My neck of the woods has experienced record snowfalls this winter. And with another storm approaching, it doesn’t appear that there is an end in sight. I’m dreaming of the day we go on vacation to enjoy the hot sun and beautiful sandy beaches of Florida. So today I’m sharing 7 things that we do, to help us save on our trip.
7 Tips to Help You Save On A Florida Vacation
1. Drive there.
We live in Pennsylvania and I know it sounds crazy, but yes we drive to Florida each time we go there. Why? For two reasons: we save a boatload of money and we enjoy the road trip there. We’ll rent a vehicle, pack up food/drinks, fill up with gas in states that have cheaper gas prices and rent a hotel room half way there to rest. The costs of the car rental, gas and one night hotel stay is still a lot cheaper than flying all of us there. Plus we have the car to go wherever we please once we’re in Florida.
2. Go during off-season.
I can’t stress this enough. When booking your Florida trip avoid going during spring break, holidays and any month that’s considered peak season. The hotel prices and tickets to attractions will cost a lot more during these periods. Bonus: you’ll notice the parks are a lot less crowded as well. Compare prices on various travel sites and test out different dates. Sign up for alerts from your top hotel choices to get discount codes and to stay updated on specials.
3. Stay off-site.
We have saved a lot of money by staying in hotels that are just a short drive from major attractions. We always end up paying a lot less for a larger suite equipped with a kitchen. This year we plan on renting an entire house for the cost of a hotel room! I recommend sites like VRBO.com. Just make sure to read the reviews and research before booking. We also don’t go to theme parks for the entire trip; we check out local parks and beaches which gives us a nice break.
4. Buy tickets online.
If you plan on going to Disney parks or Universal Studios, make sure you purchase your tickets online. Right now Universal Studios has a great deal going on. A two-day ticket cost $146.99 (adult price) which is $20 less than the gate price. That’s a savings of $100 for a family of five! You’ll also have access to both parks and will receive a coupon book loaded with $150 worth of savings. These deals vary by season so I suggest purchasing tickets during the off-season if you know you’ll be going later in the year.
5. Buy groceries.
Once we have settled into our home away from home, we find a grocery store and go prepared with a list of things we’ll need. We focus more on easy breakfast items such as cereals, bread, waffles, etc. As well as drinks and snacks. The last time we were there we had access to continental breakfast which was great, but not all hotels offer this. We also made a Thanksgiving meal one year since we had a full size kitchen in our room. Just make sure your room has a small kitchen and if possible, other kitchen appliances as well.
6. Take snacks to the park and get free water.
For many years I didn’t know that major theme parks allow guests to take snacks and bottled water into the parks. The general rule is no food that requires heating (check out individual park policy for more details). Since we load up on breakfast in our room, we’ll take snacks for the kids along with bottled water. You can also get free ice water (in a cup) at the parks. Some will only give you the ice, but you can fill up your cup at a water fountain. If you’re like me and don’t like the taste of tap water, take single juice flavored packets to add to your water. You can also purchase a water filter bottle to help with the taste.
7. Buy souvenirs at a chain store.
I never purchase souvenirs at the theme parks. Instead, I go to a major chain store like Walmart or Target. These stores offer a large selection of Disney, Universal and Florida themed souvenirs for a lot less. If there is something you really want that is only sold by Disney, check out their online store. You’ll find a lot of the same products for a lot less than what the parks sell them for. Also, set a budget for each child and make sure they know they can’t go over that amount. It will help put a stop to the “I wants” and help prevent any overspending.
So these are just some tips that helps us save on our vacation and I hope will help you on your next Florida trip.
I’m always looking for new ways to save, so please feel free to comment and share your own money saving tips below!
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