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A Broke Girls Travel Guide - Miami On A Budget

Updated: Jan 20

There's no better city to plan the ultimate girl's weekend than Miami. Lounging on the beach until the sun sets and dancing in the club until it rises again only to repeat it all the next day is definitely a dream-worthy vacation. It's no secret the glitz and glamor of Miami comes at a price. The highly touristic city is dubbed as one of the US's most expensive cities almost every year.


Don't be too discouraged quite yet though, as there are plenty of ways to enjoy the vibrant color and life of the city even if you're on a budget. There are plenty of fun and affordable ways to make sure you can check the city of beautiful bikinis and beaches off your bucket list this year.


Freehand Miami Hostel
Soaking up the sun and palm trees at the Freehand Miami

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In this article, you'll find advice on how to budget to save money in the following categories while in Miami.


Affordable Transportation In Miami

Budget Fights In…


Although there is an airport directly in Miami, Miami International Airport (MIA), it may not be the cheapest option. Flying into a neighboring airport might save you substantially.


Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) also offer an array of budget flight options that may work better for your schedule and wallet. There are many transportation options available to your end destination.



Transporting Between Miami Airports…


The easiest method of transport to get from airport to airport is to use the South Florida Tri-Rail. One-way trips between all airports range between $5 to $10. There is a schedule of departures that you can find easily on the Tri-Rail official website. Time from PBI to MIA is approximately 2 hours while FLL to MIA is approximately an hour.


If you’re in a little bit more of a rush Ubers and Lyfts are readily available and are quite a bit quicker. Expect to pay a bit more. Rideshare is a great option for groups that are willing to split the fare. Typical fairs from Fort Lauderdale to Miami are around $50 but this can fluctuate greatly depending on time, surge hours, events, traffic, etc.


Greyhound and Megabus offer even more transportation options. Be mindful of your surroundings especially if you’re taking the bus at night. The bus station is located right outside MIA as well.


In The City…


Miami Trolley is a free trolley that offers routes all over the city including into Miami Beach. Service is continuous in most routes from morning to night with a few more limited hours on the weekends. 


If you want to neighborhood hop the trolley is a great option. Drop-offs are scattered along many popular tourist spots and allow you to explore by foot from there. Trolleys typically pick up every 15 minutes but some routes are a little longer up and your wait can be up to 45 minutes. For full routes and hours refer to the official website.


The Metro Mover also offers free transportation connecting three different loops and is elevated above the city which offers a scenic view. 


Other affordable options are the Metrorail and Metrobus with one-way tickets for $2.25.


Pro Tips


There are many transportation apps available to make your commute easier that offer live arrival updates and route information such as GO Miami-Dade Transit.


Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft often offer sign-up discounts or discount codes. Make sure to check the pricing on both of them before booking your car to ensure you've found the cheapest ride.


Budget Housing

Hostels


Hostels will always be a great option for the more adventurous solo traveler. Not only do they provide a bed and accommodations for much cheaper than a hotel (and sometimes even meals) but if you’re looking to branch out and meet new people, hostel communities are typically safe and welcoming. Hostels range drastically in price but plenty are available in the $20 - $80 a night range. A little patience and a lot of Google searches can find you a good rate but don't forget to read those reviews!


If you’re traveling as a group but still love the community that a hostel offers, call and see if there are any options to have your group all in the same room. If you're a little nervous about shared capacities many hostels offer solo rooms but with this privacy comes a price tag.


Use your best instinct and make sure not to share too much private information while staying in shared quarters. As always keep your valuables close by and don't flaunt expensive possessions or cash. 


I've had good experiences at the following hostels:


Bed N’ Drinks: Located in the city center of South Beach near a plethora of nightclubs and bars


Freehand Miami: Only a five-minute walk to Miami Beach with public transportation located less than a block away as well


Hostels in Miami- Freehand Miami
Freehand Miami

Miami Beach International Hostel: One block away from the world-famous Ocean Drive and South Beach 


An affordable hotel or Airbnb is a lot more difficult to find in Miami if you're traveling solo especially. Unfortunately, you'll have to move further away from the beach and touristy neighborhoods to snag the better deals. If you choose to stay further out, be aware of what public transport is available nearby. It isn't worth saving a buck on the hotel if you end up spending the same amount on transport in and out every day.


