So, you’ve always dreamed of taking that dream vacation in Florida during the long, cold winter months, but once again this year you just couldn’t fit it into your budget. If you start planning now, there is no reason why you can’t be ready for high season next year. These five tips will show you how it’s done.
Imagine the millions of visitors who travel up and down the East Coast each and every year with their final destination the sunny beaches of Florida in January, when the rest of the nation is blanketed in snow. They find a way to do it, don’t they? Here’s what they do.
1) Plan Well in Advance
The key to taking an affordable vacation in Florida is to plan well in advance. Visitors from Canada come back year after year and the way they are able to afford it is to start making reservations the year before. In fact, many people book their hotels over a year in advance. By locking in dates and rates, you can often get some of the most amazing deals on hotels in sunny South Florida.
While some visitors choose the northern attractions for winter vacation, they usually end up further south the next year. Remember, Florida is a very long state so the further north you get, the colder it will be. If you are vacationing to get away from the cold, you need to stay farther south and that means booking early so you get the best rates at the hotels of your choice.
2) Don’t Waste Money on Traveling Around
While some visitors choose to drive to Florida, others don’t like the hassle of finding and paying for parking for an entire season. Instead, they either fly into Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in the south and any of the others up the coast, depending on how far south they will be staying. Public transportation runs 7 days a week in most cities, but most people spend the bulk of their time on the beach and only take side excursions a few times during their stay.
If you are going to be taking time away from your fun in the sun to visit some of the many amazing theme parks and attractions in Florida, you would be best served to take a cost effective shuttle service like Florida Shuttle Now. You can go from Miami to Orlando for less than half the price of other ‘cheap’ modes of transportation and with weekly or monthly rates you can save a ton of money. Sometimes you can even travel round trip for less than 1/3 of what it would take you on a Greyhound bus or Amtrak train. If you know how to find cheap modes of transportation it really does pay to leave your car at home.
3) Stay West of A1A on East Coast Vacations and Book Smaller Hotels
Another tip for those looking to book hotels in Florida is to learn how prices literally jump through the roof the closer you get to the beach. If you understand how the highways and major roadways in Florida run, you will understand what A1A means to Florida tourists. It is a historic barrier between high-cost hotels and reasonable rates. It is only a block from the beach in most areas, but far enough away to warrant cheaper room rates. Yes, most of the hotels are going to be east of A1A but there are also thousands to the west as well.
Also, there are many, many smaller hotels that have great seasonal rates. If you intend to stay for an entire season, you can find smaller hotels on the side streets off the beach which include kitchens for cooking and all the amenities you need to keep your vacation costs low. Most don’t offer maid service for seasonal bookings but if you are going to be in Florida for several months, you probably don’t want someone trudging into your ‘home’ several days a week.
The key takeaway here is to stay a bit farther from the beach and book smaller hotels. You won’t get the services you would at a Day’s Inn or a Ramada, but you will get affordable prices at clean family owned and operated motels that make you feel more at home.
4) Shop for Bundled Packages
One of the tricks to being able to afford visiting several of Florida’s many attractions is to shop for bundled packages. For example, when visiting Disney World, you might want to get tickets for Epcot Center at the very same time. Spending a week in Orlando? Why not look for bundled packages that include Universal Orlando or Islands of Adventure. The more attractions you can book together in a bundle, the better your rates will be!
5) Travel Light
Finally, you really don’t need to pack as if you were moving to a new location. Yes, you will be staying a long period of time, but don’t forget, those little motels and hotels have dishes, pans and utensils to cook with as well as sheets for the beds, towels and other housewares you’ll need to be comfortable in your unit.
Also, Florida is home to some of the world’s largest bargain stores, flea markets and swap shops so you can always buy clothing and other necessities once you are there if you need to. Gone are the days of free baggage on most of the major airlines, so always travel light. The more you pack, the more you’ll pay.
With these 5 tips, you should be able to enjoy an entire season in Florida – even on a budget. Although winter seems a long way away, when it comes to getting great prices at popular hotels and attractions, it pays to book well in advance. There isn’t time to procrastinate when so many others are looking forward to getting a season of sun next winter. Book early and then you’ll have plenty of time to scout around for good deals on everything else.