You’re desperate for a vacation but the budget is stretched to its max. The folks along International Drive, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and home to SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, Aquatica Sea World’s Park, Wet ‘n Wild, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, have put together 12 tips to help you stretch your dollar this summer.
2. Check out “hot deals” at www.internationaldriveorlando.com. Area accommodations, attractions and restaurants list their current hot deals online.
3. Shop online for the best deals on accommodations. Check and compare the best rates and book reservations online.
4. Ask about special room rates. When calling a hotel for reservations, ask about the property’s “best” rates for the season, including AARP, AAA, or special offers.
5. Have the largest meal at lunch when prices are lower. Then go light on dinner. Check for coupons (see tip #6) that allow kids to eat free, two for one meals and other deals. And, when booking your hotel, select one that offers free breakfast. Have a hearty start to the day, snack for lunch and use a coupon for dinner. Make sure the room has a refrigerator for storing drinks and snacks!
6. Cost-saving coupons. Be sure to check out the more than $500 worth of coupons on the I-Ride Trolley map and in the Official Visitors Guide. The map can be downloaded at www.iridetrolley.com or you may pick up one when you arrive.
7. Orlando is offering bundles of travel offers with the “Bundles of Free Smiles” promotion. Created by the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau for travelers searching for a cost-effective vacation option, the program groups together deals from throughout the destination under the theme of “free.” Offers include area attractions, dining and accommodations such as Rosen Shingle Creek, SeaWorld Orlando, Pirates Dinner Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort. Be sure to check out the special rates at Southwest Airlines.
8. Save $$$ at the theme parks. Check websites and online outlets for discount coupons. Many have two for one tickets or dollars off family discounts depending upon the time of year. Tip: Have a day at one of the major theme parks and then have a day at one of the areas smaller family parks that are less expensive but lots of fun! Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Fun Spot Action Park, Magical Midway, WonderWorks…are just a few!
9. For the best savings travel in the off season. Late spring and fall are traditionally the value periods where visitors find the best rates. The kids are in school. Weather is nice. Plus, lines are shorter.
10. Explore the cultural side of Orlando. Take a break from the theme parks and visit one of the area’s museums…and save some money! The Morse Museum in Winter Park offers visitors free admission to see its fabulous collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass on Friday from 4-8 p.m., November through April.
11. Combine entertainment with dining! Take advantage of the many themed dining venues along I-Drive. Have a meal while being entertained: Pirates Dinner Adventure, Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows, Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, Mahahiki Luau at SeaWorld.
12. Save lots of $$$ shopping at I-Drive’s famous outlets…all accessible by the I-Drive Trolley! In addition to the regular outlet savings, check with visitor services at each location for special coupons and special promotions for further savings. Don’t miss these outlets: Prime Outlets International, Orlando Premium Outlets, Festival Bay Mall.