Florida Travel Blog - Destinations in Florida

Florida Travel Blog 

Travel destinations, beaches and attractions and things to do in Florida. Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

Money Saving Travel Tips for Florida

Planning A Florida Vacation on a Budget

money saving tips for Florida
Follow these tips for making an affordable Florida vacation. You can open a Florida Packing List here.

Florida is a big state. It requires planning to ensure a memorable trip, vacation or getaway. We will expand our Travel Tips for Florida in this post.

Money saving travel tips for Florida are important in today’s economy yet we see hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars wasted just because people didn’t plan their trip more efficiently.

We travel the state about 100 days a year. We travel by automobile, airplane and cruise ships. With that background, we have a perspective that many other travel guides and blogs can’t match.

Below are our tips for traveling in Florida and saving money while you have fun!

Plan Carefully

The internet today makes it possible to find all you need to know about every little crossroads in Florida. You can search Florida Travel Blog, Wikipedia, and TripAdvisor to learn all the facts you need for your trip.

Here are some things you should learn;

  • Exactly where is your destination in Florida.
  • Plan your transportation to get there. If flying, how will you get to your lodging? Where is the closest airport?
  • Where is the best place to stay according to your goals? Is it a private place like a VRBO? Hotel? Resort?
  • What time of year are you planning? Prices are higher from the middle of January through Memorial Day and around major holidays.

Our Tip: Planning at home before you leave can save you a lot of time and money at your destination(s).

Compare Hotels, Airlines and Resorts

florida vacation on a budget - resort
Florida Resorts like this one will range from $325 off-season to over $500 per night during the season.

Hotels, airlines, resorts and other travel resources price their services according to seasonal travel, current demand and special offerings. Many travel booking resources buy blocks of travel from all of the individual suppliers.

For instance, Booking.com may reserve a specific number of rooms at a hotel at a certain price. That means you can actually get hotel rooms cheaper there than directly at the hotel many times. Aggregator sites like Trivago check all the booking sites for the lowest price at each. Most booking sites allow you a specified time to cancel your booking. So don’t be afraid to look at other prices at other places while maintaining your existing reservation.

If you are renting a car, rent before you leave. Do not rely on availability at the airports.

Our Tip: Compare everything and double-check with multiple sources.

Buy Before You Leave

Travel destinations that are popular in Florida have one thing in common – they are expensive! A bottle of water may be $3-4. Buy refillable water bottles before you leave and fill them up at hotels, airports and public facilities. A family could save $40-50 per day. Suntan lotion will be double what you can buy it for on Amazon.

things you need when flying

Polarized sunglasses may be $$30-40 and at Amazon they are much less. Travel accessories at the airport are double what you will find online.

These little things add up quickly. Our Tip: Buy before you leave home!

florida vacation on a budget -people on a beach
A Vacation to Florida on a budget or at a luxury resort all end up the same place – the beach!

Compare Your Bookings

Not only compare as we stated above, but check your hotel reservations, flights, and other pre-arranged travel for lower prices. Seasons change, demand changes, and hotels can decide to start construction after your booking. Even new hotels may open up at your destination with lower room rates as a promotion.

Flights can change prices due to new airlines flying the same route, a change of planes, lack of demand or additional times are offered at a lower cost.

Our Tip:  You can save money by reviewing your travel plans. If you want to compare airline flights, try CheapOair, an aggregator. To compare hotel bookings, you can check the aggregator named Trivago. We have even seen hotels lowering their rates when bookings didn’t meet their expectations – check your rate with the one currently offered.

Plan For Contingencies 

A well-planned vacation is a memorable experience. There are other memorable experiences when planning goes awry and your memories are not pleasant ones.

If you have followed the steps above, the chances of something going wrong are slim but it is wise to know your alternatives. In fact, for an expensive planned family vacation, travel insurance is a good idea to cover all your expenditures.

