One of my friends in currently travelling all over America and parts of the Caribbean, so given that I had some internship money saved up and a lot of time to spare, I decided to join her on the Miami leg of her trip and drag one of our other friends along with me. We booked via STA Travel (which I’d definitely recommend to students and under 25s – we managed to cut our flight prices almost in half). On the morning of June 11th, we flew out with virgin Atlantic on a 9 hour trip to Miami…
I purposely chose to fly with Virgin Atlantic as they are one of the airlines I trust the most. I’m not sure why, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve slowly turned into a nervous flyer. I haven’t had a flight over 5 hours in a good three years, let alone 9 hours – so it’s safe to say I was feeling very on edge. Virgin’s service was really quite fantastic though and other than 20 minutes of some pretty horrendous turbulence, we had a smooth flight to the states. America is absolutely massive, so if you’re going to Miami, I’d recommend you stay on South Beach. Within Miami there’s a ‘downtown’ area and I believe even a ‘North beach’ area (which sounds close to South Beach but can actually be up to a half hour drive away), but South Beach is definitely the most touristy area, and definitely an area you can feel safe in. The downside to it being touristy is that it’s very expensive – but given the location, the activities and the restaurants, that is to be expected. We stayed in the Townhouse hotel which was so cheap given what it provided – a 2 minute walk from the beach, free breakfast, beach towels and always available water for all those staying with them.
Unfortunately when we first landed in Miami we were greeted with messages from friends and family telling us to be careful on nights out due to the absolutely horrid Orlando shooting. It definitely scared the crap out of me and made settling into America and feeling safe take a bit longer than it would’ve otherwise. However, after a day or two, I felt a lot more comfortable exploring the town.
So… what is there to do in Miami? We spent a lot of our time in Miami just exploring, seeing what the town had to offer – and this included being tourists outside the Kardashian’s DASH store. We went out for dinner every night, and I can definitely attest to the food in Miami, in my opinion, being quite delicious (although, ridiculously overpriced). In America, you get absolutely humongous portions, I’d often finish dinner feeling like an absolute whale. Some of our nights were spent just chilling and chatting in a restaurant, bar or someone’s room, we also had two nights out. Clubbing in Miami is definitely different to clubbing in London – think Mayfair, but then times it by ten. It seems that for the most part, getting into a club is made hard if you don’t know a promoter (luckily, my friend knew some), or you aren’t willing to stand outside for an hour; and if you’re looking for a care-free Shoreditch type of night – that’s probably not really what you’re going to get in Miami. On the plus side, getting to dress up in heels and a dress is always something I enjoy doing.
We spent quite a few of our days down at the beach. There were tons of lounge chairs provided by different hotels so we just hopped on some of those, played some music, and dipped into the sea whenever we got too hot. I’m definitely excited to get some of that beach life back again when I fly off to Malta next week. We also spent some time riding bikes along the beach walk (which was a lot of fun), and forked out a bit of money for a Duck tour – an amazing tour that goes on land and in water. For a lot of the tour we were shown the homes of famous people that live a long Miami beach and probably own a good couple of yachts – definitely some motivation for the future.
The weather was forecast to be really rubbish with thunderstorms everyday, but it got revised in our favour everyday and we only end up caught in a storm once (well, the American version of a storm, which was a few minutes of heavy rain, versus 24 hours of rain in a storm in London). On the whole it was a really fun trip and I’ve already told my boyfriend that its definitely a place I need to go back to sometime soon with him. A visit to the states never disappoints, I’ve been to a few places in the states now and Miami (along with Orlando), are two of my favourite places to have visited (yep, I even love them more than New York…).