely free. But other tourist spots like luaus get expensive… fast! You can easily pay $100 for one luau. Visit Whaler’s Village for free lei making classes, hula classes, and live music at night. Check the website for their complete schedule.

Book your lodging carefully

When you start planning your vacation, ask around to see if any friends or family members have timeshares or condos on Maui. You’d be surprised at what you’ll find if you start planning early enough! In Hawaii, food is very expensive, so booking a condo rather than a hotel room is one way to save quite a bit of cash. If you calculate 3 meals a day, multiply that by $15-$25 per person, you’ve definitely blown your budget rather quickly! While grocery stores aren’t going to be super inexpensive options – it is Hawaii, after all – stocking up on snacks, drinks, and quick meal options will save you a lot of money.

Maui Budget Travel

Must-sees that won’t break the bank!

The Banyan Tree is the size of a city block and nearly 60ft high!

Snorkeling is one of the most affordable things to do in Maui! You can rent snorkels for just a few bucks!

Haleakala National Park is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano, and some of the most beautiful waterfalls you’ll ever see!

The Road to Hana is one of the most scenic highways in Hawaii. This highway is one good reason to rent a car!

Whale watching in Hawaii is one of those things you have to do if you’re visiting during mating season. Whales migrate from Alaska, to mate in the warm waters Hawaii offers. Whales arrive in the winter and head back to Alaska in the summer; peak whale watching season in Hawaii is during February and March. Whales can be spotted by land, if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a whale watching tour. I did some research to find the best place to whale watch from land. I found that McGregor Point (at mile marker 9 on Highway 30) is the spot to catch a glimpse of the whales migrating, anywhere from December through April. Another good spot is Papawai Scenic Lookout.

Maui Budget Travel

What’s your best tip for enjoying Maui on a budget? Let me know in the comments!

WDW Ticket Price Increases as of Feb. 12, 2017

WDW Ticket Price Increase

Prices for WDW park passes are typically raised each February, so this increase shouldn’t come as a surprise. A full pricing breakdown is not yet available, but here are a few of the increases we are aware of:

Last year Disney introduced seasonal one-day ticket pricing, with three tiers based on time of year. For Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the mid-tier tickets will raise to $107 from $102. Peak season tickets (i.e., spring break, summer and Christmas break) will raise to $119 from $114. A one-day visit during the value period will raise to $99, up from $97. The Magic Kingdom always has a premium added on to the cost of admission. Prices will rise for the value and regular seasons. A mid-tier ticket will raise to $115 from $110. Peak season prices will remain the same. These are the adult prices and do not include tax. Children (ages 3 to 9) tickets will also experience a price increase.

Annual pass prices will also increase tomorrow. Florida-resident gold passes with black-out dates during Christmas and spring break will raise to $559 from $549. Platinum passes with no black-out dates will raise to $679 from $649.

Guests buying tickets online can save $20 on Magic Your Way passes of  three to 10 days. All tickets will now have expiration dates. The dates for expiration will vary.

Preferred parking option will increase to $40.

The  “Water Park Fund & More” stand-alone option is being eliminated. The option will only be available to purchase with a park hopper ticket.

Disneyland in California will also be raising prices tomorrow, February 12, 2017