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I'll be traveling Europe-South America with a 12 hour layover in Miami. I'm trying to figure out how to make the best of it, but the logistics are tricky.

The inbound flight arrives around 5 am, the outbound flight leaves around 5 pm, and I'll probably have a suitcase and a carry-on.

Besides the luggage (which I could leave at the baggage storage at the airport), having a room to have a shower and maybe a nap would be great. Could find a hotel close to the airport and go sightseeing a bit, but 5 am is far too early for check-in, and 5 pm is too early to justify getting an hotel for the night. Given these 12 hours, I also won't be able to drop my suitcase for the next flight. Could book the previous night in a hotel as well, but feels like a waste of money.

Any suggestions?

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    While not a hotel room, I remember the Admiral Lounge opens pretty early which you can use to take a shower, sit down and have a bite. Which airline are you flying with ? – blackbird Oct 20 '16 at 18:49
  • @blackbird Great idea! I'm flying AA, but I don't qualify for any special membership. Can you buy a day pass on this one? – ggambett Oct 21 '16 at 7:01
  • @ggambett I was just adding this tip to my answer, haven't been able to confirm that. Also, there are apparently renovations underway at MIA, so that might not be such a great option at the moment. – Relaxed Oct 21 '16 at 8:30
  • I didn't qualify either, I paid to get access – blackbird Oct 21 '16 at 10:22
  • @blackbird In Miami specifically? The language on the website suggests it depends on the airport, which is why I wasn't sure. – Relaxed Oct 21 '16 at 10:35
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My suggestion would be to book an hotel for the night where you arrive and ask for a late check out. This way, you could leave the hotel around 2-3 PM to be ready for your next flight. You could find cheap hotels in the airport area (starting 50 € / night). This is expensive if this is just for a shower but you could also relax around the pool after that.

Then the airport has a page where you can read what to do during a layover : http://www.miami-airport.com/what_to_do_during_layovers.asp

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    If you're going to do this, I would make sure you talk to the hotel before you book. The hotel might give away your room as a no-show and/or not be able to offer you the late check out if you do this without checking first. Call up the hotel, and they can promise you a day room if that's something they are able to offer. – Zach Lipton Oct 20 '16 at 17:54
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    Agree, you need to specify that you won't be showing up before 5 AM. Give them your flight number. And also confirm the late check out. Some hotels are able to guarantee this depending on how booked it is. – Olielo Oct 20 '16 at 17:57
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Not necessarily cheap but “day room” or “day use room” are a thing. Sometimes it's with something else in mind but around an airport, it would not raise any eyebrows. It should at least be cheaper than booking a room for the night (let alone two!) and hoping a booking for the previous night would allow you to stay that late in the afternoon. One downside is that you might need to wait a bit before checking in (it's most profitable for the hotel if sell all rooms for the night and then sell them again for day use so they might not have anything available at 5 AM).

A quick google search suggests the Hilton offers this for example but I am sure there must be others.

Alternatively, you could also consider using an airport lounge, as suggested by @blackbird. They are typically opened to frequent flyers or business and first class passengers but if that's not your case, it's often possible to simply pay to access the lounge. It might seem a bit pricey for what you get but still cheaper than one or two hotel nights (a one-day pass for “Admirals Club” lounges is $59). Most have showers, a quiet space to have a nap (not necessarily a proper bed however), snacks or beverages.

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    Does a European even care how high are the eyebrows of someone in Miami? – WGroleau Oct 20 '16 at 22:18
  • @WGroleau Maybe not, good point! – Relaxed Oct 20 '16 at 22:19
  • @WGroleau Can confirm, I don't :) – ggambett Oct 21 '16 at 9:00

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