Out of all the trips Selena and I had in 2017 this was the only family obligated trip. At first, it was actually was an optional trip, but Selena reminded me we should always make an effort to see family and friends. Good thing we did because not only did we find a great flight to Fort Lauderdale in August for October; but I also received a call from my cousin who then asked for me to be the officiant for her wedding. Of course, I did I would, which could then made it impossible to back out.
While I didn’t think it was possible we’d be able to afford it, Selena set the plan in motion to ensure we got to our destination and to do it under $500 total. Under normal circumstances, this is an easy task, but I had just started a new job and had no time off, and it was only a month away.
Usually, we like to watch a flight and book it months in advance to track a flight. Instead, we had to look at the current prices, estimate a drop if any, and hope we could match our cheap flight to Fort Lauderdale. In the meantime, we focused on other aspects of the trip.
Accommodations and car rental
Things like car rental and housing typically stay around the same amount so we were sure to book those quickly. Selena is an Airbnb wizard and I am a rental car Sorcerer. With our powers combined, we managed to get the car and place to stay for $229 (half way there with room to spare).
Flights (Part 2)
The return flight, however, was still a challenge at this point, and it didn’t look like we were going to be able to stay within our budget. So we reverse engineered our trip and looked up airlines and flights out of West Palm and Fort Lauderdale to other airports around our home. Finally, we found a Frontier Airlines flight from West Palm Beach to Long Island, NY for about $50. With a little more investigative work we figured out trains and buses that would get us home. When it was all said and done we wound up finding our roundtrip tickets for a grand total of $200 (for two RT tickets), making our trip total $429.00!
Now I know a lot of you might be reading this and wondering how we got from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach and from Long Island, NY to our home. Full disclosure, we took a train and a bus for a two-hour trip home from Long Island, NY and my brother and mother took a road trip to Fort Lauderdale to pick up Selena and me upon our arrival. Without this help, I am not sure how we would’ve gotten to our Airbnb. Better said, it would have been really difficult to make this trip happen without having a help from everyone involved. This also took away a lot of the stress of figuring out things like the car rental place being closed by the time we landed.
We also had the added benefit of getting to Newark airport extremely early by a slew of fortunate express buses and trains. As a result, we had a full 4 hours before our flight’s departure. We decided to grab a snack and wait when I was struck with an ingenious idea: Ask to get on an earlier flight. And that we did. First, we confirmed the earlier flight we saw heading to Fort Lauderdale had available seats. Then we asked if we could change our flight as we were heading to the same location on the same airline. The woman at the desk asked to see our present boarding passes for the later flight and our IDs, and then proceeded to print out of new boarding passes and told us to have a lovely flight! We did it!!! Thanks JetBlue.
We called my mother and brother, who had already decided to pick us up at the FLL airport that we would be arriving earlier. We sat in our newly assigned seats and off we went to the Orange state. While aboard our JetBlue flight we were treated to free WiFi and the Spiderman: Homecoming movie which neither Selena nor I had seen yet. So this was a real treat as we munched on our complimentary blue chips and seltzer. All and all it was a smooth flight and we arrived at the earlier time, on time.
The next morning took an Uber to our rental car. In a rush to get out of the lot I accidentally signed up for prepaid gas (an unneeded expense considering the short duration of our trip, and the limited range of our journey). In the end, the overall cost was still within our budget (see earlier total above). From Enterprise we made our way to my brother’s hotel to pick him up for some brunch because “hipster” is a lifestyle best served with avocado toast. Our last trip to West Palm Beach we found some trendy restaurants downtown that had since closed as landlords tried to capitalize on the new found fame of the area. Luckily we found the little known to us chain Rocco’s Tacos. The number one moment of our excursion to this restaurant had to be when one of the servers made guacamole fresh, right in front of us. However, Selena’s avocado toast was somehow lacking avocado (go figure).
The wedding went flawlessly and my perfect record of marriages continue on. This followed with some pictures, dancing, drinking, and food. This is where a Caribbean family shines. No matter the issues of the day, when we all get together for a celebration that is the only thing we focus on. Now there was supposed to be an after party of sorts once we left the hall. Unfortunately, this was spontaneous and not well coordinated. So after Selena and I finally found the Bride and Groom they were already heading home for bed.
The next morning we stopped at another one of our favorite little-known chains, First Watch. This was Selena’s second attempt in the search for good avocado toast. This time was a bit better and we even had pumpkin pancakes! After a lovely meal, we bid the family farewell, dropped off our rental car, and road the shuttle bus to the West Palm Beach airport. This departure was our Frontier Airlines flight and ended up being delayed by an hour. We used this time to record some footage, show off our packing skills by placing our bags in the restrictive bins, and of course, to drink cocktails. Our review: The Frontier seats aren’t the most comfortable, they do charge for everything including bottled water, but the staff was friendly and we arrived safely. For a discount airline, I think they did their job, and we would be happy to fly with them again if we needed to save a few dollars.
We arrived at the Long Island airport and while we were close to home, we still needed to take a taxi, train, and a bus to get home. As far as the Long Island’s airport goes: it was the middle of the night on a Sunday and most things were closed, but it was a relatively small airport comparative to the 3 we flew in or out of (Newark [EWR], Fort Lauderdale [FLL], and West Palm Beach [PBI] for those keeping track) to get to this point. All and all it was a lovely little adventure and we got to make some memories along the way. We also leveled up on our packing skills, and our upgrade travel negotiating (see JetBlue flight). Have you been to West Palm Beach? Have you flown on Frontier or another discount airline? What has your experience been? Feel free to share any tips and experiences with our fellow adventurers! Until next time, we’ll see you in the city!