Off the road: Orlando

22 08 2009

Lots of people who visit Orlando every year hire a rental car to get from park to park. With today’s poor economy I think it’s a cost that can be avoided with some careful planning.

First of all let’s start with booking your vacation, this is the first place you need to start organising to ensure you can have a fun and trouble-free trip without the need for a car. The first thing you have to do is look at flights and hotels, and also full package holidays. The first thing you need to look out for is transportation from the airport to your resort. Ensuring you have transportation provided for a reasonable price is essential, taxi’s and towncars from the airport can be expensive and make your saving on not hiring a car less so a shuttle provided by the travel agency/resort is always the best option.

If you have that part sorted the next thing is to ensure your hotel provides either free or cheap shuttle services to the parks. Many hotels will, especially the budget hotels who have a demand for them as people don’t want to splash out on renting a car. Don’t worry about Busch Gardens, just ensure you can get a shuttle to Walt Disney World, Universal and Sea World. The reason you don’t need to worry about Busch Gardens is SeaWorld offer a shuttle service to their Tampa based sister park for a very reasonable price. Also, don’t forget to check for reviews of the hotel online from a site like TripAdvisor.com. From these sites you should be able to check that the shuttle services are frequent enough to ensure you don’t have too many time constraints.

You also have to make sure your hotel is in a good location. The worst thing that can happen is that you get stranded in the middle of nowhere with no car, even if the hotel does offer free shuttle services to the parks your time spent outside of the park will be restricted. International Drive is always a good location with a number of restaurants and visitor attractions near-by. There’s also plenty of shops, restaurants and other visitor attractions along International Drive which can be walked down or the I-Shuttle can be used for a cheap price.

The main problem with not renting a car is that you really can’t stay on site at Walt Disney World as it offers pretty much no good value transportation off-site which means you’ll be forced to pay out for taxi fares to the parks outside of the resort, or you’ll at least have to pay for your shuttles to and from which most likely won’t be cheap. IF you only want to go to the Disney Parks though staying on-site is achievable without a car as you can get Disney’s Magical Express from Orlando International straight to the resort.

The main thing to look at is the price. How much is it going to cost you to rent-a-car against how much it will cost if you don’t. If you follow my tips it should work out cheaper not to, but there’s always some cases in which finding alternate transportation that’s convenient simply doesn’t come at a lower cost than the price of having your own vehicle.

M. Owen

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