Every once in a while you need some vacations right? Well this is the story of how I kept my cost low using internet deals and other websites.

Plane tickets

To buy a cheap plane ticket you have 2 options, you buy it online either on Kayak or CheapoAir (expedia.com is another good option)or you use your credit card points to buy it from local travel agencies like Aeromundo or Schuvar Tours.

Usually on websites, you can subscribe to your desired destination and you will get deals and even coupons with 15-30 USD discounts.

If you pick to use your credit card miles, they are usually exchanged at USD 0.016 per mile, so if you have 100 lines, then you have USD 1.6 to spend! To travel to Miami you usually need between 15,000 to 20,000 miles. Buying airplane tickets is the best way to cash out your miles, if you rather get stuff on stores or hard cold cash, then each mile is USD 0.008, which mean that if you have 100 miles, then you only have USD 0.80 (eighty cents) to spend.

Some tips:

  • Buy the airplane ticket at least 1 or 2 months ahead, the more the better.
  • Be sure to put flexible dates, that way  you check which one is cheaper.

Some feedback about flights from airlines departing from Managua (Aeropuerto Augusto Cesar Sandino – MGA):

United

 

  • Their route is Managua to Houston (MGA-IAH).
  • Flight duration is about 3 hours.
  • Snack included; breakfast, lunch or dinner available for purchase only.
  • Movies and TV available for purchase.

 

American Airlines

  • They have two routes: Managua to Miami (MGA-MIA) & Managua to Fort Worth (MGA-DFW).
  • MGA-MIA duration is 2:30 hours. MGA-DFW is 4 hours.
  • Snack included; breakfast, lunch or dinner available for purchase only.

Delta

  • Their route is Managua to Atlanta (MGA-ATL).
  • Flight duration is 4 hours.
  • Snack included; breakfast, lunch or dinner available for purchase only.

Avianca

  • Their route is also Managua to Miami (MGA-MIA) – but it can also be Managua to El Salvador to Miami (MGA – SAL – MIA).
  • MGA-MIA duration is 2:30 hours.
  • Includes breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on the time.
  • Movies and TV available for FREE with headsets.

Car Rentals

Once you got the tickets purchase, next step was to get a car. I searched on Yelp  for reviews, and I found a winner: Family Rent a Car – all the others Sixt, EZ Rent A car had awful reviews.

However we had to make sure that we had a car, so after some research on the big brand rent a cars like Budget, Dollar, Enterprise; I signed up with Alamo. They a membership program called Alamo Insiders. A few days after signing in, I received a coupon on my email for a FREE upgrade. Upon comparing with Family’s quote. I was saving USD 60 with the coupon, so I kept Alamo.

Upon arriving to the Miami Airport, you look for the Miami Mover (a train on the airport) that will take you to the Rental Car Center, which is a building outside the airport. Then you go to the counter and you can either go to the self serve station or talk to a clerk.

Some tips:

  • Pay full price with a credit card. The credit card includes an insurance so you can reject the rental car insurance and all the other charges that they ask.
  • They will put a USD 200 charge for deposit on your card. The amount gets reimbursed once you return the car back.
  • Tolls, tolls & SunPass. In Florida, you pay tolls everywhere!  So Alamo cars have a SunPass program where they charge the car and then they debit the total tolls charge to your credit card. That way you do not have to pay cash. Simply go thru any SunPass toll at the speed specified and you will be good to go.
  • Gas is cheaper in Florida than Nicaragua, enjoy that!
  • Nicaraguan credit cards are not accepted on most Gas Pumps on Gas Stations, so you will always need to go to the clerk and prepay your gas. Be sure to specify the pump number.
  • Miami to Orlando via the TurnPike highway is about 3 hours.
  • Orlando to Tampa is about 2.5 hours.
  • Tampa to Miami is about 5 hours.

Hotels

This was the most exhausting task of all the rest. We did the reservation 3 times and we used trivago.com, expedia.com and booking.com – we cancel with expedia and then moved to booking because of a lower rate and another FREE UPGRADE.

Be sure to pay directly on the website to get a lower rate instead of paying at the hotel to get the lowest rate possible.

Phone, GPS & Internet

Since I do not own an unlocked phone, I took my Movistar phone and made use of the Roaming Sin Fronteras program which charges you USD 5 per day for internet. So with Internet on my phone and Waze. I was all set. As soon as we got the car, I launched Waze and put the address where we were going and a couple of minutes later we where there. Simple. I drove over 700 miles using Waze in Florida and it went awesome!

It was very very cool. And cheap by the way. I hope some of my tips work for you and if you have any tips for me, be sure to let me know so I can use it on the future!

 

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