Want to go to Key West, but think it’s too expensive? Think again

I get it, going on vacation can be really expensive.  No matter the destination.  Key West is no exception.  But, with a little pre-planning, a trip to Key West on a budget is possible.


First off, what’s your budget?  You may have a total amount in mind, but break it down by day.  How much per day do you … can you… afford to spend.  That would include food, lodging, and fun activities.  I don’t include shopping for souvenirs in this.  I usually have this as a separate budget item.  This helps when you are looking for a place to stay since most places charge per night.

Pick a hotel that is at the lower end of your budget.  Honestly, you don’t spend a whole lot of time in the room, so don’t spend a lot on space you won’t be using.  Keep in mind the amenities offered.  These would include, free breakfast, a pool, parking onsite, and location to name a few.  I personally choose based on location.  I want to be within walking distance of all of the action.  This may cost a bit more, but I won’t be using cabs or waiting for shuttle vans to get me back to my hotel.

Go Off Season

During peak season, prices for hotel rooms will be higher.  So, if you can, plan to visit the offseason.  This usually starts around May and ends in September.  During this time, the hotel rates drop and the town becomes a little slower.  Another off time is right after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.  Key West is all decorated for the holidays and it looks … well magical.

During the summer months, you can catch great deals on rooms.  Some places even offer discounts as much as half off.  So, if you are flexible with your dates, check which days give you the best prices for your stay.

Attend Happy Hour

Well, of course, you are going to go to Happy Hour.  It’s Key West after all.  But, most places have specially priced drinks during happy hour.  Great way to save on drinks and… a lot of places offer a Happy Hour menu.  so, enjoy light bites and save on your food budget at the same time.  A few drinks at Happy Hour and a short stroll over to enjoy the sunset, a great way to enjoy an evening in Key West.  Still hungry?  Then head out to enjoy a great meal.

Plan one really good meal out per day.  That may be lunch or dinner.  Lunch is usually what we do, and then snack at Happy Hours for dinner.   This helps to keep the budget on track.  A light breakfast at the hotel (if included) and then a larger lunch and light appetizers for dinner is a pretty well balanced day.  But, leave room for a late night dessert.  You will want to grab an ice cream cone or a slice of fudge after walking around town I am sure.

Seek out Discounts

There is nothing wrong with finding a great deal. Be it on your hotel room or using those awesome free drink coupons you find at the airport or around town.  On our first visit, I felt weird using those tickets.  But, once I figured out how much they can save, well, I was all on board.  Not all of these coupons may line up with your favorite drinks.  Most of these are for well drinks, beer, and wine.  But, nonetheless, they can help offset a possible pricy Duval crawl.

Another option is to buy tickets to attractions and tours online.  There are many places where you can buy discounted tickets online and save.  A lot of these tickets are good for six months, so prebuy them.  This helps you budget your money while in Key West.  Your attraction tickets are already bought and … at a discount.  Same thing for tours.  Some tours offer discounts for booking online.

Bring Your Own

Stock your room with your favorite snacks and drinks.  If you have a refrigerator in your room, use it.  Fill it with water, drinks, and snacks. This helps to save money as well.  You can head over to Fausto’s or Publix to fill up your stash of goodies.  This is really helpful if your hotel doesn’t offer a free breakfast.  Plus, you can pick up stuff to prepare a pre-Happy Hour cocktail.  Yep… all about the food and cocktails while in Key West.. right?

Bottom Line

It’s expensive to go on vacation.  Hotel rooms are not cheap anymore, no matter where you want to go.  But, by doing a little research you can explore Key West, probably cheaper than you think.

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