A Perfect Day in Key West 🌴

This past weekend, I decided to go on a quick weekend get-away to Key West. Living in Miami, KW is only short of a 4 hr drive. The drive down is actually smooth sailing if you encounter no traffic, and is actually so visually appealing! Once you drive past Miami, you’re stuck driving through all the small beautiful islands before you get to KW. We drove down pretty early in the morning and got to KW at around 9AM – our first stop was breakfast.

Just kidding, my first stop was to take a picture with the “Greetings from Key West” sign which just so happens to be on the side of a cute coffee cafe (can I get a hell yes for knocking out two birds with one picture? LOL).

We ordered the grilled cheese, turkey club, and a cafe con leche. I am not a coffee person AT ALL, shocker i know. My boyfriend is, and he really enjoyed the cafe. Parking is relatively cheap at around $1.50 per hour and in most parking lots $20 for 24 hours (which compared to south beach prices, is a steal).

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry because the island is so small you can walk most of it. We walked from Caroline St to the Southernmost point which are on complete opposite sides of the island, and it took us 30 minutes! If the heat overtakes you like it did us, you may want to use the Duval Loop instead of your own two feet to walk back. The Duval Loop is a bus system and is completely free! Walking around KW, I got major Charleston, SC vibes but on a much smaller scale. It’s friendly, quaint, and super cozy!

There are a ton of little shops in every corner where you’re able to buy souvenirs with all the quirky charm of KW.

Okay, so I have a small confession… Key West was uncomfortably HOT. Now, you’re probably thinking this girl lives in Miami, she should be used to it. Yes, that’s true but Miami hasn’t been THAT hot over the last couple of months. The heat completely took us by surprise but it definitely reassured us that we were on an island.

I went on this trip a bit on a budget but wanting to do as much as I could while on the island. So as I was researching things to do for free, I ran across Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. They offer free tours at 1PM and 3PM with a free tasting of one of their housemade rums.

Now, if you don’t know much about Key West – it’s literally the southernmost city in the U.S.A, duh. Which means it’s super close to other caribbean countries especially CUBA. It is only 90 miles from Cuba, and still has heavy cuban influences on the island, from restaurants, statues, and even the locals.

As I was researching places to have dinner at, I ran across “Sloppy Joe’s Bar”, which is a staple in the community and a “tourist must”. I decided to check it out because the first time I visit a new place, I like to play a typical tourist. Now, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t ate a sloppy joe since probably middle school. Sloppy Joes are definitely a guilty pleasure of mine and the one at Sloppy Joe’s did not disappoint! Sloppy Joe’s also has more of a chill loungy feel with a band playing.

Not to mention, IT’S CHEAP 😉 

The time difference between these two photos was a total of 5 minutes, lol jk… but not really. Also, what’s a sloppy joe sandwich without a “sloppy rita” – which is their rendition of the margarita & with enough of those you’ll definitely be sloppy for the rest of the night!

To have a successful end of the day visiting Mallory Square for their sunset festival is a must. Watching the sunset at Mallory Square is incredibly beautiful and unlike anywhere else in Florida. If you walk around Mallory Square, you will come across magicians, psychics, tight-rope walkers, and everything in-between. These attractions will make your sunset viewing fun and festive, but the sunset definitely steals the show.

I mean….if you love island life and don’t have a passport or if you live in Florida and want a quick get away that doesn’t take too much effort? Key West should be your go to. It’s quirk and charm is more than enough to have me yearning to go back ASAP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Travel Apps of 2017

I’m back! This time I’m bringing you guys my top 5 travel apps of 2017, since ya know the year is already over. Time flies, right? It’s no secret that I love apps so narrowing down to just 5 for the ENTIRE year was difficult. I pretty much chose the most convenient and user-friendly apps for both new and experienced travelers.

 

1. Hotel Tonight: If you decide to go on a get away for the weekend then this app is perfect for you. I know that some people are not fully comfortable with the Airbnb idea even though I’m 100000% comfortable with it, so this app is for you. Hotel Tonight let’s you book up to 2 days in advance (correct me if I’m wrong) and shows you prices up to 50% off the original price per night. I used this app when we traveled from Barcelona to Madrid and I believe I paid around $65 USD a night for a 4-star hotel.

2. Hopper: Uh, favorite app ever. Hopper is a life saver and extremely convenient. Hopper tells you whether or not to buy your flight now or wait until it gets cheaper, YES you read that correctly. It’s crazy to think that an app would tell you to wait for a cheaper flight. Another great feature for Hopper is that it lets you check out the complete month to see what dates flights are more expensive or less expensive.

3. Google Translate: Okay, we all know about google translate. Simple, easy, and straight to the point. Well Google Translate has a really cool feature you may not know about. Let’s say you go to Italy and you have no clue on how to speak italian, read it, and much less write it. You’re at a restaurant for brunch and they don’t have menus in English, well with google translate thats not an issue. With the app open you are able to “download language” so you can choose any language you want. This way, you are able to use the language pack while your off wi-fi (aka you need this every time you are out of the country). Then, while your at brunch just open the app, turn the camera on, and VOILA.

