Hey friends! It’s been quite a while since we’ve last written, but we’re so glad to be back and so glad we were able to get away for a few days and just relax. As you can infer from the title, Rebecca and I spent a few days together in Fort Lauderdale, and it could not have come at a better time! We’d been chatting back and forth for the last few months about needing a little trip together, something to just relax, and Rebecca planned this little trip for us! One thing we’re both really good at is reading the other person and knowing exactly what we need and when we need it, so Rebecca took the initiative from the conversations we’d been having and just went ahead and put the trip together for us without me even knowing! She came up to me about two weeks before we left and just said, “Hey, you don’t have baseball practice on these days right? Good, we’re going on a trip, I’ll tell you what you need to pack, and you’ll figure out where we’re going when we get to the airport,” and away we went!
After the last couple years that everyone has had, I simply could not WAIT to just sit on the beach and relax. Growing up, I was never really a fan of beach vacations unless there was a lot to do around the city we stayed, simply because I was hyper and wanted to go out and do stuff! However, the one thing I’ve learned about being an adult, and especially an adult with multiple children…..my goodness does relaxing feel good. I never would have thought I’d be so excited to lay on the beach for hours at a time and get swept away in the ambiance of the waves crashing, the seagulls chirping, and the wind blowing, but when you have some time away from the kids, you have to take advantage, right?! So, we had a phenomenal time just catching up on rest and relaxation, and I’ll take you through our day-by-day with some little tips and observations for how you can save some money and maximize your little getaways even better than we did!
Let’s start with the flight: Spirit Airlines.
Anyone that has flown Spirit knows that you typically only fly with them for a single reason: budget. And you know what? That’s perfectly understandable! We’re going through a season in our lives where we’re watching our budget more closely than we ever have for a multitude of reasons. Here is one recommendation though; If you’re going to fly with Spirit (or really any other “budget” airline), just know that any and all of your extras are going to get “nickel and dimed.” Extra bags, carry-ons, personal items, food/drinks on the plane, etc., everything is going to come with a cost, so make sure you look closely at what you’re allowed to bring for free and what they’re going to charge you for. All of the checked bags were $40, so we only took one suitcase for the both of us. We only stayed for three days and two nights, so we were able to manage the bare minimum of clothes so we could bring enough toiletries. We were also allowed one personal item on the plane, but they were very specific with the dimensions of the bag, otherwise, it would’ve been considered a carry-on and we would have been charged for it. I can’t stress enough, read the guidelines on what you will and won’t be charged for! The budget airlines are great, as long as you’re overly prepared and avoid the add ons!
Here’s our first mistake: Transportation.
Initially, the plan was to get there and just Uber or Lyft everywhere we needed to go, but we soon learned that this may not have been the best strategy. We landed in Fort Lauderdale late in the evening (we chose a late flight so we could spend as much time with our boys on that Sunday as possible), but instead of being proactive and calling an Uber right away, we waited until we were at baggage claim, and by then, the wait was going to be over 30 minutes, with a price tag of $75 for a 15-minute ride! As ridiculous as that sounds, we should have been more prepared for it. We’d previously had a ride with Uber into downtown Indianapolis for the Big Ten football championship game that cost about $15 for a 15-minute ride, but the same ride home was over $100! Unfortunately, we had to bite the bullet and take whatever ride we could get. Throughout the next couple of days, the price of the Uber rides went dramatically down, but the number of rides we took was roughly the same cost as renting a car from Enterprise. We actually did rent a car for Monday because we knew we were going to be doing some driving for what we had planned, but we ended up extending our rental car through Tuesday because the price (about $65 per day) was going to make more sense than taking 5 or 6 $10+ rides through Uber or Lyft, and we had the flexibility to be spontaneous with the rental car. Now, if you’re going to be staying in a place right on the beach and are planning to just be there all day for your trip, then, by all means, Uber to the place you’re staying and have at it! But, if you have plans to go out to breakfast, then to the beach, maybe somewhere else for lunch, and back out for dinner, the number of rides will start to add up. So, all in all, our recommendation would be to look at your schedule ahead of time and see how many Uber rides you’d had to take each day, and if it’s going to be more than 4, we’d recommend just renting a car. It’s going to be less headache, you won’t be subject to the schedule of the drivers in your area, and you won’t be vulnerable to surge pricing like we were. Hope that helps!
