Are you planning a trip to Miami? Great news! This South Florida destination is fabulous.
The biggest town in Florida, with its beaches, bars, parks, museums and art galleries and natural sites Miami is a great destination for a vacation, pretty much any time of year. Whether you are looking to spend a weekend in Miami basking in the sun or are interested in a longer trip around Florida, and even if you are just having a layover in Miami (which is what happened to me on many occasions) you won’t be disappointed: this city has plenty to keep you busy.
But how should you go about planning your trip?
In this post, I will help you with tips for a perfect trip. You really don’t have to buy Miami vacation packages to have a great holiday!
Continue reading for more useful tips for your Miami trip.
6 Useful Tips For Planning A Trip To Miami
The best time to visit Miami
The first thing you need to consider when planning a trip to Miami is when is the best time to go.
I have good news for you: any time is a good time to go to Miami. Having said that, Florida, and especially Miami are amazing in the spring, before the temperatures become unbearably hot. It’s just the ideal weather to go to Miami beach and the perfect season for a Florida road trip.
Summer in Miami means really hot, at times unbearably hot temperatures. That’s why it is low season there. On a positive note, that means hardly having to fight for the best seat in the restaurant, or the best spot on the beach. So perhaps that may be a good time to plan your Miami trip.
Visiting Miami in the fall seems ideal: temperatures are pleasant again, still good to go to experience Miami beach, and a good mix of people visit the city.
Winter is said to be the perfect season to visit: while the rest of the US are freezing, the temperatures in Florida are mild, with the occasional cold-ish front.
All in all, I believe that visiting in October is actually the best idea.
Visa requirements for the United States
Unless you are visiting Florida from other places in the United States, you are likely required to need a Visa for your Miami trip. If you are coming from a European country, you will need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to travel to the United States, even for a simple layover. ESTA costs only $14 and lasts for a period of 2 years, and it can be easily obtained through the ESTA website, or via iVisa.
Make sure not to make my mistake and look into getting your visa before your Miami trip. Back in 2011, when I was on my way back from Mexico, I was meant to have a layover in Miami. I had not checked the small print at the bottom of my flight confirmation that said I’d be required to get an ESTA even just for transit.
The airline wouldn’t let me check in unless I got a visa and I had to spring my way around the airport looking for an internet point (wifi wasn’t a thing back then) to get my visa on the spot.
Cheap flights to Miami
Despite what many travel experts say, there are no real secrets to findings cheap flights. If you are planning your holidays in Miami, the key to finding cheap flights for your vacation is to be flexible on the dates and by all means to start planning well in advance.
You may want to subscribe to some newsletters or Facebook pages for travel hacks. I am a fan of Fly 4 Free and I get regular updates on the best offers. The key to nail a deal is to catch it as soon as it comes. Error fares or super cheap deals don’t stay on for a long time (quite the opposite, indeed). This is probably the best way to find cheap flights to Miami.
Other ways to find cheap tickets to Miami would include monitoring the airlines (Miami is the main hub for American Airlines) and actually ask a travel agent who, through powerful softwares such as Amadeus or Galileo, is likely to find many more deals than the regular traveler searching online. In fact, a good travel agent may be able to help you with other planning tips – but don’t say out loud I told you so!
How to get to Miami from the airport
Getting from Miami International Airport to the city and even the area of Miami beach is really easy. You can count on the Metrobus, the Metrorail, the Tri-Rail and the Miami beach bus, which all connect the city and the airport for fraction of the amount a taxi would cost, and avoiding the traffic. The services are regular, running from the early hours to late at night.
How to get around Miami
If you love walking as much as I do one you will be glad to know that Miami is a very walkable city. For longer distances, opt for the odd bus ride or, preferably, rent a bike. Walking or biking along Ocean Drive is a lot of fun, so definitely try that too! Uber is a good way to get around town.
In terms of public transportation, you have ample choice. Let me outline the main options below.
Metrorail and Metromover
There’s no subway in Miami, but you can count on Metrorail and Metromover.
The Metrorail runs until 11:00 pm during the week and until midnight at weekends. It serves 23 stations, including the airport, and a ride costs $2.25 – you will have to purchase a card from any vending machine at the station.
Metromover is pretty much the same thing, but only for downtown Miami. It is free.
The Metrobus is a bus system running a whopping 95 routes around Miami county. You can get pretty much anywhere with that but keep in mind the schedule can be irregular, buses late and if you need to get a connecting bus your trip may end up being longer than expected. So perhaps this is not a good idea for your trip to Miami in case you only have a few days there. A ride costs $2.25.
Miami and Miami Beach run a free trolley service between popular areas so as to connect passengers to Metrobus stops and Metrorail stations.
Where to stay in Miami
A city like Miami has no shortage of good hotels. Booking.com has some excellent Miami hotel choices. It’s just a matter of picking a good area to stay.
I know that most visitors head straight to South Beach, where there are bars and clubs galore, beautiful cafés and great restaurants, and the nightlife is amazing. But it looks like there are other fabulous hotels places to stay in Miami. Coconut Grove has some excellent hotels too.
Downtown Miami has recently become one of the trendiest areas in town, with new condos and shiny buildings, elegant restaurants, fun bars and clubs, museums and concert halls.
Yet, when I think of hotels where to stay in Miami, my mind goes straight to Miami Beach. This area has some of the best hotels (think Setai Miami Beach) and restaurants in the city; there are regular events; and Miamians love it.
Little Havana – just the name will resonate with you. You will realize how much of a Cuban influence there’s in Miami as soon as you land at the airport and hear everyone speaking perfect Spanish – not a common thing in the US! There’s a huge Cuban population in Miami.
Little Havana is among the best places to stay in Miami: it’s where the Cubans who fled Castro’s regime frocked to, and they ended up shaping the city into what it is today. It’s only in the last 10 years or so that Little Havana has become a more popular place to visit and stay in Miami, with some excellent hotels; but the choice of places to visit, stay and eat is very good nevertheless.
Brickell is one of the newest neighborhoods of Miami, packed with shiny, brand new buildings and giving a good idea of what Miami is shaping out to be. Brickell where to stay in Miami if you are looking for a more historic neighborhood, and you will find some great hotels too.
Are you planning a trip to the US? Make sure to read all my posts:
- 23 Unmissable Things To Do In Miami
- 15 Great Day Trips From Miami
- The Best Day Trip To Key West
- A Great Itinerary For 3 Days In San Francisco
- The 10 Best Places To Visit In California (That Aren’t Just Cities)
- 15 Unmissable Things To Do In California
- The Perfect Itinerary To See New York In 2 Days
- A Wonderful Itinerary For A Day In New York
- 35 Cool Things To Do In New York City
- A Complete Guide To Visiting The Statue Of Liberty
- A Great Itinerary For A Week In New York
- 5 Days In New York: An Easy To Follow New York Itinerary
- A Fabulous Itinerary For 3 Days In New York
- An Easy To Follow Itinerary For 4 Days In New York
- 10 Not To Miss Hikes Near Denver
- 12 Unmissable Things To Do In Yellowstone
- The 23 Best National Parks In USA