Friday, September 7, 2018

Planning the Perfect Short Getaway in Florida

Sometimes you need a break but don’t have the time or budget for a big trip.  Short little getaways can be the perfect solution.  For me, the combination of sun and sand can really set me right in a short amount of time.  Making me feel like I’ve stepped into a tropical paradise even though I may only be a couple of hours from home.  All my stress seems to vanish when I’m sitting on the beach, eating fresh seafood and watching the world go by.  

I always look for specials and let that help determine where I will go.  I also travel off or shoulder season as much as possible, which helps to avoid the crowds and is less expensive.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that certain areas in Florida have low season during the summer.  Unless you are going to a major tourist attraction or large city a lot of the smaller towns have great deals when the “snowbirds” have gone back home.

This trip I decided on Fort Myers, Florida, a small town on the Gulf of Mexico.  I had heard good things about the area but had never been, so I decided it was time for a visit.  

I love going somewhere new, it always refreshes my love for travel and everything feels like an adventure. 

I check airfare and hotels at the same time to make sure that both will be in line with my schedule and budget.  Sometimes, I can find a great package that will provide both at a discounted price.  There are so many different resources on the internet that you can get lost in the maze, so I stick with one or two major travel sites like Expedia or Travelocity.  After making my selection I check online reviews for the area and hotel to make sure it will be to my liking.

The hotel I chose was very affordable, situated just 10 minutes from the beach and they had kitchen units, so I could cook my own food while I was there.  I like to go out occasionally when I travel but I don’t want it to be a requirement, so this was perfect.

I flew in late Thursday and was instantly charmed by the small, very friendly town.  

Getting to the hotel was very easy with 24-hour taxi service right outside the door.  I rarely rent a car when I’m out of town and much prefer to take public transportation whenever possible.  Also, talking to the driver you will get a lot of great local information.  They’ll tell you about things to see and do that you might not have found on your own.  The same goes for the hotel, they are a wealth of information about the area and are a fantastic resource.

Between the taxi ride and checking in at the hotel I found that not only was there a great place to buy fresh food right down the block but there were several places to eat and a shuttle that would take me directly to the beach. 

I had only been gone a few hours, but I felt like I was a world away. 

Anxious to get started, I woke early the next day and went downstairs for breakfast before heading out on my grand adventure.  I always like to take a little walk around where I am staying and familiarize myself with the area.  Also, I have made some fantastic discoveries, like a great little bakery right around the block.  So, I’m always eager to see what I might find.

Now it was time to find the bus stop for the beach shuttle.  Which was just as advertised, very close to the hotel and a full day schedule to and from so I could stay as long as I wanted.  The bus driver was happy to give me some great pointers on where the best stops were along the way.  Something that I found after so many years of traveling is not to plan too much.  You want to give yourself the time and luxury of letting things evolve. 

I got off at the stop recommended by the driver and was thrilled.  It was a beautiful little park at the edge of the water with almost no one there.  The gorgeous white sand beach was like powder with lots of beautiful seashells everywhere.  I walked down the beach to the pier and stopped by a waterfront café for lunch before heading back to the hotel.  

What a wonderful time I was having, and it was just the first day. 

This was exactly what I needed, something so relaxing and away from my daily routine and it was so easy to do.  Sometimes I forget just how great a short little getaway can really be.

Do you like short or longer trips?  Are you a planner or more spontaneous with your travel?  What type of environment is the most fun or relaxing for you?  Join the conversation and share your stories.

Happy Travels!

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