Planning an Affordable Trip to Orlando

InTown Suites Orlando

Many parents want to take their children to visit Orlando, Florida, but think they can’t afford it. Orlando vacations can be expensive, but with the right planning and some creativity, it can actually be very affordable. Here are our tips on how to make the most of your trip to Orlando on a budget.

Travel Off Season
Prices in Orlando fluctuate, and are largely determined by supply and demand. High season, when prices are the most expensive include July, August, Spring and March Break, and any holiday or long weekend. The crowds are at their peak during these times, meaning you’ll be in line longer, and it will take you longer for you to see everything, which means more money spent.

If you travel in the off season, you’ll pay less money and see more! Crowds in Orlando are at their lightest in January, February and in September, when students return to school. If you can travel during these times, you can take advantage of the lower prices. Yes, the weather might be a little cooler in January, but it’s worth the extra savings, just remember to pack a sweater or two!

Accommodations
You can save a lot of money by booking accommodations that are outside of Disney and Universal Studios’ walls. People pay premium rates to stay at the resort hotels in the theme parks, with some room rates reaching $500 a night!   

If you’re willing to drive to the theme parks (don’t worry there’s ample parking at reasonable rates) and stay offsite, accommodations are a fraction of the price. Rates for our InTown Suites Orlando Central location start at only $229.99 per week! This property is only 1 mile from Universal Studios and 8 miles from Disney World.

Pack Light
Many airlines, especially discount lines, have started to charge for checked baggage. $25 per bag might not sound like a lot, but if you’re a family of 4, on a return trip, you could find yourself spending $200 just to bring your luggage. Save money by packing everything into a carry-on bag. Stick with a monochromatic color scheme so all of your tops and bottoms match, and roll your clothes to save room. Socks and underwear can be washed in the sink, and if you find you’ve run out of clothes, InTown Suites locations have self-serve laundry options onsite.

Theme Park Tickets
The most expensive park passes are the ones you buy onsite at the park gates. To save money, buy your tickets well in advance. Disney and Universal often offer deep discounts online during the slow season. If you’ll be visiting the parks over a few days, multiday passes have a cheaper, per-day cost. Sea World offers a combined pass with Busch Gardens which could be a good option if you plan on making the trip to Tampa. It’s best to skip the “hopper” add-on which allows you visit multiple parks on one day, for an additional fee. There is so much to see in each park, that you won’t find the need to skip around.

Pack Snacks
While there are plenty of food options inside Orlando’s theme parks, the prices are rather exorbitant. All of our guest rooms come with complete kitchens, making it easy to eat a filling and inexpensive breakfast before you set out of the day. Pack some healthy snacks that travel easy, like oranges and bananas to keep your hunger at bay.

If you do want to eat in the park, plan for a late lunch, as prices are usually cheaper than at dinner. Having a late lunch will keep you full until the parks close and you get back to your room to make a quick dinner. Here are some ideas for what to stock in your room’s kitchen

Souvenirs
It seems like every ride you exit leads you directly into a gift shop, filled with all kinds of high priced toys and treats. If your kids would like to bring back some mementos from their trip, take them to discount stores outside the resorts. They are located all over Orlando. They sell the same types of gifts for a lot less, and no one back home will be able to tell the difference!

Follow these tips and you’ll find yourself having an amazing vacation in Florida that won’t break the bank, and leaves you money to plan your next trip.

Tips for Packing Light on Extended Stays

Extended Stay Room

When traveling for business or pleasure, it’s best to pack light, even if it is for an extended stay. When you pack everything into a carry-on, not only do you not have to pay additional/overweight baggage feeds, but you won’t have to worry about lost luggage and the hassle of filling out baggage claim forms. You’ll also save time checking in, and upon arrival, you can sail out of the airport, while everyone else from your flight waits at the carousel.

-          Choose lightweight luggage. Many airlines have maximum weight limits to carry on bags. The less your luggage weighs, the more you can pack in it.

-          Pack clothing that is easy to care for and avoid wrinkling. Look for quick drying fabrics in case you do some sink laundry. Many companies make stylish, synthetic clothing options made especially for travelers.  Avoid bringing silks and any items that are labeled ‘dry clean only.’

-          Don’t fold your clothing, roll it. Rolling clothes saves space in your luggage, allowing you to bring more, and this method of packing helps to prevent wrinkles.

-          Stick to neutral colors. Pack clothes that are white/cream, grey, black and or navy in color. Keeping a neutral palate will allow you to easily mix and match your tops and bottoms creating additional outfit options. Each piece should go with at least two other clothing items.

-          Layer up on lightweight fabrics. Pack light pieces of clothing that can be layered or shed depending to keep you cool or warm. If you’re away for an extended stay, the weather can change pretty dramatically. An undershirt, shirt and lightweight cardigan worn together can take the place of (and provide the same amount of warmth) as one bulky sweater in your luggage. 

-          Bring minimal footwear. Shoes quickly add weight and bulk to suitcases. Travel light by picking basic shoes that will go with everything. One pair of casual shoes and one pair of dress shoes or heels will get you through most situations.

-          Change up your looks with accessories. Jewelry can quickly jazz up the look of an outfit, taking you from day to night, and it takes up minimal space in your suitcase. For men, it’s as easy as bringing a few different ties, and pocket squares for your blazers.

-          Skip the toiletries. If you’re away for an extended stay, chances are you’ll need more toothpaste and shampoo than what’s allowed in your carry on. Plan to stop by a pharmacy to buy what you need upon your arrival.

-          Don’t pack ‘just in case’ items. If you find yourself trying to justify bringing something because you might use it just in case, keep it at home. Chances are you won’t need it, and in worst case scenarios, you can always buy what you need when the situation arises.

-          Choose accommodations that have on site laundry. If you stay at a location that has laundry facilities, it can really extended the length of time you can live out of the clothes in your suitcase. To save money, avoid guest laundry services that charge per piece and instead look for self-service laundry options.

If you’re used to traveling with a lot of luggage, it may take a few trips to get used to packing light, but before too long you’ll be a convert!

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