Travel to Walt Disney WorldI love to travel. I travel as much as humanly possible! I have done tons of research on getting the best airline rate to all sorts of interesting locations. The key is to start early - and to keep checking each week. That will give you a sense of what the average rates are, and what a truly special deal is.
Here are the sites I use to fill in my grids:
TravelZoo.com - weekly travel deals newsletter
Check for nearby airports. When coming in to Orlando, check both the main Orlando airport as well as Sanford. Also, look into splitting it up manually. On my most recent trip to Orlando, I booked the flight down with one airline agency directly, and got a super cheap flight. I then booked the return flight with a standard airline on Expedia, and also got a super cheap flight. Together I saved over $60 over the "lowest cost" that the major websites offered. You never know - give it a try. Write down the numbers you get, and see what they look like.
Now, here's a note. A lot of times the online service will try to lure you in with a "discount deal" that includes a hotel. They always discount off the full price - which nobody pays!! Don't just go for that discount immediately. Always spec out the prices WITHOUT a package. That way you can tell if the package is actually saving you money. When I did my last travel rounds, they gave me a "discount" rate of $110/night at the Grosvenor. I was able to get rooms directly from the Grosvenor for $99/night, and that included breakfast and Pleasure Island tickets too.
Heck, look into driving. When I was a kid, my dad, sister, step mom and I drove down from Massachusetts to Orlando to go to Disney World. It was a 2 day drive, and lots of fun. Bring books, DVDs, handheld games and the time zips right by. It could end up being much cheaper than flying, if you don't mind the driving time. You also get to see a lot more of the countryside. In fact, the last time I went to Key West, I flew down - but Bob drove his motorcycle from Massachusetts to Key West, to hit the southernmost point in the continental US on his motorcycle. It can be done!
Bob and I have travelled cross country MANY times. Stop along the way and see the sights. Look out the windows. Stop at the rest centers and get your hands on all the coupon books. You can get GREAT savings on hotels, motels, restaurants, you name it. We've really never had a problem with a hotel honoring the coupon, and they tend to be in clumps, so if one really is full you just threaten to drive to the next one. Usually that'll get the hotel to make you the offer vs seeing you walk out the door. It's really good to do that in person :)
While some people go for the 'free breakfast', I have to tell you, a lot of those free breakfasts SUCK. We've been there, we've done that. We'd much rather go to the local Waffle House and pay $6 for a delicious meal to start the morning right, vs eating a horrific stale cereal so that we could "save $4". Your first food of the morning is not an area that saving a buck or two is worth it. Remember, your body needs fuel to work properly. If you start out poorly feeding yourself, your body isn't going to do well.
I have been a member of AAA for a LONG time and do love them. However, they are not always very clueful about the lowest prices. This past time when I worked with them, all they did was call up the main hotels and ask for the AAA rate - which was usually higher than I could get on various websites. Sure, if you're a AAA member, ask them what they can do. But don't rely on them to be the bees knees. Check for yourself, and see if you can do better.
Take a ton of photos, no matter how you travel. You are probably going through areas you've not seen before at some point in your travels - don't miss out on them just because you're "going to Disney"!! The journey is part of the adventure!
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