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Key West, FL – On A Budget (Easy Ways to Save Hundreds)

Key West on a Budget

Key West on a Budget

If you are looking to do Key West on the cheap or Key West on a budget then you’re in the right place.

Up until this trip, I had never been to Key West.

In fact, no one even told me how BEAUTIFUL it is.

And you know what’s even better, this trip cost me $600 for two.

My logistics were as follows; I was going to Key West with my friends.  And my visit was happening in August.

But this was a spare of the moment trip.  I mean it was and wasn’t.  I hadn’t been on a trip in awhile so I wanted to go on one but it was planned quickly and with a tight budget.

I can assure you that Key West is an awesome place to visit and if your budget is as tight as mine was, you can still do it!


Cheap Key West Hotel

Now that I’ve been to Key West, I know that the most popular lodging on the keys is boutique hotels.  They are all charming, to say the least.

Like I said before, I had never been to Key West and my search for a place to stay began like any other.  I want on Expedia, typed in Key West, FL, and my travel dates.

The cheapest place I found was The Gates Hotel Key West for approximately $140/night.  This was for a standard room with two queen-sized beds.

The biggest issue I had with this room was the privacy.   Four adults in a room like this mean we would always be on top of each other.  That wasn’t going to work well.

But the $140/night price only made sense if we were splitting it.  I didn’t want to spend that on my own.

My search began to brighten up and also ended at AirBnB.  Before I talk about AirBnB, let’s talk about what it is.


What is AirBnB?

BnB stands for bed and breakfast.  This online website/marketplace allows hosts to list their rooms or entire property for rent.  Basically, you’re renting out someone’s space.

When you go on AirBnB, you use it much like any other travel website.  You enter the location you’re traveling to, the dates, and the number of guests.  Then you get to scroll through the available properties.

AirBnB has blown up because not only is it a great idea but it’s very affordable and safe.

If you decide to sign up for Airbnb, use this link here. You will get $40 for free towards your first booking! It’s free to sign up so take advantage of it!

Key West on a BudgetI’ve used AirBnB many times before because it’s perfect for frugal yet perfectly comfortable travel.  However, I wasn’t getting much better prices on entire homes.  Remember, on this site you can rent a single room but also an entire home.

We had already decided that a room was just not going to work and I couldn’t find an entire property for under $180/night.

I then learned that Key West is the last key of a string of islands that make up the Florida keys.  And THIS was my salvation for Key West on a budget.

I broadened my search and found exactly what we needed.  A small cottage with two bedrooms, 20 min from Key West.  This cottage was part of a vacation home complex with so many amenities like a pool, a private beach, and kayaks with direct water access.

That’s right… We were on the water! And we paid less than $100/night.

The place we stayed at slept 6 because it has a sofa bed for the same price.

Head to AirBnB here, sign up, get your free $40, and search up Cudjoe Keys and your dates.  You might just get to stay where I did for that great price.


Cheap Key West Flights

Key West has its own international airport but it only has one runway and almost all fights in and out are expensive.

I’m not a huge fan of killing my vacation budget just on getting to my location OR not being to able to go on my trip because getting there is too expensive.

A popular thing to do is fly into Miami International Airport or Hollywood International Airport and drive the three hours to Key West.  The drive is BEAUTIFUL and not difficult at all.

Getting flights for $60/ea way was well worth it.  Plus we needed to rent a car anyway.

Our car rental was $70 for the entire stay.

So the trick is to fly into a Miami airport and make an adventure out of it.

Key West on a BudgetSave More on Travel

Whenever you are buying something online, whether it’s a new outfit, a hotel stay, or a flight.  Make sure to use Ebates.

I’m serious.

Ebates is a cashback reward website that has been around since the 90s. And with my link, you’ll get $10 just for signing up.

When you’re about to book travel logistics.  Go to Ebates first!  Right now there’s 10% cashback on Expedia.  That’s $70 for a $700 purchase.

Makes me excited just typing.

Hilton – 3%

Travelocity – 8%

cheap key west vaction

Two Other Tips

  1. Get groceries.  I do this on every single vacation on a budget.  Since we rented a house, we had an entire kitchen.  We didn’t cook but we got water, adult beverages, snacks, and breakfast.
  2. Take advantage of all the free stuff to do.  Like the beach!  Here in NJ, we have to pay to get to the beach but not in Key West.
  3. Dante’s is an Oyster Bar on Key West.  Not only are the drinks and food priced great but there’s a pool.  Spend hours there easily.


Key West seems to attract an older crowd and families.  It’s very relaxing and everything is beautiful but if you’re looking for a “fast” vacation, like Miami, this is not the place for you.

Here’s a breakdown of my costs, for two people.  The things I divided in two are the things we split with the other couple.

Hotel – $596/2 = $298

Flights – $215

Car -$70/2 = $35

Total —- $548

disney on a budget


Friday 13th of October 2017

Key west sounds like such a lovely place to visit! I’ve never used air bnb but it’s defibiyely on my radar. I’m glad you managed to have such a great time on a relatively tight budget.

HilLesha O'Nan

Thursday 12th of October 2017

How beautiful! I have never been to Key West before, but I'll certainly have to keep these budget-friendly tips in mind.


Tuesday 17th of October 2017

Key West is very beautiful

Heather Riccobono (@BrieBrieBlooms)

Wednesday 11th of October 2017

Excellent travel tips! My husband's family lives in West Palm Beach so we always stay there when we visit but we should definitely venture out to other areas.


Wednesday 11th of October 2017

Do you know how these areas were affected by the hurricane? My boyfriend and I would love to visit Key West, especially soon to help the area recover economically, but we're worried about how much infrastructure may have been affected by the recent storms. This post has great tips to help plan a trip there under normal circumstances!


Wednesday 11th of October 2017

I don't know the extent of the damage but I hope everyone who lives there is ok.

Renée ♥

Wednesday 11th of October 2017

I've never been to Key West, but it sounds like a great place to visit. When we vacation, we always try to get some groceries, too - it's amazing how much you can save just eating a few of your meals "in."


Wednesday 11th of October 2017

Yea definitely, and it saves a ton of time too.

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