Our Tip: As you plan your trip, make note of other alternatives. For instance, other airlines flying to your destination and back if your flight is canceled. What happens if a hotel can’t accommodate you? Over booked? Construction issue? What other hotels are nearby? Keep a few notes on alternatives.

More Money Saving Travel Tips for Florida Vacation on a Budget

Taking a Florida vacation on aFlorida vacation on a budget - Florida Packing List budget is entirely possible with careful planning and smart choices. Here are some tips to help you enjoy a memorable vacation in Florida without breaking the bank:

    1. Choose Affordable Accommodations: Look for budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels, motels, vacation rentals, or campgrounds. Consider staying slightly outside popular tourist areas to find better deals.
    2. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons: Avoid traveling during peak tourist seasons, such as holidays and school breaks, when prices for accommodations and attractions are typically higher. Instead, opt for shoulder seasons or mid-week stays for better rates.
    3. Use Price Comparison Websites: Use websites and apps to compare prices for flights, accommodations, rental cars, and activities. Booking in advance and being flexible with travel dates can help you find the best deals.
    4. Consider Alternative Transportation: Instead of renting a car, explore alternative transportation options such as public buses, ridesharing services, bicycles, or walking. Many cities in Florida have reliable public transportation systems that can help you get around affordably.
    5. Pack Light and Bring Essentials: Avoid excess baggage fees by packing light and only bringing essentials. Pack snacks, reusable water bottles, sunscreen, and other necessities to avoid overpriced convenience store purchases.
    6. Take Advantage of
      money saving travel tips for Florida - florida springs
      Florida springs and state parks are very good inexpensive places to go in Florida.
      Free Attractions and Activities: Florida offers many free or low-cost attractions and activities, such as public beaches, parks, nature trails, and cultural events. Research local attractions and take advantage of free admission days or discounts for residents.
    7. Cook Your Own Meals: Save money on dining out by cooking your meals in accommodations with kitchen facilities. Visit local supermarkets or farmers’ markets to purchase groceries and prepare your meals, snacks, and picnic lunches.
    8. Look for Discounted Tickets and Coupons: Many attractions, theme parks, and entertainment venues offer discounted tickets, coupons, or special deals for advance purchase, Florida residents, or certain groups. Research online or check local tourist information centers for savings opportunities.
    9. Explore Free Entertainment Options: Take advantage of free entertainment options such as street performers, live music events, art galleries, and community festivals. Look for free or discounted museum days, outdoor concerts, or cultural performances.
    10. Set a Budget and Stick to It: Determine your vacation budget and track your expenses to avoid overspending. Use cash or budgeting apps to manage your finances and prioritize spending on activities or experiences that matter most to you.

By following these tips and being mindful of your spending, you can use these money saving travel tips for Florida vacation without breaking the bank. With its beautiful beaches, natural attractions, and diverse cultural offerings, Florida has something for every traveler, even those on a budget.

florida on a budget - resort
This is a small resort off the beaten path. Rooms are well under $200 for a lot of amenities.

BONUS: Where Are Some Budget Friendly Areas of Florida

Here are some of the budget-friendly areas of Florida to consider for your trip:

Central Florida:

  • Bartow: This small city boasts a low cost of living and charming historic downtown. You can find affordable accommodations and enjoy outdoor activities like biking and nature walks.
  • Dade City: Nestled in Pasco County, Dade City offers a laid-back atmosphere and affordable housing options. Explore local shops, restaurants, and nearby lakes.
  • Dunedin: This quaint town on the Gulf Coast offers beautiful beaches, a vibrant arts scene, and plenty of budget-friendly dining and accommodation options.
  • Gainesville: This college town buzzes with youthful energy and offers a variety of affordable housing options, restaurants, and entertainment choices.

