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How much to budget for WMC and Miami Music Week


If you are like most people going to WMC or Miami Music Week (a.k.a. Ultra Music Week), right about now you are trying to figure out how much money you need to bring or how much you will end up spending. Perhaps you are in the process of establishing some sort of budget for yourself. Easier said then done, right? I mean, how do you put a dollar amount on what is surely going to be the best week of your life? How much is enough? How much is too much? (Wait, is there such thing?).

Assuming you have purchased your tickets in advance (which is HIGHLY recommended), the things you will be spending your money on (in no particular order) are:

  • Drinks (by the pool, at lunch, during happy hour, at dinner, pre-partying, all night long in the club, mimosas at breakfast - REPEAT)
  • Meals
  • Hotel room supplies (snacks, alcohol, gatorade, water, Pepto, Tums, etc.)
  • Maybe some shopping
  • But definitely cabs, cabs and more cabs!

I wish it was as easy as going through this list of items, assigning an amount to each, estimating how much of everything you will consume over however many days and nights that you will be there, and getting a grand total. Although that is your best bet for getting an estimation of how much to bring, it’s definitely not a fool-proof method and it’s never that simple.

You have to remember Miami is one of the most expensive cities in the country to party in (drink prices and the cost of meals are through the roof). Some may want to bring a little extra in planning for the unexpected (say you lose one shoe at Space and need to buy yourself a new pair). You might have to factor in pitching in for a broke boyfriend, girlfriend or buddy (or what if you meet the love of your life at Nikki Beach and you want to celebrate the amazing connection you guys have by buying him/her drink after drink?). And for most, you will for sure have to take into consideration the fact that you will most likely be in an altered state of mind for the majority of the time that you are awake. This means you will probably forget you what the word budget means (never mind that you once had one) by the second day of your trip.

Keep in mind, there are a lot of factors that will vary from one person to the next. For example, will you sit down each morning and have a plate of bacon, eggs and toast to start your day? Or will the Bloody Mary that you have at the first pool party count as your breakfast? Do you see yourself ordering lunch every day at the pool or might you just have a snack at the pool and grab a couple slices of pizza once you leave the pool party venue? Are you a big drinker where you like to drink all day and all night? Or will you limit your drinking during the day and go balls to the wall at night? Are you dying to hit the boutiques on Ocean Drive for a new outfit? Or maybe shopping is nowhere on your to-do list. Is one of your top priorities to experience the fine dining that South Beach has to offer? Or will you be ok hitting up the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s a couple nights for dinner?

There is no way for anyone but you to determine how much cash you will need for your trip. If it were me, I would get a general idea of how much I think I will need and then add a little more on top. To help with your guesstimating, here is some info to guide you:

DRINKS - Depending on the venue and what you order, drinks can range anywhere from $10-20 each. Let’s use a conservative example to put this into perspective. If you buy 5 drinks over the course of the day at the pool and 5 drinks throughout the night at the club, that will run you $100-$200 in just one day! Party people, be prepared to shell out a ridiculous amount of money on alcohol.

*Festival Zoo Money Saver Tip – Liquor stores are hard to come by and the prices are just as outrageous as the drink prices at the clubs. To avoid buying the overpriced booze in Miami, I have known some friends to buy alcohol ahead of time and pack it safely and securely in their checked luggage (an unopened bottle of vodka, for example). Remember, federal travel regulations prohibit you from packing that much liquid in your carry-on luggage.

FOOD - When it comes to your meals, it does seem like you have a bit more control on your spending as compared to alcohol. If you are ok with grabbing quick meals (sandwich and chips, burger and fries, etc.) then it’s probably safe to estimate approximately $10-$12 per meal. If you want to have a casual sit-down meal (TGIF’s), then you can estimate about $20 per meal (not including alcohol). And if you want the 5-star dining experience, be prepared to spend a minimum of $75 on your meal (not including alcohol).

*Festival Zoo Money Saver Tip - Remember, in Miami, gratuity is always calculated for you and included in the total amount. If you don’t pay attention to this when the bill arrives, you could end up leaving a double tip and wasting your precious cash!

*Festival Zoo Money Saver Tip - A huge money saver is stocking up your hotel room with snacks, alcohol and water. If you have a mini fridge, you might want to consider buying a loaf of bread and some deli meat and making sandwiches in your room a couple times during your stay. This could save you on the expense of eating out and potentially the cab fare to get to/from the restaurant..

TRANSPORTATION – Hands down, this is the one expense that seems to blindside everyone at WMC. If you are not renting a car, then you are relying on cabs or public transportation and it adds up quickly! For example, a cab to/from the pool party then to/from the club later that night (depending on what part of the city you are staying in and how many friends you are splitting the cab with) could mean you are spending anywhere from $20-$40 per day no problem.

*Festival Zoo Money Saver Tip - If you can plan ahead a take the bus on a few occasions, your wallet will thank you. The Miami-Dade Public Transportation system is both reliable and affordable. Prices start at $1.25 per ride and many metrobuses run 24-hours a day. And if you are trying to get around South Beach, why not hop on the South Beach Local Bus? It’s air-conditioned, is scheduled to arrive every 10-15 minutes at its many stops, and only costs 25-cents! I’m sure there are lots of South Beach cabbies that wish I didn’t share that with you!

I think everyone will agree, the smart thing to do is to have a general idea of your budget before you go. But the fact of the matter is, it’s going to get messy, it’s going to get wild, and consequently, you are going to blow more money than you think you will. But it will all be worth it!

Related posts:

  1. Dining in Miami
  2. Where to stay in Miami
  3. Beyond Wonderland Music Festival

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