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If you’ve been in our world for a bit and know our ins and outs, skip to Destination: Miami. If you’re new to Mac & Cheese or it’s been awhile since you’ve consumed our travelness…

💡 General Travel Tips

Don’t plan anything else on days you do tours; they often go over time and you’re exhausted afterwards. Don’t add stress to your life by having to be back for something.

It’s ok to not love something everyone else loves, e.g. pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese pastry, which I found eh.

It’s ok to have slow days and not always be go go go. We often return to the hotel to nap and watch HGTV in the afternoon.

Many credit cards will give you a credit if you pay for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry with said card. Whatever route you go, don’t get Pre-Check if you’re going to get Global Entry; the latter gives you the former. If you travel internationally, Global Entry is 110% worth it.

Before you email or DM or message or shake of fist comment there’s no link, remember our favorite phrase — “Google it”; you have an amazing self-sufficient tool at your fingertips 365/24/7.  Questions like “Where’s that restaurant?” “How do you make a customized MyMaps map?” and “What’s Priority Pass?” ➡ Gooooooooogle.


💑🏽 Best Friend & Best Friend Context

Prioritizing travel over most everything else and a main reason we’re petless and kidless, we’ve traveled together since 2010.
Taste-wise, I’m Four Seasons, he’s Motel 6; budget-wise, we’re somewhere in the middle. We hate to check bags and love to score free hotel nights, hotel perks, lounge access (see the Lounge highlight in my Instagram profile if you want tips), flights, and flight upgrades — light, frugal, and hacked travel is our jam. We tend to not do touristy stuff, shopping-shopping, fashion, museums, and fancy restaurants and to lean self-walking tours, breweries, street-food, coffeehouses, window shopping, and oogling rich people neighborhoods. Best Friend’s picked up golf so we’ve been adjusting trips to incorporate at least a day of golf which makes both of us happy; if I join him, I get to business and relax in an opulent country clue’esque space and if I don’t join, I enjoy Sayatime in a coffeehouse or at the hotel.
He’s vegan, I’m not.
All of our trips are to/from Chicago.
We often choose where we’re going by flight deals. This has been a fun (and frugal!) way to travel as it’s taken us to places we may have never gone (hello Japan and Portugal and Puerto Rico and and and). The amount of “Hey, there’s a deal to _______, wanna go?!?!, we need to book right now!” shouts I get from the other room is very high.
Hotels are usually chosen by where we can use our free nights or points; if you see us staying in an Oprah’esque spot, it’s usually for Jerry Springer prices. 😂 This is why you’ll see us hopping from hotel to hotel within the same area. Airbnbs are often booked with credit cause I am shameless about asking you to use my referral link (UPDATE: Airbnb no longer has a referral program as of October 2020; leaving my link in case it’s a lie but it’s on their site so 😭😭😭). When we go on a longer trip, we like our arrival and departure lodging to be a hotel, since we’re often tired and don’t want to have to worry about arriving late or dealing with key issues or a weird shower or no toiletries.
If we’re traveling internationally, we try to make our trips at least ten days. We love to return with a buffer day before having to return to life, e.g. instead of coming home on a Sunday, we’ll come home on a Saturday so that we have Sunday to do errands, catch up on sleep, and slide back into it before work and obligations.
As with all travel, but especially during COVID times, things change constantly, from what documents you need to what’s open and what’s closed — make sure you do your own uptodate research.
I mention a credit card below as how we got various freeness and perks; this is the one we’re currently using and love.

✈️ Travel Resources Beyond The Blog

To see all my travel posts, head to the main blog page and filter by travel

  • Happy Cow: the best for finding vegan friendly eateries especially in places you don’t speak the language (hello Japan). Our favorite filter is “vegan options” so that if I want a hamburger, we’re both happy. Pete’s profile where you can see all the places we’ve gone.
  • TripIt: the ugliest useful site. Keep all your travel info in one spot. Especially helpful if you have a complicated trip with lots of reservations (transportation, lodging, etc). When you make a reservation and get a confirmation, you simply forward that email to and it automatically adds all the info. You can share trips so that multiple have access which we love both when we’re together and if only one of us is taking a trip just to have that info.
  • My Maps: where we map out our lodging and the places we want to go. Nice to visually see the distance to/from things, e.g. we’ll be at this location for a bike tour, what’s a vegan friendly restaurant nearby? 💡Tip: make them available offline in case you don’t have cell service.
  • I post many of our expeditions real time on Instagram, mostly in Stories, and have some travel on TikTok
  • The Mac & Cheese List page is filled with recommendations, travel and otherwise
  • The Mac & Cheese Amazon Store has a travel list


Destination: Miami

Six days, January 2023

Annual “escape so you can survive till Spring” trip: success!

We’ve found that a trip, even a short one, to somewhere warm in January or February does a wonder for us Chicagoans.



💰 What I spent

My share of all the things. x2 where applicable for total-total cost, e.g. car.