4. Skyscanner: Skyscanner works a bit like Hopper but the difference is that you can visit it while on your desktop because it has an actual website as well. If you are flexible with your traveling dates you are able to choose “Whole Month” –> “Cheapest Month” and you can see dates/prices for up to a year. Red means more expensive and green means cheaper. Another cool feature on skyscanner allows you to type in “everywhere” so that you are able to see the cheapest destinations for the dates you choose to fly on.

5. Roomer: Somewhat like Hotel Tonight, except these are rooms that people sell themselves not the actual hotel, this means prices vary A LOT. People sell their rooms for various reasons like personal, family emergency, change of plans, etc. This means you are able to snag great deals at 5 star hotels if you dig deep enough. Functioning similar to Hotel Tonight, this app works best for last minute travel plans. A major plus to this app is that if you are ever in a situation that you can’t make your trip and can’t cancel your hotel room for a refund you can just sell it on Roomer.

I hope that these apps make your traveling plans and life a bit easier. To me it’s hard to narrow down the top travel apps but I felt like these have a lot of good usage and can help you out the most when you’re traveling. You can see my older post on my favorite travel apps here.

Peace Out! 

Montreal, Quebec!

French charm and Canadian pride fill this city up with an abundance of rich history. I got the chance to go to Montreal this past week on a work trip & me being the all things Canada lover – couldn’t resist! I’ve been to Canada twice before to Toronto so exploring a new Canadian city was definitely on the top of my list.

First things first, be prepared for French overload! Montreal is in Quebec which is the French province in Canada. Before my trip I was told that french was dying in the city and that I should not worry. They were clearly wrong. All signs were in French and everyone speaks French (unless I asked for help then they would speak it back). Yet, the people I encountered were super friendly so I had no issues with the language barrier.

I stayed in the Gay Village the first night and the rainbow street there is absolutely adorable! They have rainbow colored balls hanging down through St. Catherine’s street. The decorations make for a pretty great view as you’re walking down the street which by the way is filled with shops, cafes, restaurants, theaters, and convenient stores. West and east of the street you will find a more residential feel to the neighborhood, and not to mention the beautiful views that you can capture from my airbnb balcony!

Besides the Gay Village I decided to visit Old Montreal for it’s European feel and look. I got there by the metro (subway) which was only about a 10 minute ride from the Gay Village. Walking past Victoria Square I started noticing barricades, police cars, and a mass of people all piled up at Notre Dame Basilica. Apparently, May 17th is the founding date of Montreal – How cool! So some pretty important people (including Trudeau) were there speaking about I’m not too sure i’m assuming Montreal (sorry, it was in French!). I also managed to swing by a gift shop and buy souvenirs for myself :-).

We ended the night at a bar downtown called Apt. 200. My friend who I work for put together a cool event called “Seeing Sounds” which you can read all about if you follow us on social media via @NowNeverInc! Best tequila sours I’ve ever had and shout out to all the cool peeps who kept buying us shots!

Montreal was a good time and I’m sad that my time there was too short but I shall return!

PS: I ate Ketchup chips and I surprisingly thought they were decent!

Travel Tips: Download the Google Translate app, download the Montreal Metro Map app (this will come in handy when your trying to figure out what stop you should get off at as the metro doesn’t have a map inside the buses & the accent of the attendant is in heavy french), and remember that the US dollar weighs more than the Canadian dollar (currently) so a $15 uber ride is essentially a $11 uber ride!

Road Trip to Madrid!

Traveling to Barcelona, Spain for my birthday was one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a while, besides my 21st of course. Before and during my trip I wanted to get the most out of Spain and visit another city. My top two choices were Madrid and Valencia and while Valencia is beautiful and has a beachy vibe I couldn’t resist to visit the capital.

Home to the Spanish royal family and rich Spanish culture, Madrid does not fall short of an amazing city. We did a mini road trip to Madrid since it is 6 hours away from Barcelona. If you are going to drive any where in Spain make sure to ask the rental agency for a automatic car. Stick shift cars in Spain are the norm and it will cost a little extra to rent an automatic car. I would also suggest to make sure the car comes with a GPS since you most likely will not have wifi on your phone to use your maps app.

We left Barcelona at 8 am and got to Madrid around 2 pm. From the moment you drive into the city limits you feel the major difference from Barcelona. Madrid has a metropolitan feel with a splash of NYC. We got to the hotel (Occidental Madrid Este) which we booked via “hotel tonight” an awesome app that gives you the best last minute deals on hotels starting from tonight, tomorrow, and the day after and freshened up before hitting the streets.

We hopped on one of the tour buses and saw as much as we could in a day. We took the historical route of Madrid and made pit stops in:

  1. Plaza Mayor
  2. Palacio Real
  3. Gran Via 14,30, and 54
  4. Plaza de Espana
  5. Puerta del Sol

 


 

For dinner we stopped at Gino’s which is an Italian chain restaurant in Spain and is super good with cheap wine! After dinner we hit the town and checked out Shoko nightclub – it was Saturday night and they played Reggaeton with some older hip hop. One thing that I did notice is that clubs in Madrid are more strict than Barcelona so come dressed to impress.

All in all, Madrid was a spectacular city filled with history and awesome sights. I am very happy with our decision to visit while in Spain.