A recent study conducted by the Family Travel Association in conjunction with ny University found that 55 percent of oldsters with children under 18 don’t take all of their vacation days. the amount one reason given? Affordability of vacations. This made me want to tackle this issue head on with one among the foremost popular family destinations — Florida. So let’s mention the way to plan a family trip to Florida on a budget.
And once we say “on a budget”, we realize that each trip features a budget. Some are $2,000 and a few are $20,000. except for these purposes we are getting to check out a limited budget that’s reasonable and practical — offering family fun while not going thus far on require couch surfing or camping in someone’s back yard.
Planning a Budget Family Trip to Florida
Since often an enormous chunk of the holiday budget is that the transportation cost of getting there, transportation costs also play into where to travel . for instance , if you’ll find an inexpensive flight to Orlando, it’d pay to travel there versus flying to a smaller airport like Panama City.
If you’re driving to Florida, you’ll want to seem at the Panhandle and places like Destin or Fort Walton Beach. in fact you’ve got tons more flexibility once you are driving versus flying, although some destinations will fret some time more thanks to distance.
The major airports in Florida are:
Orlando, which services central Florida and over to the Space Coast/Daytona Beach on the East Coast
Fort Lauderdale, which services south Florida including Hollywood, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton
Miami, which services Miami up to Fort Lauderdale and right down to the key
Tampa, which services Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater Beach, Anna Maria Island, Siesta Key, and beyond
Southwest Florida Airport, which services Fort Myers , the barrier islands including Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, Naples, and Marco Island
Finding Affordable Airfare
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Luckily, Florida airports are well-serviced by budget carriers and a few of the larger hubs even have competitive rates from legacy carriers. Let’s check out a couple of examples.
Love them or hate them, Spirit Airlines offers affordable fares, especially if you aren’t particular about your seat assignment and buy the add-ons like luggage once you book. Spirit has over 40 direct flights to Orlando, over 50 direct flights to Fort Lauderdale , about 15 nonstop flights to Fort Myers , over 20 nonstop flights to Tampa, and three nonstop flights to Jacksonville.
Frontier is another low cost carrier which, especially with its “Kids Fly Free” deals, offers great value to families. Frontier offers direct flights into Fort Lauderdale , Fort Myers, Orlando, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Miami, Sarasota, and West Palm Beach .
Southwest can also offer competitive fares with over 30 nonstop flights into Tampa, over 40 into Fort Lauderdale , over 40 nonstops into Orlando, 20 into Fort Myers , and even 10+ into Panama City Beach/Northwest Florida Beaches.
The first step would be to think about what airlines fly out of your home airport and see which supply direct flights at affordable prices. confine mind that if you’ll be flexible together with your dates and times, you’ll be ready to economize . Signing up for fare deal alerts or using services like Dollar Flight Club also assist you cash in of great fare sales.
Finding Affordable Accommodations
Once you’ve got decided where you’ll fly to within your budget, then it’s time to seek out a reasonable place to remain . Of the varied airports we discussed above, you’re getting to find the foremost options for affordable accommodations in Orlando.
Although if you’re headed to Orlando, you’ll then be tempted to splurge once your kids realize they’re so on the brink of Disney, Universal Orlando, and Legoland. Of course, even a number of the off-the-beaten path Orlando attractions can get a touch pricey.
To save some money but still celebrate , i might recommend trying to find an Orlando hotel with an excellent pool. confine mind that Kissimmee and Central Florida also are filled with vacation rental homes. If you’ll travel with another family and share the value of a vacation rental, you not only keep your costs down, you furthermore may have inbuilt playmates for the kids!
Another alternative is to remain at a beach known for affordable lodging in order that you’ll specialise in beach and pool time, with just a couple of other paid activities scattered in. If you fly into Orlando, it’s only an hour drive over to Cocoa Beach or New Smyrna Beach, which are known to supply affordable accommodations. you’ll even break up your trip between Orlando and therefore the coast to possess a touch of beach time plus a touch of play time.
Flying into West Palm Beach or Orlando, you’ll head over to quieter, and affordable Vero Beach or Port St. Lucie on the Atlantic Coast .
If you fly into Tampa on the Gulf Coast , you’ll find great deals (and free activities) in Clearwater. you’ll enjoy the nice and cozy waters of the Gulf of Mexico and therefore the soft white sand beaches.
And if you fly into Miami, head right down to family-friendly Marathon Key within the key for a few laid back living during a vacation rental or traditional motel. Plan each day trip to Key West and hang around at Bahia State Park.
To find hotel deals in any of those destinations, I typically address the following:
Vacation home rentals – I search VRBO or check out the local tourism board’s website for listing from local land agents that concentrate on vacation rentals.
Hotels – for hotel deals, I tend to see for deals on Priceline, Hotels.com, or Booking.com.
For eleventh hour bookings, I look on Hotel Tonight (which actually gives pricing up to seven days in advance). Get $25 off your booking with my referral code TGRUBER7.
You can also search for time share rentals by owner on sites like SellMyTimeShareNow or RedWeek. Just make certain to try to to your due diligence and use a platform that gives some consumer protections.
Be sure to read reviews carefully! On many of those platforms, you’ll also look for hotels that have money saving amenities like free parking, free breakfast, and free WiFi. watch out for hidden fees like resort fees and valet or on-site parking.
Saving Money on Activities
A little Internet sleuthing using blogs and Pinterest will offer you an honest idea of the items to try to to in your destination, and a few ways to save lots of money. These are my go-to resources for saving money on attractions.
Undercover Tourist – if you’ll be visiting theme parks or other attractions, you’ll usually find discount tickets to Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and more using Undercover Tourist.
CityPASS – if you’re visiting Clearwater, Tampa, or St. Pete, the Tampa Bay CityPASS includes admission to Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and either the Museum of Science & Industry or Chihuly Collection and may prevent up to 54% on admission.
Groupon – always check the local Groupon for deals on dining, attractions, and other local entertainment
Best of Orlando – if you’re getting to Orlando, better of Orlando offers deals on theme dining, attractions, and activities like airboat rides.
AAA – if you’re a AAA member, likelihood is that you’ll get a reduction at certain attractions. It never hurts to ask or search for the AAA symbol. Same are often said for AARP and other membership organizations.
Reciprocal memberships – if you’re a member of a zoo, aquarium, or children’s museum in your home city, check to ascertain what reciprocal arrangements they’ll have with attractions within the area you’re visiting.
Another way to save lots of money on attractions is by booking online. numerous waterparks, airboat tours, and other attractions offer discounts once you buy tickets or book online. you’ll do that beforehand or once you arrive.
Also grab a number of those brochures you discover at visitors’ centers or restaurants and see if you’ll find any coupon codes. It never hurts to try to to a Google look for “attraction name coupon code” or “attraction name promo code” and see what shows up too!
A final tip is to see out the web site for the local tourism board (usually found by searching “Visit + Destination Name” or “Destination name + tourism board.” Many offer discount passes or coupon booklets.
Last but not least, check the tourism website for articles on free things to try to to therein area, or search Google/Pinterest for “free things to try to to in destination name.” you’ll find info on parks, museums, and other attractions that are liberal to the general public — or a minimum of free on certain days/times.
I hope that this provides you some ideas of affordable vacation destinations in Florida and ways to save lots of on your family trip to Florida. If you’re still having trouble finding the allow a vacation, maybe this may help.
How to Win a Free Vacation
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