Tips Travel Talk

Art of The Layover – Freeport, Bahamas Edition

Good day from Freeport, Bahamas,

If you’re not familiar with the “Art of the Layover – One Night in Tallin”, suggest you read it. Larissa aka The Blonde Gypsy graced us with this idea a while back and I’m running with it in true SHABL fashion. While in Fort Lauderdale, Florida I got an email from an old friend saying she was hanging out at her place in Freeport, Bahamas which is about a 20 minute plane ride away, immediately knew it was going to happen. My end destination is Managua, Nicaragua so I can catch another flight to Little Corn Island aka the closest place I’ve ever found to paradise…

First let me give you a little background… I hate to plan and believe planning is best left to people that have constraints on their time aka have a traditional job, husband / wife or kids. If you don’t fit into those categories, you’re time rich and I suggest you make the most of it because time is a precious commodity.  I had not booked a ticket to Managua and wanted to visit my friend in the Bahamas when I realized that this was one of those times where your lack of planning forced you to suck up an expensive ticket or get creative. Staying in Fort Lauderdale isn’t cheap so not a “hang out and just relax until a favorable ticket comes my way, or doesn’t” type place.

Had to return to the Bahia Mar Hotel & Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale as I had some packages waiting for me and it’s my home base in the area. It’s right across the street from “where the action happens” on the public beach, has incredibly friendly staff, near all the dining / nightlife in the area and so close to the airport that it’s cheaper to take a taxi than a shuttle.  I digress…

The usual cheap Spirit Airlines one-way ticket from Fort Lauderdale to Managua which usually costs $175 was sold out so only thing left was an overpriced United flight for $454. This flight is only 2 hours or so, I once paid $495 last minute for a 19 hour flight to Bangkok from LAX… No way I’m buying that ticket, it’s overpriced and downright depressing. There is a ferry that leaves from near the hotel that goes to Freeport and it costs bout $160 or so round trip, it was sold out and didn’t run the next day, great. What to do!?

Turns out I had a few options, let’s explore:

Option 1: Straight to Managua

Cost is $454+ tax, ridiculously priced, unreal – no way.

Option 2: Return to Ft Lauderdale on Aeroplan & Flight to Managua.

Cost is $180 + 25,000 points + $175 = $355 + 25,000 points – I can better use points.

Option 3: Return to Ft Lauderdale & Flight to Managua

Cost is $450  + $175 = $625 and is boring – no way

Option 4: Flight to Bahamas, Fight to Ottawa, Flight to Boston on Aeroplan, Flight to Managua

Cost is $78 (Vision) + $247 (Westjet) + $106 & 10,000 pts (Aeroplan) + $259 (Spirit) = $690 – WINNER

Option 5: Use your imagination…

Option 4 is the clear winner because you get 15,000 Aeroplan points on signup bonus and the price of a ticket on Kayak from Ottawa to Boston is $500+ with horrendous layovers aka not even direct.  If you had 200,000 points, you could get 20 flights to Boston for $2,120 – unreal?  Also once you are in Boston you can get cheap flights anywhere.  This way I get to visit my friend in the Bahamas, visit my family for 4 days in Canada, catch a flight to Boston and visit my grandparents / family for 3 days and finally arrive in Managua.

So far Freeport, Bahamas is pretty cool, did you know this is a bonded city? Ever wonder why it’s called Freeport? Also, supposedly in the 1980’s this place was booming before some government changes that kinda put a damper on the whole scene so to speak. That said, it provides tremendous benefits for those that reside in this area. It’s kinda crazy but bonded cars have different license plates than regular ones. It’s like a little country within a little country, look it up.

We’re off to see some sights and continue the hunt for stone crab…

Next time you can’t get the flight you want, look at your options as they just might surprise you… #SHABL

Tips hat,

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