  • Flight: $370
  • Rental car: $383
  • Rental car bypass the counter and take any Executive Car: $0 (credit card perk)
  • Hotel: $0 (points + free nights)
  • Hotel parking: $107
  • Activities: $0 (we excel at and love finding free ways to amuse ourselves)
  • Food: $320
  • Airport lounge: $0 (the number of tiny sandwiches I consumed is illegal; credit card perk)
  • Lyft to airport: $11
  • Train from airport: $5
    TOTAL $1219


🛏️ Where we stayed

Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach

  • Pricey as most of the hotels in the area are but we were able to travel hack our stay
  • Fabulous location (two blocks to beach, can walk to many eateries, tourist stuff, free trolley stops)
  • Expensive parking (perk of staying here is you don’t need a car if you’re just gonna beach; we had a car for golf reasons) but liked that it was valet with in and out privileges
  • Quiet and clean
  • Food and drinks expensive but so it goes with hotels and Miami in general
  • Rooftop pool area was lovely (good wifi, only one outlet though)
  • Free coffee bar in AM and free happy hour in PM
  • No gym on premise but yoga + Shred 45 access
  • Very friendly staff
  • Would stay again and recommend
  • This place was across the street from us and looked really cool; if you’re into prettiness and design and Instagramming, you’ll like it there


🥑 Where we ate that I’d recommend

All vegan or with vegan options. They’re all over the place as we had a car. None of them are worth making a special trip if far from you and you’re carless.

  • The Cocinita Miami
  • SoBe Vegan
  • Timeout Market
  • Vegan Cuban Cuisine
  • GoBistro Wynwood


🚶🏽What I did

  • “Saw” the Miami Marathon (meandered out too late to see runners; saw the street sweeper)
  • Visited another college campus (U of Miami)
  • Navigated a vegan – non vegan relationship and ate lots of yummy stuff
  • Unapologetically ordered hotel poolside food instead of leaving the hotel in search of cheaper food because time also costs and in these instances, WORTH IT
  • Finished a book and started another
  • Waited with paparazzi for someone outside a hotel; left before I knew who we were waiting for
  • Visited various neighborhoods: Coral Way, Downtown Miami, Brickell, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, Wynwood, Key Biscayne, Ponce Davis, Miami Beach
  • Oogled rich people homes
  • Got to choose a rental car from the Executive Area and had a stupid fun time selecting from the 30 or so very different options
  • Enjoyed driving a BMW SUV for a week (windshield data projection! Enormous sun roof! So many buttons!) and Best Friend reluctantly enjoying it as well (he doesn’t do luxury as naturally as I do)
  • Visited the Holocaust memorial
  • Marveled at how much more developed Wynwood, famous for its street art and revitalization, is since the last time we visited
  • Won the Boston College v. Vanderbilt contest when we saw a BC shirt on a fellow luncher and had a lovely reminiscing Chestnut Hill chat; BC 1, Vandy 0
  • Worked while Best Friend golfed
  • Made two what some would consider “bitchy” moves and feel zero regret
  • Made money actively and passively (Mingler; Sleepaway Camp; Adulting Kit; consulting; Life of Yes℠ swag; speaking/facilitation gigs…)
  • Revitalized my sad pale skin into a warm sunkissed glow
  • Walked and walked and walked without destinations in mind
  • Underlined that art deco is one of my least favorite architecture styles
  • Meandered Publix and Trader Joe’s (we love grocery stores when traveling)
  • Fascinatingly stared at cruise ships
  • Reminisced about the Life of Yes℠ January 2020 cruise
  • Rode the free trolley
  • For the first time in my life, missed Chicago drivers and didn’t think Chicago construction was so bad


👍🏾 Your recommendations

Have any other Miami recommendations? Drop them in the comments!


👋🏾 Byeeeeee!

If you find the blog useful and want to encourage us to keep sharing: tell others about ’us, hire us for consulting, speaking and facilitation, come to our offerings, let ’us know if you use our recommendations, and/or buy Saya a coffee. These posts take time and we love keeping them free and accessible!

🌎 Places We’ve Gone Together

I haven’t blogged all these destinations. Head to the main blog page and filter by “travel” to see what I’ve written up.

  • Argentina (Mendoza)
  • Bahamas (Nassau)
  • Belgium (Bruges)
  • Belize (Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio)
  • Canada (Nova Scotia, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver)
  • Caribbean Cruise (Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Miami)
  • Chile (Santiago)
  • France (Paris)
  • Ireland (Dublin, Galway, Killarney)
  • Italy (Rome, Milan, Lake Como, Venice, Bologna, Cinque Terre, Pisa, San Gimignano, Sienna, Florence, Civita de Bagnoregio)
  • Japan (Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Hakone, Tokyo)
  • Mexico (Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende)
  • Netherlands (Amsterdam)
  • Norway (Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger)
  • Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Obidos, Coimbra, Sintra, Braga, Guimaes)
  • Sweden (Stockholm, Bergen, Gotland, Gothenberg)
United States
  • Arizona (Grand Canyon, Sedona, Phoenix)
  • Alabama (Dothan, Birmingham)
  • California (Santa Clara, San Diego, San Francisco, Yosemite, Palm Springs, Borrego Springs)
  • Colorado (Boulder, Denver)
  • DC
  • Hawaii (Maui, Oahu)
  • Florida (Clearwater, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Pete’s, Miami)
  • Georgia (Valdosta, Atlanta, Savannah)
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky (Louisville)
  • Louisiana (Monroe, New Orleans)
  • Maine (Acadia, Portland)
  • Massachusetts (Boston)
  • Missouri (Kansas City)
  • Michigan (Grand Rapids, South Haven, Allegan)
  • Nebraska (Omaha)
  • North Carolina (Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro)
  • NYC
  • Ohio (Cincinnati)
  • Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh)
  • Puerto Rico (main island/San Juan/Aguadilla/El Yunque; Vieques)
  • Rhode Island (Providence)
  • South Carolina (Charleston)
  • Tennessee (Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis)
  • Texas (Austin)
  • Utah (Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Zion National Park)
  • Vermont
  • Washington (Seattle)
  • Wisconsin (Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Lake Geneva, Fond du Lac)