When we travel, we usually like to head out with some sort of idea of what we're going to do. We had a lot of ideas before we left for Florida, but we didn't really have a plan plotted out. We knew we were flying into Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday and we knew we'd stay the night there, but other than that, we didn't have any solid plans when we left Kansas City. I was a little nervous about that, but we decided to just be flexible and figure things out as we went.
I know that may sound stressful, but honestly, we really enjoy traveling with a loose itinerary. A nasty tropical storm arrived in Eastern Florida right in the middle of our trip, and because we weren't set in stone with hotel reservations and plans, we were able to drive to the other side of Florida and take advantage of the great beach weather over there.
For Every Wrong There’s a Right
We had a lot of things go wrong on this trip. At one point, Josh & I just looked at each other and laughed. I almost missed our flight out of Kansas City. Then our flight to Ft. Lauderdale from Tampa got delayed and we arrived in FLL at 1 am... with three little kids. We got bullied into upgrading our room at the hotel the first night. I got hives and Josh got strep throat. It rained.
Despite all of the things that went wrong, we had an amazing family vacation. We hiked in the Everglades, we biked, we canoed and took an airboat tour. Seriously, I think the Everglades National Park is one of the most amazing national parks in the country. It's just a beautiful park and there are so many ways to explore it. We always make the mistake of thinking we can tour a national or state park in half a day. We almost did that again on this trip, but I'm really glad we got to explore as much of the Everglades as we did.
Of course, we also loved the beach. I mean, who doesn't love the beach, right?! My kids feel at home when we're at the beach.... like they were born to run in the sand and splash in the waves. I wish we had found a better spot to go snorkeling, but honestly they had just as much fun wearing the goggles and swimming anyway.
Beach Travel on a Budget
It was really fun and interesting having a budget for this trip. Typically when we travel, we don't really worry about a budget. We are pretty frugal and travel a lot, so we have to keep our spending in check, but it was an interesting experience keeping track of our spending and trying to keep within a budget.
We ended up going slightly over budget, but we had some unexpected expenses like ponchos. Really though, I feel pretty shocked that we were able to squeeze so much adventure out of just $2,500 (OK, maybe a bit more…) Airfare alone was a big chunk of our budget, but I didn't think it was too difficult to have an abundance of fun on the cheap.
It’s easy to get into a habit of thinking that you have to take grand vacations and spend a small fortune in order to give your family a memorable experience, but what I've found is that kids are pretty easy to impress. We actually had every bit as much fun going to the beach and exploring the Everglades as we’ve had when we go on amusement park vacations and spend double the amount of money. I honestly can't wait until we can go back to Florida and explore even more of the Everglades. Maybe we'll finally make it down to Key West, since we didn't make it out there this trip. We're already dreaming up our next adventure. Until next time...