Miami Travel Guide

What can I say about Miami that hasn’t already been covered? Miami is one of those places that if you’re into splashing the cash in a swanky bar or chilling out on the beach, then you’ve probably got it on your list of places to go. But, there’s so much more to Miami than bars and the beach. How do I know? Because we did it.

miami travel guide where to stay and what to do

What can I say about Miami that hasn’t already been covered? Miami is one of those places that if you’re into splashing the cash in a swanky bar or chilling out on the beach, then you’ve probably got it on your list of places to go. But, there’s so much more to Miami than bars and the beach. How do I know? Because we did it.

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Although I wanted to visit South Beach and Little Havana, we actually didn’t even make it there in our 24-hour visit to Miami. But, even with missing the biggest tourist spots in Miami, I don’t feel like we missed out at all, in fact, I feel like we saw the real Miami. The Miami not everybody gets to discover. Plus, it gives us a reason to return and check off more on my Miami Bucket List!


Quick Guide:

Time Zone: GMT – 4

Plug Socket: USA socket, 120 V and 60 Hz

Currency: American Dollars

Language: English (American) and Spanish is widely spoken.

Climate: December until May are usually warm, dry and peak season for travelling. June to September is very hot and humid. Hurricanes are likely between June to November.

How long a stay: 2 nights if travelling around the state of Florida. You could very easily spend a week on holiday in the city of Miami with day trips to other areas of Florida.

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Where to stay: Avoiding the Miami Beach area, we stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Brickell.  50 SW 12th St, Miami, FL 33130, USA. Located in a beautiful area with good, free public transport to Biscayne Bay, it gives you the chance to relax at a luxury hotel which boasts a perfect rooftop pool, quality bar and exceptional breakfast offerings.

view from floor 16 miami brickell hampton inn and suites hilton

If you get the chance to stay in a suite on the Elite Levels, we stayed on floor 16, then for sure do it! You’ll live like luxury whilst you’re staying. The rooms are spacious with amazing views of Miami. You really do feel VIP when you scan your room key and have the option to press “Elite Floor” in the elevator. Plus, it means there aren’t many people wandering around on your floor, so you sleep like a baby! Speaking of which, the beds are super comfy, the bathroom is spacious and stocked with all quality Neutrogena products. There are also snacks to eat your way through in the room.

Budget: Miami is one of the most desirable places to stay in the US making it not a budget location. However, we stayed in the Hampton Inn & Suites for just over $200 for the room.

How to get there: Flights are available from all major UK airports, we chose to fly into JFK in NYC and then fly down to Fort Lauderdale where we hired our car and then drove to Miami. This worked out as we were planning to visit NYC, Orlando, Miami and Clearwater. You can fly direct into Miami International Airport. Flight time from London to Miami is 9 hours 50 minutes. Fly with Norweigan Air or British Airways if you’re after a direct flight. Peak season, flights can be around £600 return per person.


 

24 hours in Miami

Evening:

rooftop pool 24 hours miami hilton brickell

After arriving fairly late into Miami, we checked into the swanky and modern Hampton Inn and Suites in Brickell. The hotel had a secure car park which carries an additional cost of $28 for the night, or $40 if you’re after the valet parking.

bar at hampton inn and suites brickell

We went down to the bar to have our complimentary drink and then to the rooftop pool, which is open 24 hours a day. Surrounded by Miami high-rise buildings, you feel like you’re in the midst of the action, but watching it from a distance. Feeling so in the centre, but so far removed, the clash of sky rise buildings combining with the quiet and tranquil is such a surreal moment.

The hotel offers a shop behind the reception, and due to our late arrival, we decided to grab a microwave pizza and a mountain dew to share in the room. The reception is able to microwave the food for you, but we had a microwave in the room. The prices were as you would expect in a hotel.

Morning:

rooftop pool miami brickell hampt

We headed down for breakfast around 9:00 which is one of the busiest times. Although it was hectic, there was still a stream of tables becoming available. Breakfast was hearty with ample choice. I had a coffee and American waffles with maple sauce and fruit. They were definitely the best waffles I had whilst in the states, beating NYC and Orlando by a mile.

