It's no secret that I love Orlando, Florida. It's where Tony proposed, it's where I've been on holiday for the past 3 years and it's where we definitely want our honeymoon (with a few upgrades!). I knew that realistically, we couldn't afford to go to Florida again this year, and we'd have to wait for our honeymoon next year. This upset me more than I am willing to admit, so I’m really excited that we’ve managed to grab an absolute bargain for a week away in Florida later this year. I thought this would be the perfect time to bring you a series of blog posts talking about how to save money on a trip to Florida.
People often think that going to Orlando is expensive, but it doesn't have to be. You can do Orlando on almost any budget, and during this series I'll be providing you information on how to get the best value and decide whether you can afford a holiday there.
Before you do anything, make sure that you've signed up to a cash back website – where you're paid for purchasing something through a link they provide. I'd recommend signing up to Quidco, Topcashback and Fat Cheese.
You've got two options when looking at your flight – you can look for a package holiday which includes your flight, hotel and often airport transfers, or you can “DIY” and book them all separately. This is now my fourth time going to Orlando, and each time it has worked out cheaper to DIY and book everything myself.
If you want to look at booking your flights and hotel together, I can strongly recommend ebookers and Tesco Compare Holidays.
Getting your flight can be the trickiest bit – everything else can fall in to place later, but you need a flight, and you need to book before they're sold out. If there are very set dates that you must travel (school holidays, annual leave, etc) then you’ll want to get your flights booked ASAP, before prices increase or seats sell out. If you're free to book your holiday any time then you’ll have more options when booking your flights, and more chance of getting a great deal.
You can fly direct to Orlando International Airport, or Sanford airport (still in Orlando), or you can fly indirect. I’ve flown both direct and indirect, and honestly, they both have their pros.
Gets you to Orlando faster
Less time spent travelling
Clear immigration elsewhere in America – saving you lots of time at Orlando
Saves you from £100 upwards as opposed to flying direct
Start pricing your flights using various sites – I like to look at Last minute and Skyscanner – I find that Lastminute is generally more up to date than Skyscanner, as they had the Virgin Atlantic sales prices listed, whereas Skyscanner were listing Virgin Atalantic flights for double the price. There's also Kayak and Google flights. Keep an eye on how the flight prices fluctuate, and you’ll get a feeling of when is a good time to book. When looking at the prices, make sure that baggage is included. It is included with Delta, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, but Monarch charge £43 for a bag. I have never paid more than £500 for a flight, including the credit card fee.
If your dates are flexible then be sure to check the prices for different dates. We saved over £150 each by flying back home a day later than we originally planned. Airlines often have sales too – especially at Christmas and Easter. That’s how we managed to bag direct flights with Virgin for £438.99.
When you are ready to book, be sure to go through the cash back websites (Quidco, Topcashback and Fat Cheese) before purchasing your flights, so that you can get a little bit of money back on the purchase.
Once you’ve purchased your flights, be sure to sign up to the airline’s loyalty scheme. These schemes award you air miles every time that you fly. Even if you’re not planning on flying for awhile, and even though you may not fly with the same airline, you may as well rack up the air miles whilst you can.