Key West on a budget

Rachel with her parents... Almost to Cuba!
Rachel with her parents... Almost to Cuba!
Enjoying Happy Hour... Cheap!
Enjoying Happy Hour... Cheap!

Going on vacation doesn't mean you have to run up your credit card bill. My parents and I recently traveled to the beautiful destination of Key West.

The drive is like a vacation in itself. Even I - who always falls asleep as soon as I get into a car - stayed awake for the venture down!

I knew this would be a fun vacation when we stopped for lunch at Subway, and they had beer on tap!

We drove a V6 2008 Ford Convertible (a must for the drive down the keys) Mustang and, to our surprise, we only needed a half tank of gas to drive from West Palm to Key West.

My mom did her research and found the Wicker Guest House on Duval Street which is running a promotion - stay three nights for the price of two. Plus, the rates are down for the summer.

You might be thinking Duval Street gets a little roudy at night, but you would never know you were staying on one of the most partied streets in the world!

Also, parking is a huge problem, so make sure to stay in a place offering free parking.

Every morning, a continential breakfast is served poolside, and each room comes with at least a microwave and mini fridge. Our room had a full kitchen - complete with a blender to make my fruity beverages.

That's one thing to really keep in mind when traveling. Try staying in a place with a kitchen, so you can bring your own food and beverages to save money.

And, of course, if you're spending time in the Keys, you want to spend lots of time playing in the water. Many places offer activities ranging from relaxing sunset cruises to exciting parasailing rides.

Now, if you're like me, you want to do it all! But that gets pricey. So, my family and I signed up for the Fury's Ultimate Adventure. For one price - cheaper if you book online - you can snorkel, parasail, ride jet skis and kayak. Plus, they have a floating platform island complete with fun water toys. My favorite is their huge rock climbing wall where, once up top, you can slide down into the water. Also available to the adventurous is a huge floating trampoline and teeter totter.

And, they feed you breakfast, lunch and a snack, and keep you hydrated with unlimited sodas and water. Then, after you're done playing, they have complementary beer and wine.

The cost is $139 per adult, but if you order online, the price goes down to $125.10. The regular price per child is $69.50, and the online price is $62.55. Children under 5 are free.

If you go, make sure to tell Captain Scotty hi. He's from my hometown, Evansville, IN!

My last tip: Don't skip Happy Hour! Many resturants have an extended happy hour where drinks are buy one get one free and their menu is at 1/2 price. My mom's side order of fries cost her a grand total of 70 cents! So have an early dinner, and keep your hard earn cash for another trip!