By Kalpana Fitzpatrick, Mummy Money Matters
Holidays are all about creating memories and quality time with the family - in Orlando, you certainly get that, and more.
It's a dream destination, not just because of the magic of Walt Disney World, but also the endless adventures offered by Universal Orlando and SeaWorld, not to mention the shopping, dining and entertainment.
Most families will have saved hard for such holidays and the good news is, consumers are super savvy when it comes to booking these holidays, meaning we bag the best deals on flights, accommodation and even get the best deal for travel money.
But it seems we are not so savvy when we get to our holiday destination, resulting in some holidaymakers going over their budget by as much as £1,000.
Although 60% say they go abroad with a budget, 25% exceed it by £250 and one in five between go over budget between £250 to £1,000.
Some families could end up paying for this additional spend for months.
Not booking excursions and attractions in advance is one of the main reason for the overspend, but there are plenty of other ways you can save money when on holiday in Orlando, or any where else in fact.
Last month, I went to Orlando with my six-year-old son and here I share some of my top money saving tips for families planning to visit Orlando soon.
- Plan ahead. Book park tickets in advance to take advantage of the best price as well as bonus vouchers. At Universal Orlando, for example, advance two park bonus ticket cost less than two single day entry tickets and also includes all-club access to the live entertainment at Universal CityWalk.
- Visit tourist websites like VisitOrlando.com, where you can see what's on, bag some discounts, and help plan your visit.
- When in Orlando, I found it useful to buy refill cups, rather than paying for drinks every time. A refill cup allows you pay a one-off fee with free refills throughout your stay and includes a souvenir cup you keep. It can save you money if you're staying there for a couple of weeks.
- Make use of the resort and hotel facilities. Orlando resorts are fantastic. So make the most of the entertainment there, such as the pool and in-house entertainment. One of the hotels I stayed at was Universal's Cabana Bay Resort, which had a bowling alley as well as two pools and a lazy river. Part of your holiday should incorporate time spent in the hotel, as it's something you have already paid for and should use.
- If you stay at a Disney/SeaWorld/Universal resort, then you can also take advantage of free transport to the parks as well as free transport to and from the airport. Parking at the various parks and car hire costs may add up otherwise, so this can help you keep within your budget. Other perks include early access to the parks and extended hours.
- Free kids dining. If you book early, some packages will offer you free kids dining.
- Late August/early September is the cheapest time to visit Orlando. This might not suit everyone if you have children at school, but if they are under school age, then take advantage of the off-peak season.
- Smaller attractions in Orlando are also worth a visit. Wonder Works for example is fantastic if you want to spend a morning or afternoon there.
- Don't pay for things using a credit or debit card that charges currency fees, as this cost can add up. Pre-paid currency cards are good alternative, as they offer competitive rates and no fees when making purchases and ATM withdrawals. They can also help you stay within a budget, as you can only spend the amount you load onto it.
A holiday doesn't have to break the bank - careful planning and setting a reasonable budget can ensure you come back with nothing but beautiful memories.
Kalpana Fitzpatrick is a financial journalist and founder of MummyMoneyMatters.com - which provides financial information, news and tips to families. As a money saving expert, she is often on TV and radio talking about how families can save money and make the most of their cash. She also writes for numerous media outlets, which includes Daily Mail's Femail, The Sunday Times, and Good Housekeeping magazine to name a few. Kalpana has a particular focus on personal and family finances. As a mum of two boys, she is passionate about always getting the best deals for families.
Related Categories: Attractions & Theme Parks, Top Stories