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Florida Guide > Planning your Trip

Planning your dream vacation to Florida

So you have reached a decision to holiday in Florida - what next? If you are reading this article you will be on the right tracking to planning your Florida trip.

What to book - accommodation / flights or package?

Package holiday

Advantages. Usually arranged by travel agent or booked via internet, everything is normally booked together i. e. flights, transfers, accommodation, car hire.

Disadvantages: You cannot book a specific villa, they are usually allocated by the tour operator by size and general area, rather than a specific villa on a particular community. Add-ons such as car hire and insurance tend to be more expensive. Tour operators that offer chartered flights tend to fly in and out of Sanford, charter flights are not usually available for other areas in Florida such as Miami and Tampa.

Fly Drive

Advantages. Generally a varied choice of airline and vehicle, and can be cheaper than flight only. Disadvantages: The rate offered is dependant on booking car hire for a minimum period and the car hire rates can be considerably more.

Flight Only

Advantages: If booking through a site such as Flights to Florida a good range of airlines are available, excellent car hire rates can be booked through Florida Car Hire and privately owned villas direct from owner via this site.

Disadvantages: Very few, price for flight only, direct with airline is usually much more.

Car hire:

Remember big cars do not always mean big trunks/boots. Check out the description and luggage capacity on Florida Car hire (Car Types)

Which Airline

There are many options, you need to decide on your criteria, non stop, direct or indirect, chartered or scheduled, seat pitch offered and in flight entertainment.

Chartered: Tend to be 7, 14 or 21 night duration into Sanford, Orlando. Some of the charters offer a ' premium/gold' cabin for a reasonable supplement, more leg room and no extra charge for drinks/food. Economy seating pitch on charters averages 28'

Scheduled: Depending on airline, you can usually travel and return any day of the week, a Saturday night stay is normally required on most non flexible tickets.

Airlines:

British Airways. Non stop flights to Tampa, Orlando International and Miami. You can fly ' open jaws' i. e. into one airport and return from another. World Traveller, 32' pitch, World Traveller Plus 38' seat pitch. Also Clubworld and First. Seatback TVs in all classes

  • Virgin Atlantic. Non stop flights to Orlando International and Miami. Open jaw option. Economy 31' pitch, Premium 38' and Upper. Seatback TVs in all classes.
  • American Airlines. Non stop flights to Miami, indirect flights to Orlando. Economy 34' pitch. Seatback TVs
  • Continental: Flights via Newark / New York, seatback TVs in economy
  • United: Flights via Washington
  • Delta: Via Atlanta and Cincinnati
  • US Airways: Via Philadelphia /Charlotte. Seatback TVs on most aircraft.
  • Air Canada: Via Toronto. Seat pitch 34' no seatback TVs in economy. Stopover in Toronto possible.

You can check out airline/aircraft details on sites such as www. airlinequality. com/Product/seat_intro. htm or www. seatexpert. com and most airlines have their own websites showing aircraft seat layout and facilities.

What to book first - accommodation or flights?

If you have seen a particular villa or community that appeals to you, you can make a specific enquiry to check availability and rates. It is a good idea to do this especially for peak periods where an owner may have limited availability or have a minimum booking period. Equally important is to check flight prices for popular dates such as Easter, July-August and Christmas, there is little point booking accommodation if you find that you are unwilling to pay big supplements for peak travel. If you have already booked flights your choice of accommodation will be restricted.

When making an enquiry it helps if you indicate if your dates are flexible or fixed. Also if you have any specific requirements i. e. min. no. of bathrooms, south facing/conservation/lake view aspect and whether there are smokers in your group.

The majority of villas to rent on this site do not permit pets and most are non smoking inside the villa. If your chosen villa is only available for rent the day after you arrive it may be worth considering staying at an airport hotel or local motel/inn as you will probably arrive early evening and may not feel like driving on arrival day.

Insurance

It is essential to obtain travel insurance for cancellation and medical. You can purchase insurance for single, couples and families, one trip and annual multi-trip policies. Insurance cover for seniors 65+ can attract a heavy premium, there are a few companies that offer excellent price.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 21 July 2004
Viewed 3921 times since 1 September 2008.

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