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Orlando On A Budget - Hidden Expenses And Smart Moves

Updated on February 17, 2012


Most people wonder if they can save money in Orlando given the fact that it is a top-tourist destination. This may sound counter-intuitive but you are more likely to get more money saving opportunities in Orlando than in other places BECAUSE it is a highly sought after destination.

This is how it goes: A Top tourist destination attracts a lot of tourists which in turn attract a lot of businesses. Over time the market gets oversaturated and everyone is competing for your money leading to discounts and offers for those who are willing to look.

However, most people end up spending more than they thought they would, why? Because they don't take into consideration hidden expenses. You can avoid this mistake by paying attention to the four main hidden expenses, the discussion on which will constitute the first part of this article. The second part will focus on some smart moves that will further help you to do Orlando on a budget.

Hidden Expenses

Six to Twelve

Nope, I am not talking about the time. I am talking about the tax rates range that you will face when you are in Orlando, 6%-12%. You are likely to incur this tax on all items except groceries and medicines, even your Hotel Room. In fact, you could end up paying a tax of up to 12% on your hotel room if the hotel has charges such as bed tax and local-option sales tax. How can you deal with this problem? Just ask before you book.

But It Said $20 a Day?

This could be your reaction if you don't check for taxes, surcharges and add-ons on car rentals. These charges can inflate the rental price by up to 25%, you will pay $25 where you thought you will only fish out $20. That's $70 extra for a two-week trip. Again, read the fine print before you take out your credit card.

The Baggage handler Is In the Room...

...and he will stay there until you tip him. That's how things work but no one takes tips into consideration when they plan out their budget. Cabs and restaurants will automatically charge 15% on your bill and you will most likely tip the Housekeepers and oh don’t forget...the baggage handler.

Thou Shall Not Eat At The Parks

Food at theme parks is expensive. In most cases 25% more than what you will pay outside the park for the same quality and quantity. This doesn't sound like a hidden expense? That's right. To the uninformed it's not a hidden expense because they would be unaware of the price of meals outside. Believe me, you will find a lot of people who are willing to spend their moolah at restaurants inside the park oblivious to the fact that they can save money if they eat outside.

Solution? Pack some sandwiches and juice boxes and eat a huge meal before you go to the park.

Smart Moves

Those were the hidden expenses. Now, comes the part about saving money by making some smart moves.

Take-Off In the Off-Season

Even though Orlando is a top-tourist destination there are weeks during the year when the crowd level goes down considerably. These weeks fall in the months of April, May, October and November. During this time Hotels and Airlines reduce rates by up to 40%.

Ask and You Shall Receive

What is the Number 1 reason as to why people don't get discounts? They don't ask, as simple as that. Your profession, the type of credit card you hold, the school you go to etc. may qualify you for discounts that you didn’t know existed. Ask questions at theme parks, restaurants and every business that you walk into.

Hotel or Condo?

If you are traveling with a group or your family then nothing is better than renting a condo or a vacation home. You will be able to eat-in and have amenities such as a coffeemaker and microwave which will help you save money on food and drinks. Furthermore, you won't have to rent multiple rooms to accommodate everyone. Also, since the competition is fierce resorts try to one-up each other by offering better on-site amenities which means that you can also save money on entertainment.

Free Coupons Are Your Friends

Most believe that coupons are scams that come with some strings attached, I was one of them. But the truth is that some coupons are genuine and will help you save money. These coupons are usually found in free publications. So, pick them up as soon as you arrive in Orlando, you will be pleasantly surprised by the discounts that you get.

Taking Mickey Home

What's a holiday in Orlando without some souvenirs? Most people would recommend you to skip souvenirs to save money but that’s being cruel with your kids. Instead of skipping souvenirs you can buy cheap ones at numerous premium outlets in Orlando that sell Disney merchandise at significantly discounted prices.

This was a brief overview of the different ways to save money in Orlando. If you want to go further then you can read the article “Proven Strategies To Do Orlando On A budget.”


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