We flew to Fort Lauderdale from Phoenix for only $132 US per person. This was a terrific deal, because the schedule wasn’t fantastic. For me, giving up this time, was worth it for the substantial savings. Especially when we are bleeding money with the US exchange!
We arranged for the Super Shuttle to pick us up at 5:00 in the morning at our house in San Tan Valley. The lady driving the van arrived on time as promised, and we only had to stop to pick up one other couple on our way to the airport. We arrived with plenty of time to spare to get checked in for our flight. I would recommend using this service if you are in the same situation because the airport is about an hour away. The price of the shuttle compared to what a taxi would have been was a fantastic savings! It was easy to book too. We just booked online… then an automatic message called us the day before to confirm… and the shuttle showed up on time, as expected. Easy peasy!
Our flights were relatively painless. Our first flight was to Atlanta. I tried a new little trick where I booked our seats at the back of the plane in A and C, leaving seat B empty in between us. This worked out, and no one sat between us! There were only six empty seats though, and they were all at the back of the plane in the middle, so if you are trying out this strategy I recommend booking at the back… UNLESS, you have a short connection time… then don’t do it… it took forever to get off the plane. We had about 3 hours between flights though, so had plenty of time to stop and have lunch!
Our second flight was fully booked so I did end up sitting in the middle between Steve and another big guy, but it was only for a couple of hours. I was counting myself lucky I wasn’t the guy two seats ahead of us. In his row, there was him, a lady, and another man. The lady asked the other man if he would mind switching seats with her son (who looked to be about 6). He said of course (Who wouldn’t, so she could sit with her child?). So he switched with her son…THEN…unbelievably… she calls her 8 year old daughter back and puts her in the seat beside the little boy and goes up about 10 rows and sits with her husband. They guy who is left sitting with them looks flabbergasted. Not only have they taken his window seat without asking, but now he is left sitting with two small children. He looks around and everyone looks at him rather helplessly. Then he goes up and says to the lady, “Would you like to switch seats and sit with your children?” She answers him dismissively with “Oh no, I’ll stay up here.” I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!
Dear parents, they’re your kids, you sit with them! He reluctantly headed back and spent his flight taking care of her kids. He’s a better person than me 🙂
When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, we had to head over to a different terminal to meet John. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to look up how to do this ahead of time. Turns out there is a bus that goes between terminals, but only until 9 PM. Lucky for us, it was only 8 PM. I guess after 9 PM you just have to walk. It would be a fair hike with all your bags for sure! It wasn’t easy to find the bus by the signs, but we just asked some nice people who were working at the airport and they showed us exactly where to wait.
John showed up (YAY! You can never be sure if you are going to make your connection when you go through Toronto!) and we headed over to our hotel in Hollywood Beach. We had never stayed in this area before, but decided to try it out because it was slightly cheaper (still not cheap) and because the Hollywood Beach area looked interesting.
I was a little nervous when we arrived. First of all, our cab driver didn’t seem to recognize the address or name of our hotel. Luckily, Steve had the address written down for him. Then, when we arrived, he drove past it at first because you really couldn’t see a sign from the road.
I chose the hotel with my regular formula. Most affordable hotel with the best reviews… it is a fine balance. NOTHING is affordable in this part of Florida that has good reviews. I think this one ended up costing us close to $200 Canadian per room per night. Luckily, I had some free nights with hotels.com saved up and used my credit there towards the room. If you stay in a lot of hotels and aren’t using this site yet, I highly recommend it! I think it is the best hotel rewards program there is.
Whoopsy, got a little sidetracked there. 🙂 We did eventually find the hotel and get all checked in. I’m glad we got there before 10 because it says the office closes at 10. I’m not sure what would have happened after that! The hotel is spread out over six buildings. John’s room was in building 2 and ours was in building 6. I’m just going to warn you that the rooms are not easy to find in the dark after you have been travelling all day, and in my case are rather dozy because you’ve taken Gravol 🙂
There was a maintenance man working cleaning up the grounds who was very nice and really attempted to help us, although he spoke not one word of English. Steve knows a few words of Spanish, and with several hand signals and a few Spanish words we managed to find our rooms eventually!
The rooms are nice. They have been recently redone, and the beds are comfortable. The rooms were clean, but ours smelled vaguely of vomit. I don’t know why, but whatever happened in our room before we got there was unpleasant. At this point I didn’t care. I just wanted to sleep! I promptly fell asleep and Steve and John headed down to the Broadwalk (not Boardwalk!) to get some dinner.
They tell me they enjoyed a lovely dinner at a Mexican place that had good food and live music.