Will I Need to Rent a Car to Get Around Miami Beach at the Congress?


Now that we are getting so closer to the 2018 ISAPS Congress (Oct. 31–Nov. 4) in Miami Beach, it’s time to start figuring out the details of your trip!

You have to book flights, of course, and be sure that you have your room reserved at our host hotel, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. You definitely want to make sure that you have your spot reserved at the Congress well before you leave, as this will save you both money and stress. Another primary thing you need to think about is how you will be getting around the area during the Congress.

The first thing to do is understand exactly where the Congress is taking place. You may remember our article a few months back, “South Beach vs. Miami Beach: What’s the Difference?” If you missed it (or you may like a refresher), Miami Beach is a city just outside of Miami, Florida, and South Beach is an area within Miami Beach. If you don’t already have a map application on your phone, it can be helpful to install one, so you can easily see where you are as you travel around the area.

Uber and Taxis

As in every major city in the world, Miami Beach offers you the option of calling a cab or an Uber (or whatever ride service you wish to use) to take you anywhere you wish in South Beach, the rest of Miami Beach, and the greater Miami area in general. This can, however, get a little expensive, depending on where you want to go. A quick ride to the Convention Center will only cost you a few dollars, but a ride to some of the more popular tourist attractions in town could cost you quite a bit more, especially during busy periods.

Public Transit

Miami is blessed with an efficient and effective public transportation system. With a little bit of study, you can learn enough about the transit map to get anywhere in Miami you want, for a very reasonable price.

First, you have the option to use the Metrorail, an elevated track that can transport you from the Miami International Airport to downtown Miami or to South Beach. A trip on the Metrorail will only cost you US$2.25.

You could also use the Metromover to get around Miami. This is even cheaper than the Metrorail, as it is completely FREE! Unfortunately, the Metromover doesn’t go to South Beach, but if you are in downtown Miami, it can be a very effective way of getting around.

Miami also has a bus system that connects South Beach with the rest of the city. Like the Metrorail, trips on the Metrobus system are only US$2.25. The Metrobus can take you all over South Beach, and to destinations as far as Fort Lauderdale.

To make your public transit experience as smooth as possible, we recommend getting a metro pass, called the EASY Card. These can be purchased at select stations all over Miami, including the airport. If you live in the continental United States, you also have the option to have your EASY Card mailed to your home.


If you are only concerned about getting to and from Congress-related events, then walking is a simply wonderful option. The weather is likely to be lovely, the light exercise may be welcome, and the scenery is just outstanding.

The Loews Miami Beach Hotel is only a 12-minute walk from the Miami Convention Center (where the majority of the Congress will be taking place). If you find you want a snack along the way, there are a wide variety of options around the Convention Center, or a full meal at the incredible restaurants within the Loews Miami Beach Hotel itself, including Lure Fishbar, Bar Collins, Nautilus, and in-room dining.

As the Loews Miami Beach Hotel is right on the water, you don’t have to walk far to get to an incredible beach. Just go from the back door of the hotel to the sand, and you will be all set!

Renting a Car

If you feel that you really don’t want to be without a car during your trip to South Beach, there are a number of options for rentals.

If you’ll be arriving at the Miami International Airport, you will of course find a variety of car rental companies. You can get to them using the MIA Mover, an elevated train system that services the entire airport.

Every car rental company has different policies, insurance plans and rental offerings, so be sure to do your research before you leave home. Unless you are planning on taking a trip into some remote, outlying areas (a possibility post-Congress, if you love nature), you can probably get by with a simple vehicle. You can book the exact car you want up to a few weeks before your flight.

One important thing to remember is that cars drive on the right-hand side of the road in the United States, with the steering wheel on the left-hand side of the car. If you are from a country where you drive on the left side with the steering wheel on the right, this can be a fairly major adjustment. Also, be sure that you have a valid driver’s license issued to you by your home country before you hit the road here in the US.

When you are returning your rental car after the Congress, we recommend that you fill up the gas tank, so you can avoid the sometimes exorbitant refilling fees charged by the rental company.

Many vehicles offered by rental companies come equipped with an onboard GPS navigation system, which can easily pair with your phone for hands-free use. Just make sure that, before you return it when you’re done, you go into the system’s Settings and delete your data, or it will be there for any future renters to find.


If you don’t feel that you need your own car, but you do want to make sure you have transportation readily at hand, you could decide to carpool with some of the other ISAPS Plastic Surgeons who are attending the event. For the sake of convenience, we would recommend you establish your carpooling partners before you leave for the Congress.

With the 2018 ISAPS Congress happening in just over 100 days, you may have a lot of planning to do in a short time! Don’t forget to book your spot at the Congress as soon as possible, as well as your room at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The biggest global aesthetics conference in the world is almost here, so be sure that you are completely prepared to have the best Congress possible, along with your fellow ISAPS Plastic Surgeons!