Planning Orlando travel doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Here are my best tips to ensure that you and your family have a trip filled with memories you will cherish for years to come.
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Planning Orlando Travel? Don’t Miss these Tips!
Are you planning a trip to Orlando (or more likely, Kissimmee) this year?
If you are, chances are you are overwhelmed with all the options. I can help!
I have lived in Orlando for most of the past two years, and I grew up just down the road in Gainesville. To say that I consider the area to be my “home court” would be an understatement.
I haven’t always lived in the area, and during the fifteen years that I lived away, I visited the area like most of you – as a tourist.
So I know how to get the most out of the area like a local even when you are a tourist.
If you are planning a visit, here are some tips for planning Orlando travel.
Set Realistic Expectations
Even if this feels like a once in a lifetime dream vacation, it is important to be honest about where your family is. Consider not only the ages of your children but also the individual personalities of everyone traveling. Some people handle heat and crowds a lot better than others.
(And I’m not just talking about kids!)
How long a four-year-old will last at the parks without a melt down is significantly different than how long a 14-year-old will last.
When planning Orlando travel, the first step should be to get clear on what kind of itinerary will likely work for your family.
If Dad hates crowds, and you have a 6-year old that is too big for a stroller, (but still little enough that they are going get exhausted trying to keep up with adults and teens), don’t try to force being at the parks from open to close. That is a recipe for disaster.
Focus more on creating a fun time with your family than making sure you get to do ALL THE THINGS.
Stay in a Vacation Rental
The lure of staying at resorts can be strong, but trust me – you want to stay in a vacation rental.
Why? Because after long days running around parks in heat that you are probably not used to, you need a place where you can unwind.
A busy resort hotel with people running up and down the halls screaming at all hours is NOT going to help you get the rest you need.
(Speaking from experience here. Nothing is more frustrating than finally getting kids to sleep after an amped up day only to have them woken up by other kids screaming down the hall at midnight. Or to be trying to sleep in after a full day and awaked by people singing in the hallways at 5:45 am.)
A vacation home gives your entire family space. The kids will have room to play, and the adults can enjoy time away from crowds. Plus, you can make a lot of your food, which can help you afford nicer meals in the parks or help you keep your budget in check.
You may be surprised to learn that you can typically rent an entire home for about the same or even less than what you would rent a hotel for. (And with resorts you have to worry about hidden fees – and those can add up!)
When you are looking to plan your Orlando vacation, make sure you check out Vacasa. They are North America’s largest full-service vacation rental management company and have over 13,000 homes across 30 U.S. states and 16 countries.
This gives you the most trusted vacation rental experience. You can book the perfect home for your vacation and look forward to enjoying your family and friends knowing that your home will meet the highest standards of safety, comfort, and cleanliness.
Browse rentals, book confidently, and always get the guaranteed best price on Vacasa.com. And, if you or someone you know owns a vacation rental, consider having Vacasa professionally manage your home.
Plan for Down Time
Whether you are planning a week away, or just a weekend getaway, resist the urge to schedule every moment. Why? Because chances are after a full day of hitting the parks, the whole family is going to be much more exhausted than you counted on.
Trust me on this one!
Even if you are in great shape the high temperatures, walking on concrete and crowds will have you dreaming of a lazy afternoon floating in a pool.
And this is another reason why you want to choose a vacation home.
It is so much more relaxing to spend the afternoon at your own pool than to pack up and haul everything to a crowded resort pool. Plus, if you DO want the big resort pool experience, many neighborhoods in the area have expansive pools and water parks.
Imagine getting back from the parks in the late afternoon after a full day, letting the kids go swimming while the grown-ups grill out and enjoy a beverage.
Sometimes the most simple parts of a trip are the parts you end up cherishing most!
Consider Taking a Break…In the Parks!
I know most of us are on a budget, but I suggest eating at the nicest places that you can make work when you are hitting the parks.
Yes, you can wait in line and grab a burger somewhere. But then you will be standing there with a tray, looking for somewhere where your family can sit together. The air conditioning may or may not be functional.
Once you do find a seat, chances are it is going to be so loud that you won’t be able to engage with your family. (And you will be worried about that teenager trying to balance his tray with ketchup and a soda on it – while texting – that is trying to squeeze into the table that is inches from you.)
Eating at sit down restaurants in the parks gives everyone a much-needed break in the middle of the day. The air will be working, a seat guaranteed, and in most cases, the volume will be low enough that your family can actually connect.
I can’t tell you how much this has been a game changer for our family. There have been times when I’ve been so relaxed at lunch that I forgot that I was even in a park.
Worried about the cost? It is easy to cut expenses elsewhere. For instance, if you are staying in a vacation home, you can cook breakfast and dinner in the kitchen. (And keep it simple – this is, after all, vacation!) That frees up enough room in the budget for a nice meal at lunch.