Affordable Food Options

As if the beaches and sunshine weren't enough to convince you to visit, the mouth-watering food options all over Miami might just seal the deal. Known for its cultural influence make sure to try at least one Cuban sandwich before the end of your stay.


Some of my favorite eats...


Smorgasburg


As the largest open-air food market in America Smorgasburg is home to incredible aromas from every culture. Located in the heart of Wynwood every Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm-9 pm you will be able to find a perfect delicacy for every member of your group. Prices range depending on the vendor but generous portion sizes will leave you feeling satisfied. 


Versailles 


If you’re looking for some authentic Cuban cuisine without paying a Miami price tag make sure to make dinner plans at Versailles. 


Entrees are very reasonably priced with many options under $20. I recommend trying the classic Cuban sandwich. You won’t be disappointed!


Puerto Sagua


Open since 1962 Puerto Sagua has hearty portions of Cuban cuisine and a lively atmosphere with speedy service! A great late night option and potentially in the running for the best Cuban sandwich in Miami in our opinion!


Freehold Miami


If a boozy brunch is on the schedule for the weekend there are lots of options throughout Miami but if you plan on drinking more than one drink the price sure can skyrocket. Many restaurants do offer a bottomless brunch priced typically from $30 - $50 on top of the cost of the entree.


Freehold Miami located in the heart of Wynwood has three different bars and lots of live events throughout the weekends as well making it a lively brunch spot! Expect to pay $40 for bottomless drinks such as mimosas, bellinis, and bloody marys.


Unless you're going to the liquor store, alcohol IS NOT cheap in Miami. Keep an eye out for happy hour specials often ranging from 3:00 to as late as 7:00


Street food at Smorgasburg Wynwood Miami
Flaming Hot Cheetos Street Corn and Seafood Paella at Smorgasburg

Cheap Things To See and Do

Miami is full of unique neighborhoods. There are paid tours and tour buses available but especially if it's your first time in Miami there is plenty to explore for free on foot.


Wynwood is known as the art district of Miami. Your eyes won’t even know what to look at first as everything from the sidewalks to the walls of the buildings is covered in vibrant color, graffiti, and art of all styles. 


If you have some time buy a ticket to the famous Wynwood Walls. Tickets are only $12 for adults and even cheaper if you have a student ID. The museum is known for its street art and often has rotating exhibits inside. 


Beaches in Miami are all free to the public. That includes the famous Miami Beach and South Beach. Be respectful and make sure to clean up your areas and not leave any trash behind. Although tempting to do a night walk, the beaches can be a bit more dangerous once the sun goes down so if you plan on walking alongside the moon consider taking a friend.


If you haven’t gotten your passport yet but still want to experience a little piece of Cuba, make sure to visit Little Havana. You can swing through Domino Park and watch lively games played at all hours of the day. You’ll find cigar shops, restaurants, shops, and almost always live music. 


Sunset on Miami Beach
Watching the sun set over Miami beach

Night Life 


As the sun sets and you’re looking to change from your swimwear to sequins make sure to check out the famous Ocean Drive. Although some clubs have expensive covers, others are responsibly priced or even free- Be careful though because tequila shots, on the other hand, are not!


Clevelander Beach Club - The hotel/bar sits right in the middle of Ocean Drive and is the heart of the party scene in Miami. There is a $10 cover charge on Friday and Saturday with lots of seating inside and out. Expect a security search and bring a small bag. If you want to catch a game on the weekend, TV's inside and outside cover all your Sunday fun. A pool and big dance floor with live DJs keep the bar popular as the evening goes on.


Mango’s Tropical Cafe - Even though the cover charge is a bit higher ranging from $15-$30 it is well worth the ticket. The nightclub has multiple dance floors, some with more traditional Latin-styled dance and some hosting a dark dance floor and lasers.


Mango's is known for its live shows with talented dancers covered in sequins, glitter, and colors dancing all up and down the bar tops.


 

It is no secret that the city known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beach bodies and drool-worthy food scene is not easy on the wallet. However, just like every other city, with a little planning and a few tips and tricks, you can discover Miami on a budget.


For more budget travel advice and city guides sent directly to your inbox subscribe now! Don't forget to share this article with a friend you want to take to Miami with you soon!


Sending sunshine from Miami,


Love Kaitlyn

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