Meeting People on Vacation
How to Make Friends and Influence Tourists
Traveling Solo in Miami
Plan, but Not too Much
On the ship, my cabin mate was an English guy who was taking his car over to Amsterdam. He offered to give me a ride into the city, and I found a hostel a short distance from the train station. There, I met a couple of French travelers. “If you make it to Paris, look us up!” they said. “We’ll show you around!” So Paris became my next destination, and they were excellent hosts. From there I met up briefly with a friend I knew from the US, and we ended up in Nice, after an impromptu bike trip through the Loire Valley. In Nice, I stayed in a pension and met a guy from Milan. He gave me a ride into Italy and told me I should see Florence. I scouted out pensions there and found an inexpensive place I could stay for a week. I got to see the Statue of David, the Uffizi Gallery, as well as the medieval splendor of Il Duomo, and the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge). From there, I went on to Rome, where I met some Israeli backpackers. After a week, it was off to Venice, and then a train to Munich, where I serendipitously discovered that I’d arrived just in time for Oktoberfest (who knew it was in September?)! Four months later, my savings depleted, I returned to the US, feeling about 40 years wiser. It ended up being one of the most dynamic experiences of my life. Likewise, when you plan your trip to South Florida, leave it open-ended. You never know where you could end up! Key West? The Bahamas? There is so much excitement just a short distance away.
Where to Stay
One of the best ways to make new friends on your journey is to be interested, rather than interesting. Often, we become overly concerned with impressing others with our accomplishments. But you’ll have more fun during your travels being an observer. Listen to the sights and sounds of the new places and people around you. Resist the urge to be a tourist. Try to see life through the eyes of the locals.
If you’re a woman traveling solo, when making new friends, it’s best to travel in groups You’re less likely to be taken advantage of by some of the more unsavory types. If you’re a guy, don’t think you’re immune from danger, either! Solo traveling guys are often targets of the club girls. They work with some unscrupulous establishments and will flirtatiously lure you in and help you run up a drink tab. And when the bill comes, you’ll see that it’s exaggerated by about 400%! So don’t let your libido overpower your common sense! Be wary of overly-friendly girls luring you into bars you’ve never heard of in the tour books.
When you experience life like a local, you’ll generally want to save the more upscale restaurants for special occasions. For everyday eating in Miami, you’ll want to experience one of the many Cuban markets scattered around town. Many serve hot, homestyle meals at very reasonable prices. Fresh juices are some of the staples you’ll find there. A couple of empanadas (meat pastries), a tall cup of pineapple-papaya juice and a cafecito (thimble-sized espresso) make the perfect start to a fun-filled day in the tropics! When you do decide to try one of the nicer restaurants, before shelling out the tip, make sure it isn’t already included on your bill. Many places pre-include it, due to the abundance of European travelers who are used to this custom.
Once you’ve experienced the beach, you’ll want to go a little further afield. A great way to familiarize yourself with the city is to take one of the city tours offered by this site. On rainy days, there are many museums to explore, such as the Holocaust Museum, the Wolfsonian, and the Bass Museum of Art. You may want to go to one of the local outlet malls, such as Sawgrass Mills, which you can get to via the Sawgrass Express van.. There is also Jungle Island, the Seaquarium, Monkey Jungle, the Miami Zoo, and a host of other possibilities! You might like to go kayaking, snorkeling, or jet-skiing, as well.
At night, many people like to try the clubbing scene. There are several popular places to go. Some of the most well-known venues include LIV, SET, Arkadia and Mynt. Nikki Beach is a great place to hang out. It’s the only club located right on the beach, and its combination of teepees and trance music give it a personality all its own.
Traveling Safely in Miami
Hopefully, I’ve given you a few useful ideas for your trip. If you have any specific questions that aren’t answered here, join our forum! It’s free, and there are lots of locals on hand to make your next visit to Miami an adventure you’ll treasure for a lifetime!
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