Here is my guide to saving money on a holiday to Orlando.
- Booking a hotel and flight yourself often has considerable savings on a package holiday. If you are new to this get a holiday brochure for ideas and replicate the package you like. Book using a credit card for extra protection.
- To compare the cost of flights use websites such as Skyscanner and Kayak. When you are ready to book a flight online, clear your cookies on your computer or go incognito or through private browsing, as it may give you a cheaper price.
- If you are nervous of a DIY holiday consider a package with ATOL protected companies such as Low Cost USA, Ocean Florida and Teletext Holidays, companies that are very cost effective.
- If you can avoid peak times such as school holidays in the UK, Christmas and Spring Break everything will be considerably cheaper. Booking a flight midweek is often cheaper than the weekend too.
- You have to buy an ESTA to travel to the US for a small fee. Beware unofficial sites that can charge you extortionate prices.
- If you are buying travel products and accessories such as adaptors, travel cushions and suncream have a look in your local reputable bargain shop such as BM Bargains or Poundland. Much cheaper than buying at the airport.
- If you are looking to stay in Disney accommodation, there are often offers for free Disney Dining if you buy park tickets at the same time.
- Consider staying in a villa or apartment with self catering facilities. It can save a fortune even if you only have breakfast there every day.
- If you are looking to book a hotel, check out the popular budget chains such as Homewood Suites which give free breakfast and happy hours with complimentary snacks and drinks.
- Travelzoo and Groupon have regular deals for Orlando on hotels, attractions and restaurants. Go to the US version of these sites for the best deals and when you go to pay use the zipcode of the accommodation you are staying at.
- Sign up for emails with hotels and restaurants before you go for special offers. It's worth registering with the restaurants just before you go as occasionally they will send you a discount voucher via email straight away or a couple of weeks after you sign up. If you have a birthday while you are out there you may get freebies too.
- Hiring a car can save on taxis if you are not centrally located, but you do have to budget for petrol and parking in the parks. Alternatively use public transport - the Lynx bus goes from International Drive to the main tourist attractions and the IRide Trolley goes up and down International Drive. Some hotels have shuttle buses too.
- If you do hire a car consider renting a SatNav from eBay or buying one in Walmart. This is much cheaper than hiring one from a car hire company and if you buy one you can resell it later or keep for next time. Alternatively if you have a smart phone the Navmii app allows you to use your phone as a SatNav.
- Most parks will let you take in snacks and drinks, and some are even more lenient. It's not unheard of for families to take a picnic into some of the theme parks. Always check with the attraction website first though for restrictions. Refillable cups in Disney and Universal parks can also be cost effective if you are going to be there all day.
- If you are happy drinking water you can get a cup of iced water free in most theme parks. This can save a fortune on soft drinks. I have heard of families taking a small bottle of concentrated squash to add to the water for fussy kids.
- If you are booking any tours in advance search for discount codes online. Sites such as Viator often have discount codes at certain times of the year. Check their social media pages.
- Portions can be huge, especially appetisers. Consider sharing portions - most places will let you do that if you are not in a upmarket restaurant. Some restaurants may charge a fee to split the meal, most won't but you can still save money.
- Buy souvenirs outside of the parks as it is much cheaper. Most of the outlet malls have Disney merchandise for sale as well as Walmart.
- Give your children an allowance for the holiday for souvenirs. This helps them manage their own money and really think about buying any extras. Reinforce that once their money is gone, it's gone.
- If you stay in one of the Universal hotels, you will be within a short walk or boat ride to the parks, get early admission and if you stay in the three main hotels, you will get free express passes too. The convenience of staying on site with early admission and free express passes can be worth the extra cost.
- Look out for free coupon books in supermarkets and hotels or search online for 'coupon books Orlando' and print off to take with you on holiday. You can get many discounts for restaurants and attractions this way.
- If you have children the 'Kids Eat Free Card' can save you money. For about 20 dollars for the card you get one free child's meal with every adult main meal for 90 days.
- If you are a member of the Automobile Association in the UK (The AA) you can use your card for discounts in the US. If you see AAA discount accepted - show the Arc Europe sign on the back of your card. This link explains more.
- Some hotel chains and many attractions will give a senior discount. It's always worth asking or if booking online search for senior discount and the hotel chain. Age and discounts can vary but Best Western give 10% off to those over the age of 55 for example.
- If you have a smart phone look out for apps to save money. For example Free Prints gives you a number of photo prints free, Touchnote allows you to send your photos as free personalised postcards and Free Wi-Fi finder allows you to find free wi-fi.
If you liked these tips have a read of my Top 10 Tips - Planning A Holiday To Orlando
Tell me do you have any holiday money saving tips?