Five days in the Florida Keys for under $1000

by Kayla Urban

You’d think I have a ton of friends since I seem to be traveling often to see them get married. However, that’s not really the case. My friend, Anna, always has done everything big and beautifully so when I got an invite to her wedding in Key Largo, Florida I had already packed my bags.

Flights, Car, Lodging

My boyfriend and I spent a total of four nights and five days in the Keys before her Saturday wedding. Our trip was under $1000.00 and here is how we did it.

We booked flights on United for $235 each.  We traveled from Thursday to Tuesday, from Milwaukee to Fort Lauderdale.  Fort Lauderdale is a 2.5 hour drive away from Key Largo.

Our car rental, from, was only $18 a day.

The tricky part was finding lodging to stay within  our $1000 budget.

The bride was nice enough to block rooms at  the Holiday Inn in Key Largo, FL.  Those rooms were  $120/night so we spent two nights there. But we also spent two nights in Key West. Due to our budget, we chose to roll the dice on Hotwire’s hidden deals and book an unseen hotel due to pricing. We got the Banana Bay Resort for $100/night. With Hotwire hidden deals you get to see the star rating and pricing of a hotel or motel, but you do not get to know the name or view that actual reviews. It’s a roll of the dice if it fits your budget and the star rating doesn’t scare you away.

View from the banana bay resort.

Most days we found ourselves walking around or sitting on the beach enjoying sun. However, we did do a few activities worth noting in Key West.  

Key West

Our time in Key Largo was largely spent waiting on the wedding and then recovering from the wedding therefore I will dive into our two day adventure in Key West. We explored the beach and all the great food on Duval Street, and also checked out Fisherman’s Cafe for some amazing mac and cheese and music.  


Ice Cream.

After that we took a stroll through the Butterfly Nursery and listened to some educational facts about the lifespan of a butterfly. Our last day was spent snorkeling.  For about $40 per person we got to get out on the ocean on a beautiful boat, but it was well worth the time and learning experience. First timers for both me and my boyfriend Ben.


Butterfly Nursery.

Butterfly life cycle.

Even though this was a short vacation compared to Italy, any time I can soak up the sun and away from Wisconsin’s cold, harsh winter weather, I take it as a win.


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