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Miami leaves wallet lighter, many memories
'Magic City' vacation worth investment
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:54 am
by Daniel J. Watson

I spent six days in Miami. Now my pockets are 6 feet under.

Words are my specialty, but money not so much. Now mind you this was my fourth trip to Miami Beach, but the first without my parents (wink, wink). So the sweet depot of cash that resides in my mother’s purse was no longer at my disposal.

I can show you how the “Magic City” made my money disappear: Abracadabra.

Of course, my parents didn’t make the trip for my senior spring break trip to South Beach, but my second family did. Six fraternity brothers and I piled into a rental van and embarked on what was supposed to be an 11-hour drive. But thanks to multiple bathroom stops, gas fill-ups and an extended dinner at KFC, the trip became a 13-hour one. Nevertheless, we finally made it to our destination, which turned out to be quite the bachelor pad.

(Per person): Van rental: $75. Room and board: $190.

This wasn’t too bad of a starting point. Every little fee would be split seven ways, so this trip will be a breeze, right?

Going into the trip we had no itinerary; we would just go with the flow. On day one we secured nosebleed seats at a Miami Heat basketball game. Dwayne Wade and company squared off against Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons. The arena was literally rocking. The Heat were wearing their new Vice City Jerseys, neon pink and blue. I tried to buy one at the arena store, but they are on backorder until July 1. Looking back, maybe that was a good thing – the jersey is at retail for $120. Following the game we checked out the Wynwood Art District, a trendy scene filled with shops, murals and midnight diners. I had the best Cuban sandwich that night. I can still taste the warm salami, ham, pickles, and Dijon mustard all pressed between two slices of thin bread.


Miami Heat ticket: $25.

Cuban sandwich meal: $21

From Sunday to Tuesday our routine remained the same: beach, sleep, and club. No matter how old I get, I have to feel the sand between my toes. I found myself still running away from the cold water. I guess it’s just the big kid in me.

South Beach at 3 in the afternoon is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Portable speakers created a party scene right there on the sand. There were so many people on either side of me I forgot I was standing on a beach. It literally looks like a battlefield. Except there are no opposing sides, impulsive decision-making is the best weapon and everyone is “fighting” in the name of spring break. As you could probably infer a midday nap was necessary to regenerate for a night on the town.

Cameo and VLIVE Miami were our go-to nightclubs; they are juggernauts. In Florida nightclubs don’t close until 5 o’clock in the morning, opposed to Charlotte night life which comes to a halt at 2 a.m.  

Beach lunch and drinks:

$50/per day

Cameo: $40/per night

VLIVE: $30/per night

Our hotel was about 15 minute drive from all the action, which translates to a 30-minute walk. Although we had the rental van, it was more efficient to Uber to most of our destinations due to the lack of parking. It was either Uber or get towed.

Florida tolls: $25.

Uber: $75/week.

Hotel parking: $25/person

Don’t get me wrong. This was by far the best trip I’ve been on. In terms of money, the word “no” just didn’t seem to enter my vocabulary. At the end of the day I spent nearly a week in one of the most sought-after destinations in the world with the people closest to me. Yeah, my pockets will hurt temporarily, but the memories are priceless.

Daniel Watson is a senior at UNC Charlotte.


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