We took a walk around the area of Brickell and towards the Biscayne Bay area. The area has a few bars, restaurants and cafe’s scattered around so it’s worth popping into a few.

Afternoon

view from public transport miami

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We took the free public transport to Biscayne Bay. The stop is conveniently located around  2 minutes walk to the left when you exit the hotel. Taking around 15 minutes to get to Biscayne Bay, it gets you into the heart of the action quickly.

view from boat at biscayne bay

The area is filled with bars, restaurants and excursions so get yourself settled in and book an excursion if you haven’t already.

celebrity boat tour miami

Spend the afternoon lazying on the water taking in the sights of Miami. We booked onto a celebrity houses sightseeing boat which was both interesting and enjoyable. You’ll be on an interactive boat seeing the houses of the stars, like Justin Bieber, Will Smith, Ricky Martin and even the mansion of the infamous Al Capone, which is currently on sale for a whopping $14.9 million.

If you’re not into boat rides, why not have a go on a stand-up paddle-board or a kayak on the bay? If you prefer your feet firmly on solid ground then you’ll be pleased to know Bayside Marketplace at Biscayne Bay also boats a fabulous shopping experience. You’ll find Victoria’s Secret, Hard Rock Cafe amongst others.

Evening:

getting coffee to go in miami

We started our journey over to Orlando, so it was time for us to leave Miami. The hotel offers coffee and tea throughout the day, so be sure to get one to go when you’re jetting off.

If you’re lucky enough to have some more time, then definitely head to South Beach and Little Havana and the Wynwood walls. There are plenty of eateries available around Miami, so whether you’re looking for tapas, American cuisine or something else, you’re sure to find it.


What else can I do in Miami?

When I return to Miami, because I know for certain we’ll be back, I’ve already got a plan of what we’re going to do. In case you’re after some Miami bucket list inspiration, here’s what we’ll get up to in Miami, Florida:

  • Check out the graffiti at Wynwood Walls.
  • Visit Miami beach – located outside of the municipality of Miami on an island.
  • Take in the sights at the Art Deco District.
  • Visit The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
  • Eat dinner and soak up the Latin culture in Little Havana
  • Watch Miami Heat play an NBA game
  • Swim in the Venetial Pool.

 

We loved visiting Miami, Florida, even if it was just for a short time. It was one of my favourite places that we visited whilst in the USA this summer. I’d definitely recommend going for a couple of nights!

Hasta luego,

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The Ultimate Travellers Backpack – Kånken Backpack Review*

In 1978, Fjällräven, a company based in Sweden, launched the rectangular two strap alternative to the common over-the-shoulder school bags. Their goal? To prevent back problems from developing at an early age.

Now, Kånken has straightened backs across the world and has become one of Fjällräven’s most beloved products. It’s perfect for daily commutes and travelling.

Comfort is Key

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Comfort is one of the key aspects to me and why Kånken just stands out as being the ultimate traveller’s backpack. A lot of us are carrying around heaps of things, day in, day out, unknowingly to us adding excess strain and long-term damage to our back, neck and shoulders. How often do we throw a backpack on and it’s filled with equipment, phones, snacks, money, keys and all the rest? It all adds to the weight. The backpack then sits in the incorrect position and without us even knowing, it’s causing damage.

Kånken’s feel so much more comfortable than previous backpacks I have had. I have already noticed a difference in not only reduced lower back pain but also better posture!

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The straps of the Kånken backpack are thin, which removes that impression of a “child’s backpack”. But, what’s so great about them, is they really are suitable for the whole family. Back to School bag? Kånken is perfect. Going travelling? Kånken in perfect. They are so versatile which is what I prioritise with a bag.

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I had reservations in the past that Kånken backpacks may dig into my shoulders or cause pain due to the thinner straps, but, once I tried it on, all of those concerns disappeared. The weight is so evenly distributed and it just makes for an all-around great backpack.

