I’m trying not to laugh.

A travel agent friend of mine just shared an email from a “sometimes” client who went ahead and booked a quick getaway to the Florida Keys on her own. Her agenda looks like this:

It’s a quick two-night stay. Found a great flight arriving in Miami at 5:20pm on a Monday night. Rent the car and be in Key West by 7pm. Spend the night on Duvall Street and the following day on the beach, then leave right after dinner on Wednesday for our 8:40pm flight home.

If you’ve ever been to the Keys, you know she’s in for a rude awakening. Factor in the Miami airport hassle, rental car lines, rush hour traffic, and the fact that it’s about a 150 mile drive, and she won’t be in her hotel until at least 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. As far as the plan to have dinner on Duvall Street before driving to Miami for an 8:40 pm flight home — good luck!

Sure, Miami is “right next to” the Keys, right? So it’s understandable that she thought this itinerary would work. But a travel professional would have explained the realities of the geography (the actual distance, the fact that it’s a two lane road in sections) and the nightmare that is the Miami airport (I prefer to fly into Fort Lauderdale instead, drive the extra distance, and maintain my sanity) and would have presented her with some much better options — like flying directly into Key West, which is the only thing that makes sense for such a short stay.

This is a perfect example of why even the simplest getaways can benefit from some professional guidance and advice. But I will admit that do-it-yourselfers like this are great for the entertainment value!

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