Now, let’s talk about where we stayed!
We stayed at a lovely little Airbnb called “Blue Mars” in Oakland Park, Florida, and it was exactly what we needed and nothing more! We’ll have some pictures for you below, but our place was a beautiful little studio with a king bed, a television with a few different streaming services, a couch with a coffee table leading into the kitchen, which had a toaster oven, microwave, and a coffee maker (as long as we have this, what else do you really need!) And the bathroom had a smart mirror that would head itself whenever there was condensation from the shower, so when you came out of the shower, you wouldn’t have to smear the mirror with a towel! A small touch, but we thought it was pretty cool! And the shower was humongous with an overhead handle, so we really enjoyed having space to move around (our shower at home is really tight, so it was refreshing lol). Here’s the biggest thing we’ve learned about picking where to stay: Pick a place based on the activities you’re going to be doing. We often choose places based on the pictures online, the amenities it comes with, and the ambiance of the property, and don’t get me wrong, those things are certainly important! However, understand that the most important thing is the activities you have planned for your stay. If your vacation will be like ours where you’re going out for lunch and dinner, doing some shopping, going to the beach, etc., then you really just need a place to sleep. Again, you certainly want to make sure you’re staying somewhere safe and somewhere that has something to keep you moderately entertained like a television, but don’t pay $150 for a place just because it looks cool and the person did a good job writing their description. Find a place to suits the purpose that you need it for. On the other hand, if you plan on cooking most of your meals and spending a lot of time in the place that you’re staying (like we do when to go to Nagshead, NC, or Virginia Beach, VA), then you definitely want to spend more on the place! It’s all about what YOU need for your specific vacation.
Next, let’s talk itinerary!
We arrived late on Sunday, March 28th, so that night, we just went to the Airbnb and got unpacked. Monday, Rebecca had planned a little surprise for me that was super awesome! She took me to the last Spring Training game of the preseason between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals! If you’ve followed along with us on any of our social media, you’ll know that I’m a baseball coach and played baseball for my entire life, all the way through college, so it’s an incredible passion of mine. So, we went to the game, ate some hot dogs, chicken tenders, and fries, and of course, drank some beer! This was the first professional sporting event we’d been to since the beginning of the pandemic, so it was amazing to be outside, in the sun, watching a sport we both love, all while taking in the sounds and smells of the ballpark! After the game, we drove a little further to meet a dear friend of ours for dinner in West Palm Beach, all while driving the coast of West Palm and seeing 20+ million-dollar mansions! After dinner with our friend, we went back down the coast to Pompano Beach, where we saw the Hillsboro Lighthouse and watched huge yachts come to and from the ocean!
Tuesday, we spent most of our day at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, which, if you’ve never been, was a super cool, albeit super touristy little town filled with shops and restaurants down the main strip, leading to a beautiful beach, where we spent most of our afternoon! Lunch that day was at a little taqueria called Tacocraft, where we indulged in plenty of tacos and adult beverages! If you ever go, we 100% recommend the chicken al pastor tacos! That evening, we had dinner at a little Caribbean restaurant called Aruba, which sat right next to the beach, so we had some really nice views for dinner! While I’d say the food was a touch underwhelming, one thing they certainly got right was the loaf of bread with honey butter that came out before the meal! If we could do it again, we literally might have just gotten the whole loaf and called it a day.
Wednesday, we returned our car and walked back to our Airbnb to get a little exercise (it was about a 1.5-mile walk, so nothing crazy), and got all packed up. Here’s a shout out to the people that hosted us at Blue Sky: they actually let us have the room until 4 p.m. that day, even though we were supposed to be out by 10 a.m. because we had to return the car by 10 and our flight wasn’t until later that evening. Had we been out at 10, we would have had to take our suitcase and our personal bags with us wherever we went until our flight that evening, so that was super generous of them to allow us to stay for a while when they didn’t have to!
We returned to reality late on Wednesday evening, and while we wished we could have stayed a bit longer to soak up the sun, we were so excited to see our boys again. We both decided that our next beach vacation would be our whole family, so if you have an recommendations on some great family beaches, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below! We hope you enjoyed this post about our time in Fort Lauderdale, and we’ll start getting back to some more bucket list posts later this month! Thank you so much for reading 🙂