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How to Travel Florida on the Cheap

The best budget travel tips for Florida.

Greyhound bus

Although the Sunshine State is full of pricey attractions, theme parks and South Beach come to mind, many people do not realize that it’s possible to explore Florida on a budget. There are a few tips and tricks, however, that can totally transform a trip’s impact to your wallet.

Avoiding Snowbird Season

Every year, Florida welcomes a massive influx of “snowbirds” during the period between late autumn and early spring. These are usually retired people who are looking to avoid wintry conditions in their home states, hence the name “snowbird”. But with so many people flooding into the state, it’s easy to see how the prices of everything — from accommodations to food — can become inflated. By planning your trip during any other time of the year, you will be rewarding your wallet.

Consider Affordable Transportation Options

You don’t have to rent a car for the entire duration of your vacation. Many don’t realize that Florida boasts a robust bus system. Traveling by bus from Orlando to Miami, for instance, has never been easier.

In the past few years, there has also been a push to get more trains going in Florida. Yet another money-saving idea is to combine your lodging and transportation needs by taking your RV or camper down to Florida. With many different campsites available around the state, you will be able to travel and live with ease.

Also, since nature is one of the best parts of Florida, think about walking or biking to some of your favorite spots. Be willing to embrace alternative means of transportation, and you may find that your pockets are amply rewarded.

Look to the Locals

Whenever you’re visiting a new town, don’t be afraid to get to know the locals; they can often be a great source of knowledge — and are often privy to free festivals and other events that may be going on. You may be surprised by how many free or low-cost events you can find as a result. In Florida, even outdoor mall areas like St. Armand’s Circle will often put on art shows and other street parties. Keep your eyes on the local social calendars for towns you’d like to visit, and take note when there’s something exciting coming up soon.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Discounts

If you’re a former or current member of the military, be sure to bring your military ID with you on your trip; many establishments in Florida offer discounts to those in the military. This also goes for senior citizens and students. As long as you bring your ID card with you, you should be able to take advantage of all the great discounts available.

Try Not to Eat Out Every Meal

In Florida, restaurants can sometimes become a tourist’s biggest expense. If your accommodations allow for it, try to figure out how you can prepare some of your own meals. Cooking together can add to your vacation experience, allowing you to bond with family and friends in new and fun ways.

Explore State Parks Instead of Theme Parks

There’s a lot to love about nature in Florida. Whether you’re interested in manatees or botanical gardens, there are so many places where you can indulge yourself for a very nominal fee. With some of the best state parks in the country, Florida does not disappoint. From the Everglades to everything in between, this state was built on beauty.

If You Do Want to Go to Theme Parks…

Although Florida’s theme parks can be notoriously expensive, you can save some money by doing research ahead of time.

Disney World

You may find that purchasing tickets ahead of time is the way to go, or you might want to inquire about group rates if you are traveling with a lot of people. Online forums can point you toward discounts you were not previously aware of.

Soak Up the Sun Happily

Like a glass of fresh Florida orange juice, there is something so satisfying about knowing that your trip to the state will not be prohibitively expensive. By doing some planning ahead of time, you can set yourself up for success. By the time you get down to Florida, all you’ll need to do is take a deep breath of the fresh air — and relax.


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