Tips for Planning a Stress-Free Trip to Orlando
Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. This family-friendly destination offers some of the world’s best amusement parks and attractions against a sunny backdrop that brings people flocking from the North for a magical vacation. However, it takes some care and consideration to plan a stress-free trip to Orlando.
With so many families, a lot of competition, and tourist destination pricing, this dream trip can quickly become a nightmare. Here are some practical tips for planning a stress-free trip to Orlando.
Don’t Over-Plan Your Trip
Most people who read online advice about traveling to Orlando notice a common theme: plan, plan, plan. Planning is an integral part of putting together a trip to this tourist-heavy destination, whether you’re hitting the parks or enjoying the local flavors on I-Drive.
This advice is trying to tell you that you’ll need to outline your entire trip in advance. It is not telling you to account for every moment of every day.
One of the most common (and stressful) mistakes people make when planning a trip to Orlando is over-planning and over-committing. The parks are a lot bigger and more exhausting than one might think. Trying to see everything on your first trip is a recipe for disaster.
To make your trip to Orlando stress-free, schedule some intentional downtime. Plan to have a few days where you lounge around and do nothing. Choose accommodations with those days in mind, so you can lounge by the pool and enjoy the weather. If you’re going to the parks, don’t book more than two back-to-back days without a rest day in between.
Invest in Reliable Transportation
There are plenty of ways to get around Orlando, including a few free options. While the free park transports are budget-friendly and beneficial, understand that using them will cause delays and extend your wait times.
Traveling to and from the airport can also be a stressful experience, especially during busy periods. Like many large city airports, MCO has several terminals with different offramps for access, confusing signage, and a lot of traffic. Even if you plan on renting a car or using public transit, it’s worth investing in an MCO car service to get you to and from the airport.
Think Outside the Parks
While the parks tend to be the main draw for Orlando, this city is rich in cultural and culinary delights. Orlando is known for having Michelin star-worthy restaurants, incredible ecotourism, and beloved educational attractions.
Rather than spending all of your time in the main tourist areas, take this opportunity to experience the natural beauty surrounding Orlando. Take the 90-minute drive to the beautiful ocean beaches, stroll through the botanical gardens, or head North to see alligators in the wild.
Book Everything in Advance
There’s nothing more stressful than getting to Orlando and realizing you can’t do the things you wanted because they’re booked up. Book everything in advance because attractions, restaurants, and accommodations book up quickly.
If you’re going to the parks, it’s well worth the extra investment to purchase Fast Passes for your top rides and shows. Otherwise, you may spend hours waiting in line.
Prepare for All Weather Events
Florida is the Sunshine State, but sometimes it’s also the rainy, windy, and chilly state. Florida has experienced a lot of unpredictable weather in the past 10-15 years, with many Canadian snowbirds discovering, to their horror, that their tropical paradise was too cold for shorts.
Pack for all weather events when heading to Orlando. Bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses, but don’t forget sweaters and raincoats.
Know the Places to Avoid
One of the most stressful experiences travelers hope to avoid in any destination is accidentally stumbling into the wrong part of town. Even popular and relatively safe areas like Orlando have some places to avoid. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find budget accommodations in these areas.
The key areas to avoid in Orlando include:
- John Young Parkway
- Orange Blossom Trail
- Silver Star Road
- Pine Hills
- Lee Road
- Mercy Drive
- Malibu Groves
- Roosevelt Park
You can find an extended list of places to avoid here. Take some time to read reviews before booking accommodations, and stick to locations near the resorts or I-Drive when in doubt.
Contact the Orlando Travel and Visitors Bureau
We tend to overlook the value of tourist bureaus in the internet age, but it’s well worth a visit to the Orlando Travel and Visitors Bureau website. They offer free planning resources with coupons and discount codes to help you save on your trip, as well as an app for convenience and safe travel planning.
Know When to Budget and When to Buy
Finally, it’s easy to go over budget when traveling to Orlando. Food at the parks and key tourist destinations are incredibly marked up. Consider investing in a meal plan or preparing food at your accommodation and bringing it to help cut your costs, saving the indulgences for Orlando’s incredible restaurants.
With careful planning and research, you can put together a stress-free trip to Orlando. Remember to add lots of buffer room to your itinerary to account for delays and exhaustion— this will make all the difference!