key-west

In June of this year, Mrs. YBC and I will be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. That means that we have now logged four years of a certain tradition that we agreed to shortly after our wedding: to get out of Beaver County and go somewhere warm for a week every winter!

Ever since we tied the knot back in 2012, we have taken a winter vacation to somewhere close to the Equator. It started with a trip to St. Lucia. Then we tried Jamaica. Then back to St. Lucia. But this year, we were looking for something where the travel would be a bit easier…and definitely wanted to avoid the hassle of passports and customs.

We decided that a week in Key West would be exactly what we were looking for this year, and after experiencing the southernmost city for myself first-hand, I can definitely say that this is an awesome option for anyone looking to get away from the cold for a few days this winter.

Travel Made Easy

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One of the biggest reasons that we chose Key West is that we wouldn’t have any trouble getting there. First and foremost, it isn’t a foreign country…so no passports or customs to bother with.

In terms of actually getting there, we had two options. We could have flown right into Key West after connecting through somewhere like Miami. But after considering the price and time involved, it was actually cheaper and fast for us to take a direct flight into Miami, rent a car, and then drive down through the Keys.

We booked two direct flights from Pittsburgh to Miami for less than $200 each, and then rented a compact car that was only $115 for the week. So for just a little over $500, we had all of our transportation for the week covered.

Of course, anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m a sucker for a good upset. So we paid a little more to upgrade to first class on the flight down, and I was all about upgrading the rental car to a BMW convertible. 🙂

If you are debating these two options for yourself, take the drive through the Keys. It’s a beautiful ride that is way better than sitting in an airport.

Finding a Place to Stay

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My first effort into finding a place to stay was attempting to book a small studio apartment I found on AirBnB that was only $1,000 for the week. This sounded too good to be true, and it actually was because when I tried to book it the guy wanted to negotiate a totally different rental price outside of AirBnB. Shady.

After talking to a few Key West loving friends, we heard that a place called Key West Vacation Rentals was one of the best places to find a high quality rental on the island. We were able to find what appeared to be a really great studio rental that was about $2,000 for the week.

The rental that we booked turned out to be even better than we expected. It was located basically right at the corner of Truman and Duval, so we were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go all week. It was extremely clean, and the rental staff was all very friendly and professional.

They’ve got a ton of rental options and you can view them all and check the availability right from their website.

Having Fun on Duval

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Duval Street in Key West is known for being a major party destination. Well…Mr. And Mrs. YBC aren’t exactly big on the party scene, but we sure do like to kick back with a few cocktails and do a little people watching. We had an absolute blast walking up and down Duval and stopping off at all of the different bars and restaurants we found along the way.

We also made it out to the local beaches, road the trolley (like these beautiful trolleys for weddings) tour around the island, visited a treasure hunting museum, and spent a boatload of money on goofy souvenirs.

We actually didn’t have the best weather, but between the island atmosphere, all of the fantastic food and drinks, our cool car and adorable rental, and the fact that it was freezing cold here while we were gone, this is definitely a trip that was worth every penny.

If you are looking for a really fun way to get away from the cold this winter, we highly recommend heading to Key West for a week. Just mail us a piece of Key Lime Pie while you’re there!

Andrew is a professional freelance writer and lifelong resident of Beaver County. He created Your Beaver County to promote and showcase all of the positive aspects of our incredible local culture! You can find more of Andrew’s professional information at Brooklyn Content, or you can also follow him on his personal twitter account, @theAndrewSelby.