6 Budget Hacks for Trips to Miami

Panoramic view of Golden Beach, Miami, Florida.
jmsilva / Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’re planning a trip to Miami, whether it’s your first visit or one of many to the sunny city, keeping a few budget hacks under your belt will ensure your bank account is also happy by the end of your stay.

Enjoy extra savings during your Miami vacation with the help of these budget hacks.

Create Your Own Miami Beach Walking Tour

Miami Beach is a popular tourist attraction that offers sandy beaches, turquoise waters and a vibrant cultural scene to visitors. It can also be on the pricey side if you haven’t traveled there before. 

Becca Siegel, owner and travel blogger at HalfHalfTravel, has visited Miami many times over the years. Rather than pay someone else to act as your tour guide, Siegel recommends creating your own Miami Beach art deco walking tour. 

Official Miami Beach tours range between $30 to $50, plus tips. Siegel said visitors may enjoy this type of excursion on their own with a guidebook purchased in advance or by visiting a website that outlines a walking route. This allows you to hit all the famous and historic art deco architecture sites of the city without paying steep tour fees.

Consider Intercity Bus Travel

Amid inflation and high gas prices, Miami tourists may wonder where they can save some extra cash that doesn’t involve renting a car and tallying up gas paid at the pump. Florencia Cirigliano, vice president of marketing and sales at RedCoach, is a Miami resident who recommends traveling via the luxury motorcoaches offered by RedCoach.

Make Your Money Work for You

Cirigliano said motorcoach rates are affordable and do not compromise comfort or convenience. If you’re arriving into Miami International Airport, you can be picked up by a RedCoach which then takes guests to 15 other Florida locations. It’s also affordable to utilize motorcoach travel with fares starting at $34.99 one-way.

Siegel also recommends the Miami transit system for those who would like to forego the price of a car rental. Combine Miami’s bus or metro system with rideshares to avoid expensive car costs.

Determine What You Want To Do Before You Go

Similar to visiting any city, tourists heading to Miami should do a little research prior to their trip to figure out what they’d like to do and where they want to go. 

Cirigliano said there are many scenes in Miami, many of which are expensive or can easily get expensive. “I recommend North Miami Beach, Hollywood and Hallandale for a more relaxing or family-friendly environment,” said Cirigliano. “When it comes to lodging, those areas will be near budget-friendly hotels, Airbnbs, nice parks, museums or grocery stores.”

While some of these spots are a bit further North, Cirigliano said there are more opportunities to save on food and leisure activities when outside the city center. Tourists may decide to split the cost of a beach house or an Airbnb with friends and cook a few meals at home to avoid expensive restaurants or having to drive into town. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Eat Local

One clever budget hack is to skip dining out at sit-down restaurants with pricey menus and eat local instead. Siegel recommends heading to fast casual taquerias or Cuban joints where the food is excellent. If you still want the experience of going to a sit-down restaurant, consider dining out during happy hour when some of the menu items and drinks will be half the price.

Avoid ‘Big Size Drinks’

Kasia Kalemba, owner of travel blog Perfect Day Somewhere, visits Miami a couple of times each year. Kalemba said there’s a popular “money-saving” strategy on Ocean Drive where tourists strolling down the street may be convinced to stop by a restaurant and buy a buy-one-get-one gallon-sized drink. 

At first glance, it seems like a good deal if you’re traveling with a friend or partner. Why not share a large alcoholic beverage together and get the second for free? However, Kalemba said this isn’t actually a deal. The reality is the deal applies on a per-person basis — meaning your free drink only counts if you are the only person drinking the first one. 

“Each of these drinks costs between $40 to $50. The rule that gets omitted is that there is no sharing. You find that out when you get the bill,” said Kalemba.

Ultimately, what happens next is many tourists end up buying another drink and getting two drinks free but they have now spent around $100. Kalemba recommends avoiding any offers like these when you visit Miami and enjoy single drink, happy hour deals instead.

Make Your Money Work for You

Plan Your Visit During Weekdays

“Try making the trip to Miami during the week as a way to save money as most people make their visit on the weekends for the nightlife,” said Cirigliano. “Many travel and hospitality companies will adjust their pricing to account for this and you may be able to get a better deal on low traffic days.”

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