Northwest Florida:

  • Destin: While not the most budget-friendly option on this list, Destin offers more affordable options outside of peak season. Enjoy stunning beaches, water activities, and family-friendly attractions without breaking the bank.
  • Panama City Beach: This popular beach destination offers a variety of options for budget-conscious travelers, including camping, vacation rentals, and affordable hotels. Enjoy its sugar-white sand beaches and vibrant nightlife.
  • Tallahassee: The state capital of Florida offers a mix of historical charm, cultural attractions, and affordable living. You can find budget-friendly hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Northeast Florida:

  • Jacksonville: Florida’s largest city offers diverse neighborhoods with affordable housing options. Explore its beaches, historical sites, and vibrant arts scene without spending a fortune.
  • St. Augustine: This
    florida on a budget - lighthouse
    This Lighthouse is one of the many historical sights to see in St. Augustine.
    historic city boasts charming architecture, cobblestone streets, and affordable accommodations. Enjoy its unique atmosphere and explore nearby beaches.

Southwest Florida:

  • Cape Coral: This waterfront city offers a relaxed atmosphere, canals, and affordable housing options. Enjoy boating, fishing, and exploring nearby beaches.
  • Fort Myers: This city provides a mix of historical charm, cultural attractions, and affordable living. You can find budget-friendly hotels, restaurants, and outdoor activities.
  • Kissimmee: Home to several theme parks, Kissimmee offers a range of accommodation options catering to different budgets. Explore the theme parks, enjoy nearby lakes, and find affordable dining options.

Additional tips for a budget-friendly Florida trip:

  • Travel during the off-season: Prices for flights, accommodations, and activities are generally lower outside of peak season, typically summer and holidays.
  • Consider alternative accommodation options: Camping, vacation rentals, and hostels can be more affordable than hotels.
  • Cook some meals yourself: Eating out can be expensive, so consider preparing some meals in your accommodation to save money.
  • Take advantage of free activities: Florida offers many free or low-cost activities, such as visiting beaches, state parks, and museums on free days.
  • Utilize public transportation: If available, using public transportation can be a more affordable way to get around than renting a car.

Remember, “budget-friendly” is subjective, and the best option for you will depend on your specific needs and priorities. Do your research, compare prices, and consider these tips to plan an enjoyable and affordable trip to Florida!

Final Thoughts on Money Saving Tips for Florida

Florida vacation on a budget - beach suitcase
Get you suitcase packed and get ready for a memorable Florida vacation!

We end where we started. Florida is a big state that has been welcoming visitors for over one hundred years. Yet, despite the number of visitors, parts of Florida are remote and relatively wild.

In the major metropolitan areas, you will find all the things big cities are known for. In those areas, there are pockets of hotels, resorts and attractions designed for the savvy traveler. 

In between the remote areas and metro areas you will find places like Key West, Fort Myers Beach, Clearwater Beach, Cocoa Beach, St. Augustine and similar towns like these perfectly suited for tourist from around the world.

For the people looking for pure luxury you can find it in Miami Beach, Marco Island, Naples and Orlando.

As you can see there is something for everyone. We hope these money saving tips for Florida help you in your search for destinations in Florida.

Using Reputable Booking Services

When trying to book hotels we use Booking.com. Reserve well in advance as rates go up with demand. You can cancel easier than paying a high price later. You can confirm you have the best rate at Trivago.com

When flying to Florida, our experience is that CheapOair has the best rates from a wide range of airlines. Rates go higher as booking dates get closer. Book as far in advance as possible.

Other travel planning recommendations include:

For Your Convenience, You Can Use the Links Below

All of the links below are reputable booking services we recommend. Each has their own function when planning your Florida vacation. Use them in your planning process to plan a Florida vacation on a budget or a luxury stay.

travel tipsFind your perfect hotel in the right location for your next getaway.

trivagoIf you found that perfect room at a great hotel, let’s see if you got the best price?!?

viator Viator is part of TripAdvisor. Find trips near your destination. Just click on “View More Tours”. 

rental cars

Rentalcars.com is part of the largest car rental network in the world. Have yours waiting.

VRBO is one of the largest vacation rental properties locator in the world.

money saving travel tips for Florida

CheapOair is another aggregator that looks for the best flight deals from all sources.

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