Saving money in orlando
The best way to approach money saving tips for your Florida holiday is to look at the biggest costs first of all, and work down.
– Overall cost. Use a cashback site such as www.Quidco.com to earn cashback for purchasing a product you were going to get anyway. We usually save 10 percent on our car hire this way.
– Flights. Fly out of season if you can. Check out the airline’s timetable but look before and after by a few days and see what flights are lowest. Skyscanner is another good site to see what airlines are lowest cost. Some airports can be a lot cheaper than others too, so if you are flexible use Skyscanner to search throughout the country for your Flight. Consider flying in and out of Miami. It could be cheaper and most hire car companies will allow you to drop the car off at a different airport for a small charge. Lastly, use a flight price checker site to monitor costs – they can go up and down on an hourly basis. Be careful though, last minute cheap flights don’t exist any more.
– Accommodation. Villa vs Hotel? A cheap apartment with a single king sized bed will cost on average 20-30 percent less than a villa. Therefore for any group of 4 or more a villa will work out cheaper per person per night. This is before you oven consider the fact that a villa is private, more relaxing, and offers more freedom and no fighting for sun loungers!
– Eating out. This can be a huge cost during a holiday. Get a villa and avoid having to eat out in the evenings and mornings. Pop down to Publix and buy a few groceries and your food bill will be reduced by 50 percent straight away. A villa offers all the cooking utensils you need and there’s no arguing about who’s the designated driver! Having groceries stored in the fridge means it’s more like being at home – food when you want it, and not at an inflated price. Don’t buy UK food, always get the local produce. Dine around the pool and enjoy the Florida sun. During the day, you are allowed snacks in theme parks so make sure you get plenty of snacks and drinks before you go into the parks. I usually buy a 24/48 pack of water and leave it in the back of the hire car.
– Car hire / rental booking & pickup. Always make sure you have compared buying separate car hire with a combination flight + car package. We have done both methods in the past to get the best deal. When collecting your car don’t tick any hire car options before reading what they are! This is a classic mistake when picking up a car at the airport where they hope you’ll not pay any attention because you just want to be on your way to the villa. The only option I ever bother with is the 2nd driver and fuel package, but this is when booking, not when picking it up.
– Car hire / rental. Calculate if you really need the toll pass. We don’t usually bother with toll roads at all. It’s a personal choice. Fill up the tank with cash because credit cards add a hefty percentage on at some gas / petrol stations. Watch out for the extras. Sat Nav – I’d not bother, just ask for a map. Child seat – most airlines allow you a luggage item when you pay for your child, so pack the seat as a luggage item instead. We bought a Britax 2nd hand seat for £20 from the UK before we went on our last vacation, and packed this. Extra insurance – it’s expensive for what it is, so make an educated decision. Do you need the full tank option? Check the rate they will charge if you forget to fill up at the end. If you don’t get the full tank option make sure you fill it up as close to Orlando Airport as you can (there are gas stations just a few miles away).
– Theme Parks. Unfortunately Disney don’t tend to do big discounts, but a multi day pass will work out well, and always watch out for parking costs which can mount up. Seaworld do a great second visit for $10 at the moment, and bulk Seaworld / Busch Gardens park tickets can offer great value for 14 day unlimited entry. There are a lot of discount ticket providers around, my advice is to check out the official online site and then compare and buy before you go to avoid the hassle when you arrive. Try to take your own drink / snacks into the parks. They don’t frown upon it but generally do ban coolers for obvious reasons! Do not take sandwiches or anything that looks like a main meal.
– Insurance. Shop around on price comparison sites and cashback sites. You’ll be amazed at what your credit card might cover as well, although medical insurance is vital in the USA. I normally pay less than £10 per person on our travel and medical insurance. For specialist medical insurance try Medici.
– Coupons / vouchers. These are the final way to save money on eating out and groceries. Every store and shop has a coupon booklet. Pick one up and see what bargains you can get!
– Cheap things to do in Florida. Of course the biggest attractions in Orlando Florida are the theme parks, but remember there are plenty of things to do and places to see that are cheap. State parks offer a great value way of spending a day out – Lake Louisa state park is very near Orlando.
– Free things to do in Florida. It’s easy to forget about the places you can visit that are free in Orlando. Plenty of them also have Disney attractions so you don’t have to spend a fortune every day to visit Mickey and his friends! Celebration Town, Old Town, Downtown Disney, Historic Kissimmee. Further afield there are the Florida Keys and Everglades.
I hope this gives you an idea for money saving tips when you next visit our villa. Saving money in Orlando isn’t as difficult as it seems, and can be just as enjoyable!