Guest Post submitted by Megan!

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So a few months ago I decided to surprise hubby for his birthday by booking the MWR White Water Rafting trip that they had going on here. I was really excited when it came time to celebrate hubby’s birthday, because for once in my life I didn’t let it slip. He had no clue; he thought we were going to be taking a trip to my parent’s farm to clean up before their 4th of July bash.

Time came I told him on his birthday about my surprise for him and he was super excited AND THEN………… it got canceled.

I was so bummed, and so was hubby when I had to break the news to him.

Well he came home from work that day and we started talking about other things to do, and that is when Key West came up. After all we only live about 9-10 hours away; why not go, right?

So we gathered up the money I saved for the White Water Rafting trip. And we had about $600…. eeek… $600 for a trip to Key West.

So the hunt started for a place to stay. Hubby went online and started looking up hotel deals, while I went and found my secret stash of Military travel lodging books.

The cheapest hubby found for a night was $210 at a local hotel on the island; the cheapest I found was $65 a night at MWR vacation rentals, a 2 bedroom trailer! So I immediately booked two nights and our trip was a go.

For our trip we found that $130 went to our 2 bedroom trailer for the weekend, about $170 went to gas, 2 bicycles from MWR for the weekend only cost $24, about $30 for breakfast and snacks to have at the vacation rental, and the rest of our money was spent on enjoying the island and gifts to take home! And let me tell you, this was the best trip that we have ever had. Who knew 2 days of island life on a small budget could be so fun!

****My Tips for a trip to Key West****

-Fill up the gas tank before you get on the Keys in the hopes that you can drive all the way out to Key West and get back off the Keys before filling up again. Gas prices out on the islands are between $3.20 for regular and $3.51 for premium, diesel was around $3.22.

-The island is so small, walk or bike it! Its fun and you get exercise to work off all those pounds you might gain from all the food and drinks you will consume.

-Use your military resources, MWR, the NEX and Commissary, etc. It may be cheaper than shopping out in town.

-Look at the prices of souvenirs before you count them out as something to buy, and Shop around. We found these beautiful glass dolphins that were only $4 a piece and our gifts for the kids were found on the clearance shelves.

-Buy snacks and at least one meal to eat at the hotel or vacation rental, it will save a bunch.

-If you rent a moped or electric car remember that you can not take them on base with out a helmet and a motorcycle safety course. If you rent a bicycle you need a helmet to ride it on base, but don’t need the helmet out in town. We left the helmets at the vacation rental and walked the bikes on and off base.

– Before you pay to go to a public beach, the Truman Annex on key west has a Free beach and it is right next to the pay beach, and less crowded to boot! (there is a swim beach that you don’t have to pay for out in town, but we found it to be a little crowded on the not so clean side)

– Out in Key West the main base NAS Key West is actually out on Boca Chica Island (one island north of Key West. On Key West, there are NAS Key West Annexes, Trumbo point, Truman, and 1 or 2 others. They are super easy to get on and off of, are very close to down town, however not all of them have all the resources you may find on one big base. One may have the NEX and Commissary, while another may have a mini mart, and one may have an RV park and boat ramp but the other may only have a beach. Check all the bases out and see what they have to offer.

MWR Key West: 305-293-5000
http://www.keywest.com/
The Navy Lodge at Key West

So get out there and have some summer fun!!

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