Dimensions x Dimensions

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A practically perfect size, the Kånken backpack easily holds an iPad, A4 writing pads, a water bottle, compact umbrella, purse, headphones, and lunch, which still leaves room to add in extras. Pieces from the Kånken Essentials pack also fit comfortably inside.

I was always concerned with backpacks, especially if I’m planning to travel in a busy metro or bus whilst travelling. However, the Kånken backpack has a slim, minute profile so whilst walking in crowded places or standing on a busy tram, there are fewer concerns about accidentally knocking somebody like you would with a big bulky backpack.

Depth: 13 cm
Height: 38 cm
Width: 27 cm
Volume: 16 L
Weight: 300 g
Material: Vinylon F

Colour the Rainbow

Colours don’t belong in just nature, neither are they reserved for rainbows, butterflies, and children. In fact, Kånken comes in 54 colours, six sizes, and three material versions. That’s right, you’re guaranteed to find a colour you love.

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I chose my Kånken in Space Grey. I thought it would be a great colour that would just get better with age. The more worn it looks, the more Nordic and loved it will look.

In a Material World

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I couldn’t think of anything punny that pulled the right threads for a material title, so I went for Madonna lyrics (see what I did there?). The material is hard-wearing and lightweight that has the ability to withstand dirt.  Concerned about your Kånken getting ruined in the rain? Worry no more. The Vinylon material is water resistant to the rain.

What’s the Kånken Essentials Kit?

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I was thrilled when Kånken asked me if I’d like to give their Essentials Kit a whirl. When they say Essentials, they really do mean it! The products that are included are equally suited for days out, hikes and travelling long-term.

The Kånken Essentials purse was a great addition. I’ve been looking for ways to carry my own travel documents and money. I didn’t want to use my daily purse, I wanted one specifically for travelling, but the ones I were looking at were either too bulky, too small or not long-lasting. It seemed counteractive to purchase a purse that didn’t look very… me. Whereas the Kånken purse carries my travel documentation safely and keeps my money separate whilst still being a well-loved style that suits my personality and likes.

Another great addition to the Kånken essentials kit is the Kånken Cooler Bag, which I don’t yet have but intend to get. The inside comes with a zip pocket that can fit a soft ice pack (not included) that is ideal for long walks in the mountains. It’d be fantastic for packing up drinks and food for a picnic on the way. It’s a soft cooler bag that has the same well-loved design and features of the Kånken backpack so they would match well. I’ll be getting one of these on payday!

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Kånken Toiletry Bag, this is one that I have been loving. There are several pockets both with zips and open that make organising toiletries easy. It fits well into the Kånken backpack and is ideal for keeping shampoos, conditioners, and makeup altogether instead of scattered across separate bags. Yep, I used to do that. It comes with a handle too which makes carrying and hanging easy. It’s perfect for travelling now the new policy allows you to pack liquids in your checked-in hand luggage suitcase. Känken were also kind enough to send me a rustic complimentary yellow keyring.

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Why I Love the Kånken Backpack

Aesthetically pleasing yet functional, the Kånken backpack has a fantastic design. If you’re not familiar with how they are designed, it’s a squared-off style bag, which definitely captures the Nordic origin.

kånken backpack in moraira cavalier king charles spaniel

I am in love with the style and colour of my Kånken backpack and I adore the matching essential kit pieces. I have used the toiletry bag the most frequently. But, saying that, the purse is functional when it’s needed whilst travelling and the keyring is super cute!

Mountains kanken backpack adventure girl lake

I am really loving the name label that is located inside the Kånken products. They just make it feel more yours. Kånken allows you to express yourself and be yourself whilst making you feel part of something much bigger.

If you’re thinking about investing in a Kånken backpack, I would urge you to go for it. They’re practical yet beautiful. With a reflective logo on the front too, they provide that element of safety too.

Kånken: For those who love to explore. 

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I was gifted all of the products mentioned above, however, this is no way alters my views. I reached out to Fjällräven due to loving their products.
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