Orlando is a popular vacation destination for those who want to enjoy the sunny weather and world-famous parks. However, planning a trip to Orlando can be surprisingly complex. The more prepared you are, the better your experience will be.
Here are seven tips for planning a stress-free trip to Orlando.
Plan the Whole Trip
Spontaneity has a time and place, but it’s not on your trip to Orlando. While the idea of outlining every activity and every day might seem boring or overwhelming, it will save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
Take the time to outline which parks you want to visit and when. Note which restaurants you’ll eat at and when you’ll bring your own food. Create maps to grocery stores. It’s better to have this careful planning in place so you can deviate if an opportunity arises, rather than trying to piece it all together while you’re there.
Book and Buy in Advance
As soon as you have an outline for your trip, start booking accommodations, reservations, and tickets. Getting into high-demand areas has always been a challenge. While much of Orlando has dropped regulations surrounding the pandemic, some parks and areas still have reduced capacity. The longer you wait to book advance access (a necessity in all of the parks as of 2022), the less likely you are to get in during peak times.
It’s also smart to book your restaurant reservations in advance and change them as your itinerary evolves.
Invest in Private Transportation
While there are plenty of public transportation options for getting around Orlando, investing in private transportation is worth your while. Whether you’re getting a shuttle from Orlando airport to your resort or booking a rental car, it’s well worth the time saved.
Catching a free shuttle to the parks can take hours, and getting a cab to the airport during the busy season can be a nightmare. Reduce stress by investing in private transportation so you can get where you’re going quickly and with minimal anxiety.
Plan for All Weather
The Sunshine State is sometimes also the rainy hurricane state and inexplicable cold snap state. It’s best to prepare for all types of weather and bring options for your attire. If possible, book accommodations with a laundry service so you can take a minimalist approach to pack.
One of the best investments you can make when traveling to Orlando is picking up a few rain ponchos from the local dollar store. Throw these in a bag and use them when the rain inevitably catches you by surprise.
Schedule Some Downtime
It can be difficult to conceptualize just how big the parks are if you’ve never been there. You can spend a whole day at one park and still not see everything. Trying to do too much during your vacation is a mistake.
Schedule some intentional downtime in your itinerary, during which you’ll hang out at your resort and catch up on some rest. A good ratio for balance is doing one relaxing day for every two active days.
Head Out to the Coast
There’s a common misconception that Orlando has plenty of beautiful beaches to visit during your trip. This city is actually landlocked, and most of the natural waterways are dangerous. If you want a nice beach day, book private transportation and head out to the coast.
World-famous Daytona Beach is just over an hour outside of Orlando, though many locals prefer nearby Cocoa Beach.
Stick to International Drive
If you’re renting a car and traveling around Orlando proper, consider sticking to International Drive. Also known as I-Drive, this area is traveler-friendly with plenty of shops and restaurants to experience. This area is relatively safe, unlike some parts of the city.
Planning is everything when traveling to Orlando, but don’t overbook yourself. The key is finding your balance between experiencing your top priorities, learning a few things, then coming back again and seeing the rest.