10 travel tips for a great trip to Florida as a family
Florida is the perfect destination for a family holiday. I still dream about our trip, we all still dream about our trip and it’s been 5 months. Has it really been 5 months? Oh my goodness. It is an incredible country to explore. I fear we only scratched the surface.
Whether it’s theme parks, beaches, sight seeing, a beautiful sunrise and sunset, shopping and more you won’t be disappointed.
I will say this, a trip to Florida and the planning that goes with it can be a little daunting. We were a little overwhelmed at first. Initially it was a lot of research but it was all worth it. And it meant that we made the most of our trip and we didn’t forget to go through our ESTA application. So many forget, so my biggest tip is to apply for your ESTA straight away.
I had so many messages from people asking for my tips, tricks and advice on travelling to Florida. What I would recommend, those must do’s and don’ts. The tips you can’t always find on Google. And so I thought I would pop them all here in a blog post for others to read. Hopefully it helps in your planning. And so I give you…
10 travel tips for a great trip to Florida as a family
1. Remember to apply for your ESTA – I’ve mentioned it above but not applying for your ESTA in time could ruin your holiday. You can apply for your ESTA a number of months in advance. Which I would highly recommend. It is a mandatory requirement when travelling to the US. We didn’t know about this until a friend told us. It’s quick and simple. Put it on your list.
2. Hand luggage – as we travelled from the UK our flight was just under 9 hours. I would recommend packing a small change of clothes for all your party. I was a little unlucky and knocked a drink all down me, sitting in wet clothes for 9 hours was very uncomfortable.
3. Plan the time of year you are visiting – we would recommend visited in Spring or Autumn. As Florida enjoys what they call a subtropical climate, the weather can be unpredictable. We visited in April/May 2019 and enjoyed some gorgeous sunshine. We would recommend taking umbrellas rather than rain macs as we found the macs were too hot.
4. Visit the Theme Parks and Water Parks – surely this is a must? You have 6 Disney Parks, 3 Universal Parks as well as Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Seaworld. All are an absolute must. There is so much to see outside of the Disney Parks so be sure to explore the other parks.
5. Visit a beach – there is so much more to Florida than visiting theme parks (yes I know what I said above). You’ll find miles of soft white sand and teal blue warm waters – a lovely break away from the hustle and bustle of Florida. We visited Clearwater Beach. Seeing Manatees and Dolphins swimming near to the Pier was very special.
Back to my travel tips…
5. Budget – have a daily limit and stick to it. Any additional money can be used for treats at the end of the day or holiday. Depending on how you plan to travel around Florida you must also budget for parking charges. We spent $25 each day we visited a park as well as at Clearwater Beach. And then there’s tips in the restaurants. Orlando is built on customer service, and while tipping is common in restaurants many visiting don’t understand how it works. If your party is 3/4 people I would recommend tipping 15%. You could easily overspend should you not add these two costs to your budget.
6. Jetlag – we escaped jetlag by planning to rise early each morning. We’d read about it and thought the best way to combat it was to be in the parks by 7:00 am or soon after. It was cooler in the mornings and allowed us to make the most of the parks with fewer crowds. And, there is nothing more beautiful than a sunrise in Florida.
7. What to pack – firstly, pack an external charger – there are so many beautiful sights to capture in Florida that you will be sure to use your battery before lunch. Secondly, be sure to take all toiletries with you as we found these to by quite expensive in the supermarkets. And lastly, we also took our own Calpol for our 8 year old as we had read that the US version didn’t taste so good.
8. Save money by eating outside of the theme parks – try to avoid having all meals in the parks, you can easily double the cost of your day out that way. We managed to find some great family friendly restaurants that offered reduced dining or happy hour between 5:00 – 7:00 pm which suited us perfectly. We found all restaurants offered superb child friendly menus. Our favourite area to dine was ICON Park.
9. If you do visit the theme parks be sure to check out the Instagram Walls of Walt Disney World. They’re fun, quirky and wonderful backdrops. They’re a bit of a social media phenomenon.
10. Be prepared to queue for up to two hours when arriving into Orlando before clearing passport control. We actually waited in a queue for 2 hours 15 mins which was torture after a 9 hour flight. I have read that this is pretty standard at peak travelling times. We weren’t prepared, didn’t have water or snacks for us all and most definitely had tired legs.
Have you ever visited Florida and have a few travel tips to share? Do let me know in the comments. And lastly enjoy your time in the Sunshine State!
* Disclosure – This post has been written in collaboration with e-Visa, a modern visa bureau.
You look gorgeous tips are great. Need to prepare before going is the key for a successful trip. Check your vehicle and its tires too.
Yes that’s a great couple of tips to add