Tips for Traveling Solo Through MIA, the Portal to All Things Miami

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It’s ironic how we go on vacation to relax, but traveling is often incredibly stressful. Especially when traveling through international airports, the lines, crowds and many other factors can set you on edge and get your vacation started off on the wrong foot. Avoid as much of this unnecessary stress as possible by gathering a few tips from a seasoned traveler.

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

Tips for getting through the Miami airport quickly

There are two types of security when entering the Miami International Airport (MIA). The first is the front of house security (TSA) and the second is Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Both offer an expedited program which has some serious benefits for enrollees. Even if you’re not an international traveler, being enrolled in CBP’s Global Entry Program will allow you skip a lot of pre-boarding nonsense. You will often be allowed to keep your shoes and coat on and your laptop in its travel case.

Additional tips to keep your airport experience tolerable are:

Know all of your flight information. If something does go wrong, knowing the details of your flight will make it easier to reschedule or check flight delay information online.

Pack valuables in your carry-on. Keep valuables pack in the depths of your carry-on though so if a zipper becomes un-zipped or rips your valuables won’t be exposed to prying eyes or worse, fall out.

– If you’re a smoker, smoke your last cigarette before heading through security. There is no smoking what so ever past the security checkpoint.

Be aware of lines that can cause delays

The arrival line in MIA is split into three major lines; visitors, residents and citizens. The citizen’s line tends to move rapidly, but the other two can have long delays.

-If you are an international traveler, before traveling check to see if your country is one of the many participating in the Visa Wavier Program. If it is you must fill out the ESTA online form before you will be allowed to fly.

Complete the form on an US government site to avoid paying inflated fees on a third party site. It should only cost $14 dollars with a rapid approval process.

Miami airport transportation

Depending on the type of transportation you’d like for your trip you will have to go to different locations.

– Taxis and supershuttles are on the ground floor.

– Hotel shuttles are on the upper floor.

– You have to take the MIA Mover, an electric powered train, to get to the Rental Car Center (RCC)

The type of transportation you need will vary depending on what you’d like to do while you are in Miami. If you’re staying close by the airport and plan on visiting the beach and other nearby tourist spots, you can get by with taxis and some public transportation. Only use public transportation during the day. At night never walk alone (or with strangers) and take a taxi.
However, if you plan on visiting further out locations like the Everglades it could be worth your time to do a cost comparison before selecting your transportation. A taxi ride to visit the Everglades costs an estimated $76.90—that cost it might be worth renting a car for the day.

Miami lodging options

Where you stay will undoubtedly correlate with your budget. If you can afford a more expensive hotel book one with a 24-hour concierge. Not only does that ensure someone is there every time you arrive back at the hotel, which can make you more secure, but they can offer valuable recommendations on where to eat, visit and avoid.

The South Beach Hostel is also a popular location, especially for solo travelers who are open to meeting new people. The hostel is just two minutes from the beach and has a bar with pool tables, a kitchen for quick and cheap meal prep and a cinema. For only $12 a night you can expect to meet a ton of people and sleep on clean sheets.

Bring your own towel if you plan on staying at a hostel to make sure you’re not wiping down with a smelly towel.

Ask for a room upstairs so you can have a little quiet when the bar and kitchen area gets loud at night.

Grab a bottom bunk. The top bunks don’t have ladders and can be difficult to climb into.

Eating out

The options are endless if you don’t care about eating alone and want to focus solely on finding delicious food, but if are looking to meet people and maybe share a meal try a place like Barceloneta. The communal tables create a fun environment and encourage diners to get to know one another.

Derek Holaday is a freelance transportation and travel writer. Derek works with Miles Car Rental Miami and spends a lot of time traveling in and out of Florida. He enjoys sharing his expertise and helping fellow travelers avoid his travel mistakes.

2 Comments

  1. Steave Hussey

    October 4, 2013 at 2:36 am

    That's really a nice knowledge about the Miami and it's really helpful to the visitors. I will definitely keep the things in mind while I will be visiting there in upcoming month.

  2. asktraveling

    October 7, 2013 at 4:07 am

    If you are approaching or leaving Miami International Airport via the Airport Expressway (Florida State Road 112), beware of the at-grade railroad crossing on the ramps connecting the Expressway to the airport terminals. Normally such crossings are grade-separated, but this one sits directly east of one of the runways. be prepared for the possibility of a 10-15 minute delay if a train happens to be there at the same time as you.

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