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8 Miami travel mistakes you should avoid

Want help planning your Miami vacation? Experts tell you which mistakes we make the most

An aerial view of the coast of Miami beach.
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If you have a Miami trip on your Bingo card for the year, you are among the over three million visitors who also have that idea. From gorgeous art museums to all-inclusive hotel experiences to the ridiculous nightlife, Miami has a well-earned reputation as an amazing vacation spot.

Before you book that flight, pack up the car, or even think about overstuffing your suitcase, there are a few things we all do wrong when it comes to making our way down to Miami. With the help of a few veteran experts, know what mistakes to skip to make your time more enjoyable.

A view of a crowd at Miami Beach.
Marc Fanelli-Isla/Unsplash

It all starts before you leave

We all know packing for trips brings on the anxiety. We either pack way too much (why do we always bring double the amount of underwear needed?) or forget to bring our toothbrush.

Don’t leave your skin out to burn

Justin Albertynas, CEO at RatePunk, knows we pack all wrong. Yes, bring your swimwear, but he wants us all to remember to bring “biodegradable sunscreen and a hat to shield your face and head.” Nothing screams “tourist” like those first-day burns for all to see.

Don’t be afraid to spice up the wardrobe

Miami is all about being bright, so don’t stick out by wearing muted colors. Public Relations Manager and Media Relations Director at Simply Be Agency Hollie Boodram knows the local style, as she is a Miami transplant herself. While you don’t need to bring your whole closet, she says to opt for “bright colors, clothes for dinner, going out, and lots of beach options,” so you’re prepared for whatever activities you’ll do.

We all want to wear our new outfits and show off our style, but don’t make your feet hate you. Albertynas has a great reminder to bring those “comfortable walking shoes,” so you aren’t limping on blistered feet by day two.

Don’t bring everything from home

Travel Advisor and Product Manager at BusinessClass.com, Adeel Khan, says one of the biggest no-nos he sees is trying to bring it all. Everyone wants to be prepared on vacation, but things like a sun umbrella and beach chairs are a pain to lug back and forth. Khan urges us to “consider renting them on the beach to save space and money,” then you won’t even need to make room for that stuff in your car if you’re driving.

People riding bikes and walking along Miami Beach.
Juan Rojas/Unsplash

Know when to go

This one depends on what you’re looking for in your Miami trip, but research what’s going on when you’d like to go.

Don’t let the weather surprise you

Everyone wants their Miami travel to happen in the summer, but June to August are not great months for a visit. All of the experts agree that those months are too humid, too hot, and will make most people miserable if they aren’t used to it.

Not only will the sun get you, but you have to think about hurricane season. Albertynas feels people forget Miami sees hurricanes from June all the way through to September. We know that puts a damper on plans, but you don’t want to be stuck in the hotel the whole time, or possibly having to evacuate. Remember, safety first.

Don’t be clueless about events

There will be so many things to do in Miami. Boodlam knows you’ll be able to find something to do or an event to go to, no matter what week it is. But Hollie says it’s best to look up what is going on before you go. If you don’t like the younger crowd, or your group likes to turn in early, you will hate life staying at a Miami hotel during Spring Break.

Albertynas expands on that, saying it could be a mistake to go during large, popular events like the Grand Prix, as you’ll wind up paying way more for just about everything.

A view of part of a wall at Wynwood in Miami.
Sieuwert Otterloo/Unsplash

Stay safe out there, but get out there

From staying in the tourist traps to wandering into the sketchy areas to watching your money, pay attention to what you’re doing and where you’re going.

Don’t mishandle your money

Whatever money rules you have at home go out the window on vacation, but you should try to remember a few points. Adeel states that one of the biggest mistakes is “not bringing cash for parking,” but don’t take out too much. Research where you’re going and how much money you’ll need. You don’t want to be stuck in a bad area with more cash than you need to have.

Don’t forget to research where you’ll stay

As in all cities, there are places that get a little sketchy after dark. Boodram and Khan know areas like South Beach are popular, but have not-so-great hotels that could get you into questionable situations.

Hollie suggests “the city side like Brickell and Downtown” might be a bit more expensive, but you’ll be farther away from the crowds. Adeel offers places such as “Brickell, Coconut Grove, or Wynwood, which offer their own unique charm and attractions” as alternative spots to soak up the sights.

Don’t be afraid to get out there

Yes, Miami has everything you need, and you don’t have to leave the area. But you should. Adeel knows the beach is life, but to enjoy your trip to the fullest, get outside and check out “Coral Gables and the Design District for a more authentic Miami experience.”

Take a kayak tour to see stunning wildlife, snap all of the Instagram-worthy pics at the Wynwood Walls, or eat everything you can in Little Havana. Whatever you do on your visit to the Magic City, avoid the rookie mistakes and make sure you do it right.

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Dannielle Beardsley
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