In the spirit of saving the best for last, today I am talking about what might have been the best part of my trip to Florida : my very first US road trip to Key West with Sunny Cars.
One of my dream for years was to do a US road trip. Road trips are such a thing in movies, series and books, it really got into me and was on my list of things to do before turning 30.
So we stayed in Miami for a few days before hitting the road!
While in Germany I looked at a few car rental offer and decided to book a car via Sunny Cars, a german all-inclusive holiday car rental broker. We choose a standard car : a Chrysler 200 with an all-inclusive in the USA contract including :
– cheap cancellation fee until the day of the pick up. Which is great because since we booked when we were still in Germany, it was good to know we could change our mind and maybe not do the road trip for whatever reason without the risk of loosing too much money
– additional driver, which was very cool because with the long distances in the USA I didn’t want to have to drive all the time. Each time we felt tired or didn’t want to drive anymore we could change drivers.
– unlimited free mileage, indeed in a foreign country it is kind of difficult to know how much you will drive especially when you get lost or if you want to stay flexible and decide spontaneously your itinerary.
– GPS because here again it is just necessary in a country you don’t know. It just makes life much easier
– first tank of fuel included which means we didn’t need to tank before giving back the car. Here again it just makes your life easier. How annoying is it, when you come close to the place you have to give back your car and you realize there won’t be any gas station until destination so you have to drive back to tank…
– theft protection : you never know where you will land, especially in a foreign country where you don’t know the areas you should avoid. You always think it only happens to others but I am telling you : on our road trip we arrived in an area that didn’t felt safe at all. We spent the night there and I was happy to know I had theft protection on the car we rented!!
– Damage Coverage for Windows, Undercarriage, Tires and Roof : here again you always think nothing will happen but on our road trip we stopped in the Everglades and found out that black vultures (birds) have been reported to “attack” parked vehicles, picking off rubber and vinyl. Here again I was happy to have this insurance
– Finally we had also the most important insurances included as well : Third Party Liability Insurance and SLI/EP (Supplementary Liability Insurance/Extended Protection) which means that in case of an accident and someone would be hurt, our insurance would cover most of the expenses. Especially in the USA, health is very expensive, and you don’t want to have to pay for you or for others, in case something happens.
With our all inclusive contract we were happy to know that we would not need to pay some extras the day of the pick up (I rented a car in France last summer and when picking up the car I had around 200€ more extras added to the invoice…) And the fact that the most necessary insurance where provided was also a relief.
We were then ready to hit the road toward : Key West
On the way we stopped at the National Park of the Everglades where we spent an afternoon. I always wanted to go to the everglades because I am a huge reptile fan and planned to do the visit by boat but realized by checking the prices that it was quite expensive for only a 45 minutes tour so we decided to visit the everglades by walk and I can only recommend it because the alligators often lay in the sun and you can walk very close (maybe too close) from them.
At the end of the afternoon we drove toward Key West and stopped at Islamorada Key for the night because we wanted to drive through the Keys at day time since the road is so beautiful. You have to imagine; the keys are islands connected between each other by bridges. Left and right is turquoise blue water, and birds. So amazingly beautiful.
The day after explored the neighborhood of Islamorada that is world famous for fishing and therefore has got some nice fish restaurants and in the afternoon we continued our journey to the Keys. We stopped for a bath at Bahia Honda park. They Keys don’t have so many beaches but Honda Bahia Park has got 2 nice and long beaches. Bahia Honda state parc is also famous for it’s historic bridge from which we watched the sunset.
On day 3 we finally arrived at Key West, a super cute island that is the southernmost tip of the USA. There is a lot to do in Key West so I would plan to stay there at least for a night. At daytime you could rent a bike to visit the island and admire the famous wooden houses that now sell for more than a million. Go to the southernmost point of the USA, eat some cuban food and go see where Ernest Hemingway used to live or the little white house, where many US presidents used to stay. If you have more time, you can also plan a boat tour, some snorkelling or some kayaking.
At nightime, Key West is not to miss as well, at it’s most famous street, Duval Street, is super famous for it’s ambiance thanks to the numerous bars with live music.